Insights for fellow evangelists.

The well-known german theologian rudolf bultmann has asked the right question for our age: “How do we communicate the gospel in a secularistic and technological age?” This question might be put differently in different cultures, but all of us are concerned with effectively communicating the gospel. In many circumstances, it means what missiologists have called “contextualization”—adapting our methods to the culture and society in which we are called to proclaim the gospel. But let us make it clear: we have no authority from Scripture to alter the message. The message can never be contextualized.

So how do we communicate the gospel with power and effect in this materialistic, scientific, rebellious, secular, immoral, humanistic age?

The Key

The key that unlocks the door to effective gospel communication is found in 1 Corinthians 2:2. Look at the context of this verse. When Paul went to Corinth, it was one of the most idolatrous, pagan, intellectual, and immoral cities in the Roman world. If you wanted to condemn someone as an immoral person, you called him a “Corinthian.” When Paul looked at this city and felt God’s leading to start a church there, what did he do? Don’t forget, there was not a single other Christian in town. How would he “preach the gospel” in an atmosphere alien to its very nature?

If we could personally ask Paul those searching questions, perhaps he would say, “My intelligence alone will not be able to handle it. I do not have the logic or the arguments to compel the Corinthians to accept the truth of the gospel.” What then did he do? He said, with positive faith, “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”

Why such a statement? ...

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