“The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it.'” Acts 8:29 [emphasis mine]
What do people really think of door to door evangelism? In a TED Talks episode Julia Sweeney provides excellent insight into how many “Gospel Presentations” are perceived. The story of Jesus and God’s love that we share as Christians, regardless of its validity, may leave the listener just as incredulous as Ms. Sweeney describes in this video. The Gospel that we share may be true, as opposed to what Ms. Sweeney experienced, but those with whom we share it rarely make such a distinction. Telling such a fantastically unbelievable story as God’s love for humanity without building a relationship with the hearer is perilous, rarely effective and often damaging. Carried to the extreme I submit that it is also extra-biblical.
Our testimony of Jesus’ sovereignty and love is most effective when we’ve earned the right to be heard. Proximity is necessary to build trust. Being near someone, building and maintaining a relationship with them, provides that we are ready to share when the Spirit presents the opportunity, not on our time table. Philip was in proximity to the eunuch so that he would be ready when God made the eunuch ready.
Even Jesus demonstrated the importance of building a relationship with the woman at the well so that she would be ready to listen. Is any servant greater than his master? We need to get behind enemy lines to “rescue the perishing.”
Maybe, just maybe, a Divine Creator formed us from the dust of the earth because of His limitless love and developed the amazing organ we call the brain to thoughtfully, considerately and fearfully consider the universe that reveals the glory of Him.
Or, maybe it was all an accident. But if that accident led to the random evolution of that same brain, why would I rely on the end result of that original accident (the conclusion that the brain is a random development of evolution) as lending validity to the original accident?
Several questions are raised in this TED Talk video. Do these findings refute Paul’s premise for his words, “When I was a child, I talked like a child…?” Are certain people predisposed to making certain moral decisions regardless of their spiritual condition? Do we really biologically develop the ability to judge the motives of another in spite of I Corinthians 2:11? Is understanding someone’s motives just a cognitive function which drains Jeremiah 17:9 of its authority?
Perhaps the most disturbing issue raised by Rebecca Saxe’ research, at least for Christians, is that perhaps there are, in spite of moral relativism, absolute truths; and that these absolute truths are the result of the evolution of human brains rather than established as inalienable by an omniscient, omni-present, omnipotent creator. Ms. Saxe’ points are diligently researched, well-reasoned and persuasive. Dismiss them out of hand at your own peril.
Of course, I’m playing the role of devil’s advocate (which holds an irony all its own) and I don’t subscribe to these viewpoints. However, we must be intellectually equipped to address these issues within the framework of a Biblical worldview.
I can honestly say that I don’t know what I think about all of this. Perhaps that’s exactly why I find it so unsettling. I sheepishly admit that this is a scientific premise my feeble theological framework was not equipped to address. I feel akin to the second-hand philosopher Max Klinger when he said, “If I had all the answers I’d run for God.”
But, I refuse to be caught unprepared to give a testimony in or out of season. So, here we are. Let’s get some iron sharpening goin’ on here. What do you think? Watch the video and let the discussion begin.
logikos: worship of God that implies intelligent meditation or reflection