Friday, January 9, 2009

What It's Like to Bring the Gospel to the Bible Belt

Got to have lunch with Ed Stetzer today. (Will you pick that name up for me so that I might drop it again at a later date?)
It was wonderful to meet him and get acquainted. He's a great guy and I was blessed by our chat immensely.

One of the things, among many, that we talked about was the difficulty in doing gospel-centered ministry in the Bible Belt. I recalled Soren Kierkegaard's reflection on bringing Christianity to Christendom.

I like to say it is like trying to sell something to people who think they already have it. "Jesus? No thanks, I'm good," Bible Belt's cultural Christians say.

I liked how Ed described it. He said we are preaching the gospel to people who've already been inoculated against it with a false version.


I've got a lot to say about this subject -- in many ways, this entire blog is about this subject -- but I will save it for a future post.


Brian said...

Look forward to hearing from you more on this subject. It's something I think about as well. As Flannery O'Connor notes, we are in the "Christ haunted" south. Problem is, some people take the ghost for the real thing.

nhe said...

Yes, please say more about this subject Jared - its an excellent topic for those of us who live in the "buckle" area of the Bible Belt.

A pastor I respect has said that evangelism to the inoculated "pseudo-Christian" subculture of the Bible Belt really need not be much different in "type" than the evangelism to Catholics.

In both cases, we're dealing with an inoculated crowd who think they're just fine with Jesus.

Here's my question - regarding Luke 15 - not only are we talking about "older-brotherness" (Keller term) in regards to this subculture - but aren't we also talking about some of the 99 sheep in Luke 15? it fair to say that some of those sheep may not be in a right relationship with their Shepherd, and that Bible Belt preaching is largely about preaching inside the pen?

I know its a leap, but I don't assume that all of the 99 sheep are believers - are there maybe some older brothers in there who are experiencing the benefits of living with the Father? However, perhaps, they don't necessarily know the father?