Monday, June 29, 2009

The universal offer and the Gospel presentation

In dealing with the issue of the Universal Offer or Call of the Gospel over and against the irrational idea of the Well-Meant Offer, one issue which was dealt with was the area of evangelism. How does one share the Gospel with others in light of the biblical idea of the universal offer? As I have written:

We proclaim Christ crucified and His death for sinners, and it is up to sinners to come up with the minor premise themselves in this valid Gospel syllogism:

Major premise: Christ died for sinners
Minor premise: I am a sinner
Conclusion: Christ died for me

The Gospel message is not meant to be proclaimed that Christ died for anyone in particular, but the universal offer is to be preached in a way that it will impress upon the hearts of its listeners that Christ died for sinners. It is up to each individual sinner to have faith (which only those who are regenerated by the Holy Spirit will have (Jn. 3:3, 5-8)) in the Gospel message. When these individuals who are the elect believe in the Gospel message, then they will provide the minor premise as one of the symptoms of repentance and manifest faith through believing in the conclusion of the Gospel syllogism.

Major premise: Christ died for sinners [Gospel proclamation]
Minor premise: I am a sinner [Personal Repentance]
Conclusion: Christ died for me [Personal faith]

The indicative of the Gospel is therefore to be proclaimed that Christ died for sinners, and that only; we are not to think ourselves wiser than God in spicing up the presentation by turning God into a love-sick suitor. We are also to call sinners to repentance, and thus sinners would know the way to fulfil the minor premise, in order that faith is created in their hearts (conclusion) through believing the Gospel message (major premise) and applying it to their persons (minor premise).

And so we have gone full circle, back to the Apostles' seemingly foolish methodology. It truly is amazing how wise we think ourselves out to be, and use all sorts of methods to make the Gospel more attractive and winsome, adding man-made philosophies like the Well-Meant Offer to the Gospel message, as if the Gospel proclamation methodology found in the Scripture are insufficient unless we add the "necessary ingredient" that Christ died for YOU, YOU, YOU and YOU, and that He thinks of YOU daily, and desires and longs for YOU to have a relationship with Him, and intends YOUR salvation. See how he is on his knees begging YOU to receive him. *Urgh*! (Small case intentional)

Yet it seems that the Apostles' methodology without all the "evangelical" trappings has been found to be the most consistent with all of Scriptures. After going through Scriptures and logical reasoning, the Apostles' "foolish methodology" of simply telling Man of Christ's death for sinners and commanding them to repent of their sins is the most biblical method! Perhaps if we start following Scripture and trust its sufficiency and authority for ALL of ministry then we would not create such a mess as found within "Evangelicalism"!

2 comments:

Beng said...

It is interesting how closely related this is to some of the things I have been thinking about (and searching the Bible for answers to).

I think one of the major stumbling blocks in evangelism is that we have been led to think that men can CHOOSE what they want to believe. If this is the case, then of course you would strive to make the gospel as attractive as possible to influence men to choose to believe the gospel.

If we start off, however, with the Biblical understanding of the truth that unbelief (due to the hardness of our own hearts) is our natural state, and that it is only through the operation of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of men, taking out the heart of stone and replacing it with a heart of flesh, and God himself putting his spirit into our hearts, that we are ENABLED to believe, then the preaching of the gospel becomes a simple matter of proclaiming to sinners that Christ died for them. Those who hear and believe this will be saved. Those who hear and don't believe it won't be saved. - As Ripley put it simply - "Believe it or not!"

Once we understand that men cannot CHOOSE to believe what they hear; that they simply either believe it or they don't - and that unless God works in their hearts, they won't - then it becomes pretty simple (and takes a great unnecessary burden off the preacher to make sure he succeeds!) to preach the gospel.

PuritanReformed said...

SB:

Absolutely! It is amazing when you think about it and finally realize the reason why God uses the foolish to shame the wise - because the "wise" are too "smart" to submit to God's wisdom.