June 11, 2007
The Master's Program
The Point of View - A Weekly Commentary by Bob Shank

Dear Marketplace Friend,

    Christians are to share their faith. Sounds a little soft; kind of… optional. In marketplace terms, it's the idea of sales and marketing. Why do we need that, anyway? Don't we have enough "customers" already? Why don't we just devote ourselves to servicing the business we already have, instead of putting a strain on ourselves to feel like we've got to go out and recruit new business? I'm using marketplace terms, to drive home a point. What do you call a business that has dismissed their sales and marketing effort as non-essential, while putting its only attention on existing customers? Here it is, in a word: dying.
    Absolute moral truth exists; and, The Bible is absolutely true; and, God is the Creator of the universe; and, God is all-knowing and all-powerful; and, God is still sovereign over all; and, Jesus is the Son of God; and, Satan is a real entity; and, Jesus lived a sinless life; and, Salvation is a free gift from God. and, last in the string: Christians are to share their faith.
    This progression of principles aligns with what we've been describing as a Christian/Biblical World-view. Along this philosophical parkway, there are no points-of-departure; no side trips that are there to get you off the track. If each is true, the last is as true as the first. Each is a critical position that flows to the next; to pull any link out of the chain disables its ability to support the weight of truth.
    I've been in circulation in the American evangelical church community for over a decade now; for most of that time, I've been a "professional:" an insider who sees the pew from the perspective of the pulpit, and hearing the reports from peers who lead as pastors. Here's an observation that is indisputable, from my research and experience: most churches that are, by self-designation, evangelical are attended by Christians who are, themselves, not. They've found a nonexistent niche: believing evangelicals who are not practicing evangelicals. They would vote "aye" with each of those Ten Statements (above)... but, though agreeing with the last, it's been months/years since they have placed themselves at uncomfortable risk by sharing their personal faith in Jesus Christ - established through their intelligently-constructed worldview - with a person who does not yet have the same faith.
     "Yeah, but evangelism just isn't my gift." I've heard that comment innumerable times. Here's a Bible factoid: in no passage of the New Testament is evangelism described as a "gift." No one has the "gift of evangelism." But, "It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up..." (Ephesians 4:11-12). No one has the "gift of evangelism," but God has given to the church leaders - among them, some are evangelists, with the assignment to prepare God's people for works of service - like, evangelism! - so that the body of Christ - the church - may be built up - grown, through adding new believers to the ranks, through evangelism!
    I write from Binghamton, New York - three hours west of New York City - where I'm with Franklin Graham - one of those evangelists; I may be another. Our team is conducting a weekend-long Festival; thousands of Christians in this region have been trained over the last few months to share their faith, to pray for their lost family and friends, to be prepared to be counselors at the Festival, ready to come alongside people who respond to Franklin's invitation at the end of each evening's event and talk them through the process of accepting from the Lord Jesus Christ the free gift of salvation.
    What can a few dozen carpetbaggers accomplish in a city like Binghamton, over a weekend? Well, we'll leave hundreds of newborn Christians in our wake; perhaps more importantly, we'll leave thousands of Christians who are now trained, equipped and experienced to put the action to their worldview... and share their faith with people who are - otherwise - on the way to Eternity without the promise of heaven.
    Next week, we'll talk about some next-step possibilities with this Christian/Biblical Worldview stuff. How important is it? If you've got this beta code in the right place in your heart and soul, it will make this lifetime meaningful, in the light of heaven. Without it, you could have a saving faith in Jesus Christ... but live a life of virtual irrelevance...

Bob Shank

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