Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Evangelism is sharing our faith

In his second address at the Alpha Day on 22/4, Graham Tomlin spoke about the theology of Alpha.

Graham joined the Alpha team just 4 years ago, which is perhaps 10 or 12 years after the first Alpha courses were held. It was interesting to see that his theological analysis of Alpha as a means of evangelism was systematic, historical and biblical.

Evangelism is, I think, sharing our faith with the aim that the person we are sharing our faith with will come to know Jesus for themselves as Lord and Saviour.

Lesslie Newbigin wrote, 'The test of our real belief is our readiness to share it with all peoples.'
How many of us prefer to study, to read, to write, to reflect, to think about our faith? Do we really believe if we never engage in evangelism?
How many of us choose only to share our faith with people 'like us'? Where do we draw boundaries? I won't share my faith with her, I don't want to end up sitting next to her in church. I won't share my faith with him, I've already decided he will never believe? If we don't share our faith with all peoples do we really believe it?

1. Evangelism as hospitality.
A key theme in Alpha is welcome and relationships, this is also true of the gospel. Graham reflected this theme found in the Incarnation and the Trinity. He shared this icon of Abraham at Mamre with us:

2. Evangelism as cenounter.
This is about more than an intellectual encounter, the idea is that our encounter with God should be emotional, heart felt, physical (worship, sacraments).

3. Evangelism as catechesis.
ok forgive the big word but Graham used it first!
As those not Christians are taught they become Christians. But what is taught? Doctrine, behaviour (how to live as a Christian), spiritual practices (worship, prayer, bible reading, meditation).

4. Evangelism as community.
No one is evangelised and then sent out on their own to follow Jesus. We are all evangelised into the new community of the church.

Lot's to think about here. How does our evangelism compare?

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