I was sent the link to an interesting article in Christianity Today http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/september/7.36.html

CT has been asking the question this year “Is our Gospel to Small?”  David Fitch turns around and asks the question- “Is the Gospel to Big?” Basically do people know how they fit into the framework of the gospel?  His struggle is to show the overall picture of God’s  but with that is the struggle and challenge of how to communicate to people that they are invited to join with God’s truth.  It generates some good thought provoking questions to interact with.

1) The size of the Gospel: Both CT and Fitch set up straw men in addressing the size of the Gospel in my opinion.  I think it was said best in the quote (I think it was Spurgeon) The Gospel is safe enough for a child to play in and deep enough to drown an elephant.  Both must be held in tension.  If a church is a mile wide and two inches deep, something is wrong.  If a church is so deep theologically that no child can play around the edges or be invited in something is wrong.  People need to see both the big picture and the individual invitation of salvation and how they BOTH fit together.

I have been reading The Mission of God by Christopher Wright, an excellent book that has been good to reflect on in light of the church in Mongolia.  His quote is found below that addresses the need to see the Big Gospel and also what happens when we don’t. 

So the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham comes about not merely as nations are blessed in some general sense but only as they specifically come to know the whole biblical grand story, of which Abraham is a key pivot.  This is profoundly important for mission.  One of the reasons for the appalling shallowness and vulnerability of much that passes fro the growth of the church around the world is that people are coming to some kind of instrumental faith in a God they see as powerful, with some connection to Jesus, but a Jesus disconnected from his scriptural roots.  They have not been challenged at the level of their deeper worldview by coming to know God in and through the story that is launched by Abraham.  Paul had not left his converts vulnerable at this level but had taught them clearly and reminds them in Galatians that their faith in Christ had embedded them in the faith and lineage of Abraham.  The living God they had turned to from their dead idols had indeed announced the gospel in advance through Abraham, and they could count themselves blessed in Abraham, through his seed, the Messiah Jesus. 

Christopher Wright, p. 220 The Mission of God

This is important in thinking about Mongolia because tragically people did not get a chance to see the big picture of God from Abram (Abraham) through Revelation.  The gospel that was preached was cheap, there was no discipleship.  The result?  There are less believers in Mongolia than there were 10 years ago, that’s right, less.  The Meta-narrative is essential.  And so is the invitation.

2) How do we best communicate the gospel?  This is an excellent question  brought out in the article.  Tim Keller wrestles with this during the 2006 Desiring God conference- check out the audio highlights list. http://www.desiringgod.org/Events/NationalConferences/Archives/2006/#ConferenceAudioHighlights 

The 4 Spiritual Laws do not fit in Mongolia.  Mongolians are very practical people.  If the gospel doesn’t do what it says why follow it? try something else.  Much of the gospel preached was one of “it will make your life better.”  It didn’t – so why stay with it?  What is the best way to communicate who God is here?  I don’t have enough information right now to say, but it is a question we need to answer- part of it is that not one method is the absolute best.  Mongolia is not a homogenous group, much like the US is not made up of people with just one worldview (you could argue that materialism unites). 

Two ways to live is a good start  http://www.matthiasmedia.com.au/2wtl/  one of the reasons its good is because it does engage the larger narrative of God from beginning to end. 

I think the second thing that needs to be communicated is that conversion doesn’t stop at conversion- it continues on and is evidenced by a life lived for God, one of the best means of communicating the gospel that can be had.

“Witness always, use words if necessary” St. Francis of Assisi

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