I am struck by the importance of our role in proclamation as I have worked through the preaching series on the ordinances of the church. God has designed it so that his people are the witnesses meant to proclaim his great and marvelous grace to the world.
We can easily miss out on our role, especially in areas that are difficult to discuss and within a culture that is often hostile. Here are some articles I’ve read recently that deal with our witness.
1. Proclaiming in the Transgender Debate
Kevin DeYoung’s article, The Two Things We Must Say About The Transgender Debate, instructs us on our responsibility to proclaim when it comes to transgender. As he writes in his conclusion:
That means while we do not have patience for secular agendas, we must have patience for struggling people. We may be quick with rebuttals in the public square, but we must be quick with a listening ear in the neighbor’s kitchen. It means we must show private care in a way that is not confused with public indifference, and make known our public concern in a way that is not confused with private disdain. We have two different things to say depending on the context—not contradictory things, but complementary things the world is eager to confuse.
The whole article is well worth the read.
2. Proclaiming in a Hostile Culture
Then there’s this article by Collin Hansen, You Can’t Win The Neighbor You Fear, which is a great challenge regarding our witness. Collin affirms the negative political climate toward evangelicals, yet found a very strange fact:
The strangest finding in the survey came in the shockingly low number of Americans who say they even know one evangelical. Keep in mind that evangelicals compose somewhere around 1 in 4 Americans. But in 2017 only 61 percent of Americans said they know an evangelical.
Might this indicate something about the evangelical community’s commitment to be a witness based upon a fear of a hostile world around it? It might. But as followers of the One True God, fear should never silence us. Collin concludes by reminding us of Paul’s letter to the Romans:
Fear and loathing from the world toward believers is expected, even required for followers of Christ. But let the world come to expect from us faith and love in return, because we follow Christ in telling them the good news of his death and resurrection. Faith will come when they hear. Don’t let your fear condemn them. “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed?” Paul asked in Romans 10:14. “And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”
3. Proclaiming as an Ambassador
Here’s an encouraging article by Paul Tripp, The Mission Of Words, dealing with 2 Corinthians 5:20. Tripp writes:
Pause for a moment. Don’t gloss over that familiar verse. God has appointed a position of majestic honor to unworthy sinners. Let the weight of that reality sink in. As ambassadors, we are called to use our words to accurately represent the King of Kings who is not physically present. In the same way that Christ revealed the Father, we are called to reveal Christ. … The problem is, I’m either unaware of my opportunity, or I bring my own selfish interests to the conversation. As a result, many of my conversations have little to no ambassadorial mission.
The short article includes some helpful reflection questions:
- When was the last opportunity you missed to be an ambassador? What caused you to miss it?
- Where are your current opportunities to be an ambassador this week? What can you do to prepare?
- What sacrifices is God calling you to make to be a more effective ambassador? Why are those sacrifices difficult?
- How are the Kingdom rewards of being an ambassador for Christ better than the temporary pleasures of the kingdom of self? Be specific.
4. Proclaiming with a Proper Framework
This article, Make Good People Wish It Were True, reminds us of a proper apologetical framework. This demands our efforts in proclaiming Christianity as not contrary to reason, but respectable and desirable.
If we want to persuade anybody, we need to make them wish Christianity were true, even if they currently think it’s probably not. But what a step it would be for them to at least wish it could be true! … a heart that secretly wishes Christianity were true (even if it thinks it has to know better) is going to be a powerful incentive to pay attention to the arguments that tend toward establishing its truth.
I hope you find these articles as helpful as I did. Moreover, I hope that you will join me in becoming more faithful in our roles as witnesses of God’s glory and grace.