April 10, 2008

Building Biblical Frameworks in the Minds of our Hearers

Posted in Evangelism, Gospel, Postmodernism, Worldviews at 2:01 pm by Dan Lowe


We live in a radically post-Christian culture.  As much as we wish this wasn’t so… it is a fact of life.  There was a time when we could take for granted that those around us had at least a basic understanding of biblical truth, but no longer. 

Test this out for yourself.  Go out and ask non-church attenders a few basic questions regarding biblical truth, such as:

1)      Who was Abraham?

2)     List 5 of the 10 Commandments.

3)     Name 3 of the 4 canonical gospels.

Ask these questions and you are likely to get blank stares.  The days living in a biblically literate culture are long past…

This becomes particularly true when you ask people to define a biblical concept, such as sin.

USA Today recently ran an article entitled “Has the Notion of Sin Been Lost?” which discussed the changing attitudes of Americans toward sin and how this affects our view of Easter.  The article concludes with comments by Tim Keller and Mark Driscoll on the importance of clarifying the concept of sin to unbelieving hearers.  Driscoll is quoted as saying, “Without an idea of sin, Easter is meaningless.”  (Find the article posted here http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2008-03-19-sin_N.htm.  You can also find Dr. Albert Mohler’s comments on this article here http://www.albertmohler.com/blog_read.php?id=1120 .)    

Without a concept of sin… not only is Easter meaningless… but so is Good Friday… and Christmas.  In fact, the whole gospel message is irrelevant if the biblical concept of sin is not understood.  The good news of Jesus Christ is the fact that “…Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…” (I Cor 15:3-4.)  If we don’t understand sin… then we don’t understand why Jesus died and was buried and rose again the third day.

A major part of our evangelistic efforts in a postmodern, biblically-illiterate culture will be to speak in such a way that we inform the minds of unbelievers of biblical categories so that the gospel message is coherent to them.  Granted, God is sovereign in illuminating the hearts and minds of unbelievers so that they may understand the gospel message.  But typically He works through human means to accomplish this.  For example: it was the Lord who opened Lydia’s heart to receive the message of the gospel, but only after it had been spoken to her by His human messenger Paul (Acts 16:14.)

Dr.  John Piper has an excellent post on this subject which can be found here http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/TasteAndSee/ByDate/2008/2717_Preaching_As_Concept_Creation_Not_Just_Contextualization/ .

Meditate on this… and pray that God will give you insight into how to communicate biblical concepts to the hearts and minds of those who do not know Christ.


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