Ryan Bell on Recovering an Authentic, Credible Evangelism

(system) #1

Recent conversation here on the Spectrum blog has featured a robust discussion of evangelism--its content and its methods. Over the weekend, pastor-blogger Ryan Bell shared his sweeping vision for reclaiming Adventist evangelism, tackling the myth that anything that brings people to Jesus is necessarily good.

Speaking at SoCal's Glendale City Church, Bell stated flatly that evangelism, both the word and the practice, is in bad shape.

Ryan Bell's insightful take may be the very breath of fresh air needed to keep evangelism from passing out. The presentation considers what is wrong with evangelism in Adventism and what can be done to bring authenticity and credibility back to the way Adventists witness publicly in the world.

To begin with, we need to move away from the captivity of the wrong narrative. Says Bell:

    "In our late-modern capitalist society, the narrative of the market is the dominant narrative—rising to the level of metanarrative according to some observers. What we think of as the gospel is, in many respects, captive to this social imagination. As only modernity could do, we have reduced the gospel to timeless acontextual principles, which can be transferred as commodities. We then speak of marketing the gospel or 'selling Jesus.' How many strategy sessions have I participated in, as a pastor, in which the narrative was, 'What is our business? We’re in the business of saving souls. Jesus is our product. We need to figure out how to market Jesus to our neighbors.'"

Read the full article here and share your thoughts / insights.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/911