Here’s a quote from Gerhard Lohfink that summarizes nicely some of my thoughts on embodied witness and what it really means to be the church.
It can only be that God begins in a small way, at one single place in the world. There must be a place, visible, tangible, where the salvation of the world can begin: that is, where the world becomes what it is supposed to be according to God’s plan. Beginning at that place, the new thing can spread abroad, but not through persuasion, not through indoctrination, not through violence. Everyone must have the opportunity to come and see. All must have the chance to behold and test this new thing. Then, if they want to, they can allow themselves to be drawn into the history of salvation that God is creating. Only in that way can their freedom be preserved. What drives them to the new thing cannot be force, not even moral pressure, but only the fascination of a world that is changed.
[Quoted in David Fitch’s excellent book, The Great Giveaway.]
David Swink says
Great blog! It seems to me that the idea, that every Christian’s duty is to be able to persuade another to the faith, is the present day crisis(or at least one of them) concerning witness and evangalism. What ever gave us the idea that we should persuade people to become Christians? Is it because Paul said “we try to persuade men”? But Paul did not say,”that by employeeing the art of persuasion we try to lure others to accept what we ourselves are uncertain of”. The emphasis put on this “persuading” is actually harmful, especially when it is on the basis of being objective truth; rather than using the power of “a new creation” to be it’s witness. What does one sense when someone is aggressively trying to convince you of something? Is it not, “this person either doesn’t believe this themselves, or it’s just not true”? How terrible it is that this is many peoples’ experience with Christianity. How benificial it would be if the Church(Evangelical) began to instruct and encourage the believers(especially the new ones) to desire to be like Christ and to take hold of the hope held out in the Gospel, instead of indoctrinating it’s members with doctrines that most of them have no idea what they mean. Because, then the message is: “believe that these doctrines are objectively true”; instead of: “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, for He has promised that if any one come to Him He shall in no way drive out. Thanks for your work in the Lord.