I am in the midst of a blog series titled: “Must the Reformation Wars Continue?” Today I share a short video that is worth watching if you want to see how an outstanding Catholic communicator, and a really good friend, speaks about doing evangelism effectively in our time. There are some exceptional insights here for all Christians.
The life of the Christ does not begin with the law but with Spirit, with profound joy and really good news. Joy begins in God because God alone is our true human joy. What Fr. Barron says about evangelization needs to be heard by both Catholics and evangelicals. When you begin with the law you turn people off, you skew the entire mission project. Begin with joy and you will get to ethics and obedience through the right path. This was precisely where the early church did in a most hostile context. It is also where the American church must go in our increasingly secular context.
The Catholic Church in America, only a few decades ago, was all about defending the law, about concentrating on (especially sexual) ethics. That face of the church was not compelling. The same is true for conservative evangelicals who inherited the whirlwind in the late 1970s when they turned toward the politics of the ideological right in large numbers. The resulting “culture wars” have not helped our evangelizing efforts at all. This can now be seen in the large numbers of young adults who are turned off by the message of the church.
How do we become evangelically compelling again? The answer that Fr. Barron gives is both brilliant and profoundly biblical. Draw people into the exuberance of the faith and then teach them what it means to live this deep faith that has produced such true divine joy. He says, “We need to learn the right rhythms.” Evangelization that begins with joy leads people to ask: “What do I need to do to inculcate this joy in my daily experience?”
Draw people into deep friendship through real love and then tell them what this love actually means and how it directly impacts their joy day-by-day.
My Latest Book!
Use Promo code UNITY for 40% discount!
My Evangelical friend @JohnA1949 shows a video of his Catholic friend describing how joy in Christ precedes ethics. http://t.co/xOy18sDekX
Ed Holm liked this on Facebook.
John, you mention that too much evangelism begins with law. On the evangelical side, I believe that too much evangelism has begun with people being told that they need to obey the Great Commission and that, if they don’t, they are lazy and lukewarm and disobedient. I’m reminded of what Newbigin said of the early church. Their mission wasn’t fueled by obedience to a command, as if evangelism was now part of the Torah. Their evangelism began with the “explosion of joy” that burst out of the tomb of Christ. If people truly grasped the nature and excitement and incredible implications of the gospel, there would no way to stop them from evangelizing.
Evangelization begins with joy! Thanks John for the post.
Rick Landry liked this on Facebook.
James H Kim liked this on Facebook.
Joseph L Schafer liked this on Facebook.
Christians need to stop doing things for any reason other than that they love God!
Thanks John, this is timely and I needed to hear this today “The life of the Christ does not begin with law but with Spirit, with profound joy.” And thanks Forrest Horn, your words are like living water to my soul. I grew up with a “You must obey me” presentation of Christianity and even though I am 45 years old I sometimes can’t get the “You must obey” voice out of my head.
I will pray that the Lord will take that voice from you. I’m humbled that you have such things to say about my words, Brian. Thank you! 🙂
Sometimes people we never met say the words we need to hear! And yes that specific prayer is MUCH appreciated!
Love you, my brother!
Forrest Horn, I do not know you except on Facebook but I do know Brian Karcher as my dear friend. Thank you for encouraging him and using this wall for that good and godly purpose.
You’re very welcome, but God is the One who is helping Brian.
This is exactly what Pope Francis has been saying and doing. The reactions to him from liberals and conservatives show that the the legalistic focus Fr Barron mentions as having been prevalent on both the left and the right is still going strong. Neither side can avoid mishearing his message of love and hope other than as a repudiation of Christian ethics.
Thanks Richard Roland and Forrest Horn you are right but the Spirit uses people, not simply ideas. Your response is a part of how He loves and cares. He gets all the credit but we can share in the blessings. Grace!
Richard … the churches ( small “c” ) are forever falling for one type of legalism or another. Apparently legalism is much easier for many people to deal with than true worship. All of us need to think very hard about this: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” – James 1:27
It’s very hard for some of us to think very hard about that, Forrest.
And yet it’s so simple! Be IN the world but not OF the world, and give aid and comfort to those who are suffering. 🙂
Richard Roland liked this on Facebook.
Is this guy good or what!!?? Really love it. So true. Thanks John! You will be happy to know that my daughter is a huge Barron fan. She loves to watch his short videos like this in her spare time.
Greg Metzger liked this on Facebook.