Sunday, June 01, 2008

Two Thoughtsfrom Leonard Sweet

Street evangelism. Think about a typical street evangelist on a soapbox, with some kind of megaphone and he's handing out tracts. Wesley and some early Methodists in the late 18th, early 19th century invented street evangelism and they would attract these huge crowds; people were getting converted and there were these huge revivals! We do it today and it drives people away! It's not turning people to Christ, it's driving them away from Christ. Why? It's the wussification of the church, and the wussification of the church's mind and mission.

In the 1790's, a book was equivalent to one month's salary, so people didn't have books. And they didn't have literature in their homes. So pamphlets and tracts were the cutting edge hardware of the 18th century. Literally, a book is one month's salary, and you're on a street evangelism team giving out books and tracts and pamphlets. Well, hello! In the 1990's the computer was equivalent to one month's salary! And here we are still giving out tracts, which our ancestor's did, but if we were doing what they did, we'd be standing on street corners passing out Palm Pilots, PCs. You want to talk about crowds that would wait in line and listen to what we have to say?

Now, of course, that hardware would have to come with spiritual software. The early street evangelists just didn't have pamphlets, they had chapters from John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, or Fox's Book of Martyrs, or Thomas A Kempis' Imitation of Christ. So you just don't pass out Palm Pilots, you put Bible software on them, if you're passing out PCs, you put the whole Scriptures in there! We're such wusses! We're still passing out tracts. I mean, in the men's room they put tracts on the urinals. And this is evangelism?! Who's gonna pick it up? It's the wussification of the church's mind and mission, and it's embarrassing. Let's do for our day what our ancestors did for their day - is that too much to ask?


Anonymous said...

Usually the "wussies" are the ones scared to go and pass out the tracks. Although this way of sharing the gospel may not be the most effctive, I hardly think one could call their courage into question.

Anonymous said...

I do not so much think he is calling their courage into question as pointing out our lack of sacrifice. A whole lot easier and a lot cheaper to pass out a tract than it is a palm pilot