Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Appeal to Joy

Yeah, joy's gonna be my dead horse to beat. :-)

Because, good Lord, I need it. We all do.

It's one of the fruits of the Spirit, you know? Yet in all the Church's appeals to convert, to commune, to conform, to congregate, it is frequently the missing ingredient.

Even in the happiest and clappiest of happy-clappy churches, even in the bedazzling bombardment of bright lights and "high energy worship" and Guy Smiley spokespersons, I think joy may be missing.
There is captivation with the environment, intoxication with the production and the proceedings.

When Christ crucified is not preached and lived in our churches, the joy of the Lord is not the strength of our churches.

And even when Christ crucified is preached, but in the sense that it is a colossal bummer and in the context of burden and condemnation rather than grace and freedom, the joy of the Lord is not the strength of such churches.

David Wayne is trying to tugboat Glenn Lucke:
Glenn and I were chatting by phone the other day and he shared a couple of things with me that he has become convinced of. He says that Scripture makes two appeals - an appeal to truth and an appeal to joy.

Typical ministry focuses on the appeal to truth. He used to do campus ministry at Harvard and did the standard evangelistic and apologetic stuff where he focused exclusively on sharing propositional truth and dealing with the evidence for the authenticity of the manuscripts and the resurrection and that kind of stuff.

He mentioned that after a few years of this he was getting nowhere and couldn't point to any great fruit from that approach. About this time he started reading John Piper's stuff on Christian Hedonism and it crystalized for him the notion that the appeal to joy is as valid as the appeal to truth.

He says he then began listening more than talking, and tried to tap into people's joys and sorrows. As he was able to undersand the false gods who were bringing people misery he could point them to the true God, Jesus Christ, and the true sense of joy.

Glenn mentioned that by starting with an appeal to joy he was then able to make an appeal to truth. Ultimately, joy and truth flow from the same river, so by starting with joy he could get to truth much more effectively than just beginning with truth.

So, with that as a little intro, here's hoping Glenn will expand on this.

Great stuff, and I will second David's appeal to Glenn to expand on the appeals to joy.

Incidentally, I chat on the phone with Glenn every now and then also, but he only ever talks to me about writing and blogging and personal stuff. I feel cheated!
Hook a brother up with some deep thoughts, Glenn! You got my number.

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