Friday, December 5, 2008

The Middle Ground

My wife was bragging last week that she was a better blogger that I was. That thought sent chills down my spine. Nevertheless, as of lately, it's true. So hopefully I'll get to blog more...

As for today's post, I've been having an internal battle. Let me give you some background.

I grew up in a church with a lot of screaming. The pastor was a should I say....passionate person. It seemed that every week there was something new that would send me to Hell. It's funny to me now. The music I listened to. The shows that I watched. If I ever danced. (it's lucky I have no rhythm) Even back then, it struck me as a horrible method of telling people about God. In fact it made more people afraid of Hell than excited about God. Where was God's love? Where was God's grace? I sat and thought. This can't be right. Those things should be instrumental in telling other about God.

Fast forward to today. For the most part the Hellfire and Brimstone approach to preaching has been left to the past. In the things I read and in the sermons that I hear (God bless Itunes!) a new approach is being taken to tell people about God. It's full of God's love for us. That's great news! We don't have to worry about having the Hell scared out of us anymore. No more screaming that everything we do is wrong. As this trend has continued, I've begun to notice something. All I hear is about how much God loves me. Not only is there no hellfire or brimstone, There isn't a lot of mention of our sinful nature either. It's just simply God loves us.

There has to be a middle ground. If dwelling only on our sin is wrong, isn't completely ignoring it wrong as well? God loving us is true indeed. However, if we don't talk about our sinful nature, God's grace becomes irrelevant. There has to be a middle ground. A place where we can address our sinful nature and God's loving response and sacrifice.

This is what I struggle with. In a culture that usually tunes you out when you start talking about mankind's sin, how much should I confront it? As a speaker it kills me to know that someone is going to tune me out. It's a horrible feeling. But there is an even worse feeling. That is short changing the true and complete love of God. Here it is:

We are sinful. We have screwed up and turned away from God. Because of that we deserve death. We deserve to be separated from God for eternity. God loves us in this: that when we screwed up, he sent Jesus to die for us. We're completely sinful, but God completely loves us, and through Christ, He has completely saved us....

That is the middle ground of evangelism.