“Christian” Nations and Evangelism

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Been listening to Mark Dever talk about evangelism in a 3-part series. So far it has been uncomfortably convicting. The talks are from the Desiring God 2009 Conference for Pastors at John Piper’s church in Minneapolis.

In the second part, “The Pastor and Evangelism” Dever shares an exchange he had with a Muslim friend, Bilam (sp?), while they were both at Cambridge.

Bilam commented on how corrupt this “Christian country” was of Great Britain, and I just quickly, sort of on the side, said “Britain is not a Christian country. I mean, you can’t really have Christian countries.”

Well Bilam, a very sharp friend, said very quickly, “Well, thats the problem with Christianity, you don’t have a full social, political vision of the world. We as Muslims know how to pattern society.”

And so I wasn’t prepared for that kind of argument right then. I just responded:

“Look honestly Bilam that’s because I think Christianity has a more realistic portrayal of human nature. We understand that force and coercion cannot finally bring about the change that needs to happen in people.”

Islam has an understanding of people that we’re basically good. Islam has an understanding of people that they can put a sword to our throats and make us a sufficiently good Muslim.

Well we don’t understand that with Christianity. You can’t really expand Christianity with the sword. That’s the problem with considering Europe “‘Christian”.

Friends, Europe has largely never been evangelized. It’s an unevangelized place. There have been places where the Protestant gospel broke forth and maybe some of the early monks had the Gospel right, but basically you have Charlemagne with the sword sticking it to the necks of a German tribe saying “in the river or you die.”

And that’s how Europe was “evangelized.”

But friends that’s not Christianity and that’s not what we do even on a mental sense, when we share the Gospel.

Good stuff.

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6 Responses to “Christian” Nations and Evangelism

  1. annaldavis says:

    Thank you for sharing this. There’s so many out there (even here!) who have not heard the Gospel. They’ve heard a shadow of it, but not the real thing. Lord, give us Your love to reach these people.

  2. Job says:

    Good stuff? Great stuff! Do they have his comments on video or something? However, be careful with this, because this runs counter to the goal of Reformers like John Knox, John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli, and for a time Martin Luther (though he later abandoned it) to create their little “New Jerusalem” church states, and is still counter to the agenda of people like the late D. James Kennedy to this day.

  3. Laz says:

    Anna,
    Thanks for your comment!

    Job,
    Yeah, not sure I agree with what those guys were trying to do.

    Here is the link to the vid of Dever’s talk:
    http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/MediaPlayer/3572/Video/

  4. Alberto says:

    Well, I moved from america to europe, specifically Spain, months ago. Been a born again christian, I have to say that europe is not evangelized at all. People don’t even know what Protestantism is about. I tell them I don’t drink because I’m christian, and they just can see why. We need to evangelize, and set and example of what Christianity is about. Because that is not seeing much round here, at least not in Spain, when most catholics go to club to get drunk and so forth on a regular basis, and also have no knowledge of the Word. This is not criticizing Catholicism, but Spanish “so called” Catholicism, a dead religion with no change of heart, for the most part at least. Whatever denomination, a real example of the Gospel is needed, hope you share your prayers.

    May the Peace of the Lord be with you all,
    Alberto

  5. Laz says:

    Mexican Catholicism is the same as Spanish Catholicism. It’s cultural and has precious little to do with Christ.

    Thanks for stopping by Alberto.

  6. pika says:

    Good stuff? Distorted stuff!

    First off, the Quran does not propone that muslim belief can be forced on s.o.. Quite on the contrary sura 28,56 states only God can bestow faith upon you (or others for that matter).
    Protestantism and Islam aren’t that far apart on that point. The Protestant principle of sola fide refers to the believers relationship to God/faith as being something that is given by God (and cannot be willed into existence by the believer).

    Here’s surah 28:56,

    Lo! thou (O Muhammad) guidest not whom thou lovest, but Allah guideth whom He will. And He is best aware of those who walk aright.

    If you say so…

    The (violent) expansion of Islam in the Middle East in the 7th and 8th century occurred for political reasons, for expansion of power. There was no interest in spreading Islam or coercing the defeated ones into Islam. It started out with tribes conquering neighbouring regions that happened to be of a different faith.
    Non-muslims could keep their faith and exercise it, but had to pay an additional tax, were excluded from the military and from owning land. Hence slowly they adopted Islam.
    So much for “sword to the throat”.

    Maybe not to the throat but perhaps to the pocketbook? That’s not forced conversion but isn’t it coerced conversion?

    Christianity does also have a nasty record of war in the name of God/faith. Crusades anyone?
    Or the “Thirty Years War” of catholic and protestant principalities struggling for influence, power and ground? (Devastating to Europe back then and essential to nation building in retrospect.)

    I think Dever covered that. The last thing I want to do is defend Christianity. To quote Mark Driscoll, “Don’t be defenders of Christianity but of Jesus. Sometimes Christianity does things that are inconsistent with Jesus.” So you’ll argument from me that these things had to do more with temporal power than with Jesus.

    I’d appreciate if Rev. Dever and alikes would respect (!) Protestant/Evangelic faith of the European kind. It has been more than 1200 years since Charlemagne and that’s a lot of time to foster or find a loving relationship with God.
    Most Protestant denominations in Europe differ on a lot of points with Evangelicals of the American flavor. Most European protestants simply do not think the Bible need or ought to be interpreted literally and differ hence on other points.
    That’s their faith as it has been given to them by God.
    Respect it.

    So no part of the Bible is literal?

    peace out

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