Sunday, August 30, 2015

Evangelism, done right, is grace for the hearer

In the Lutheran church, we try to keep our eyes focused on God's grace. We often talk about the "means of grace" -- the ways in which God makes it clear to us that he loves us and forgives us and establishes a bond with us through Christ. A "means of grace" contains within itself an act of love, the message of God's forgiveness, and builds that bond (which is grace) that God establishes with us through Christ. When we look at baptism, we see the washing and cleansing, and hear the promise that we repent and are baptized for the forgiveness of our sins, that we become children of God. We consider that baptism is a "means of grace" because in baptism we see God acting in love to forgive us and make us his own. In communion (the Lord's Supper), we see the food and drink given to nourish us, we hear the promise of the covenant of our forgiveness through Christ, we are accepted at the Lord's own table. So we consider that to be another act of God which both announces and establishes God's grace towards us through Christ.

We consider our ministers to be "ministers of word and sacrament" -- that, besides these great acts of God in the sacraments, God's love is also known to us in words. Evangelism, done right, is about God's love. Through it, the listeners hear of God's love, God's mercy, about how God receives them through cleansing in baptism and makes them his own children. The listeners hear that repentance is met with forgiveness, that the Supper we have now -- a covenant for our forgiveness -- is a foretaste of the feast to come. It is the king's son's wedding, and we have been sent to invite people.

Should street evangelists, instead of handing out tracts, hand out wedding invitations?


Martin LaBar said...

That would probably be looked at as even more strange than the way some street evangelists are looked at now . . .

Weekend Fisher said...

But would it be a bad thing? ;)

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF