Is It Time to Rethink Evangelism?
Southern Evangelical Seminary President Dr. Richard Land: Society Is Full of People Who Feel No Guilt for Sin But Are Still Without Hope
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—The truth of the Gospel is unchanging and unwavering. But as people’s hearts harden toward God and a realization of human beings’ innate sin is overlooked, it may be time to rethink evangelism.
This was a focus for Dr. Richard Land, Evangelical leader and president of Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES) for his daily two-minute radio feature, “Bringing Every Thought Captive,” airing on nearly 800 stations nationwide today.
For 25 years, SES has existed to equip students and ministry leaders to share the Gospel from an intelligent, informed and rational biblical worldview. Courses, conferences, seminars, guest speakers and more seek to accomplish this longstanding mission. Central to this purpose is the provision of a biblical basis and an academic understanding of believers’ commitment to Christ. Therefore, SES seeks to provide an educational opportunity where the Christian world view is both a framework for thinking and a dynamic for living.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, Land visited a huge used book store in Nashville—one of his favorite places because of the unexpected treasures he discovers.
“There, I picked up a small book by an old friend Albert Cook Outler, the now deceased, prominent Methodist theologian,” Land said. “As I was thumbing through the book, I came across a passage that I have quite literally not been able to quit thinking about. ‘Everywhere,’ Mr. Outler said, ‘one notices a shrinkage of any serious sense of guilt before God. It’s no big deal nowadays to tell people their sins are pardoned when they don’t really feel guilty, but only anxious, victimized and put upon. Increasingly, it is not much more than ho-hum to proclaim you’re accepted to people who have already been told they ought to have been accepted by rights long since. Christian evangelists must now realize they have to find a true word of Gospel for the “guiltless,” those who are no longer contrite but still nonetheless hopeless.’
“It is not that they aren’t guilty—they are,” Land continued. “We all are guilty before God, but they don’t feel guilty. As the famous psychiatrist Dr. Karl Menninger asked many years ago, WHATEVER BECAME OF SIN (1973)? Our society now produces people, while no longer feeling contrite, they are still without hope. Perhaps we need to prayerfully consider beginning our evangelistic message with ‘in Jesus there is hope, meaning and purpose to life—the “life more abundant” promised by Jesus’ (John 10:10) and THEN explain why—because Jesus cared for each one of them enough to die on a cross for their sin.”
Read more about Southern Evangelical Seminary and SES President Dr. Richard Land and his radio feature here. For more information on SES, visit its website at www.ses.edu or its Facebook page, follow the SES Twitter feed, @sesapologetics, or call (800) 77-TRUTH.