Friday, October 4, 2013

A Hair Worth Splitting

I was reading RC Sproul's commentary on John 9 tonight. John 9 tells the familiar story when Jesus heals the man who was born blind. The story in it's full context is rich with festival significance and messianic implications. That aside, RC Sproul makes a distinction between two words that we often use interchangeably - witnessing and evangelism. I've tended to not like using the term "witnessing" so much as evangelism, and I think Dr. Sproul helped me finally put words to my preference.

He argues: "...they [witnessing and evangelism] are not synonyms. Any time I call attention to the person and work of Christ, I am bearing witness to Christ. But that is not the same thing as preaching the gospel." The man born blind was asked by the hostile pharisees to give an account of what happened to him. He says, "Whether he is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see." (Jn 9.24-25) The man bears witness to what Jesus did for him - made him see. Our testimonies serve the same purpose. We can bear witness about what Christ has done in our lives.

But let's hear Dr. Sproul's caution well: "We should all have a prepared testimony, and we should be willing to share it at the drop of a hat." He continues, "But we shouldn't confuse our personal testimonies with the gospel. Sharing our personal testimonies is not evangelism." (John, p 181-182) When we have an opportunity to speak the gospel, let's make sure we aren't only telling our stories, let's tell THE story.

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