Now, I’ve been fairly quiet about the recent big debate in Army Blogland for a reason. Firstly, I’ve blogged about it before…secondly, I understand what Gordon means by false dichotomy and that actually, we’re not always talking at odds.
We’re often saying the same thing…we all agree that the gospel of the Kingdom can’t be fully displayed without it being proclaimed and fully proclaimed without it being displayed. Jesus very rarely preached the Kingdom without then displaying (although Jesus’ display’s weren’t just social care, but spiritual work of casting out devils and demons too).
Where I have challenged Gordon previously is where he himself has been guilty of creating a false dichotomy…where, for example, his youth work has intentionally divorced social care from evangelism. I’ve visited his youth work so that I could show my youth worker an example of good youth work…so, I speak with some sort of qualification having seen Gordon’s team in action.
The bible says we shouldn’t be pushy with the gospel…but it does say we should be ‘pully’, pulling people from the fire (Jude, near the end). Hell is a reality and those without Jesus go there. Gordon doesn’t want people to go to Hell..I know that for sure….he wants people to come to Jesus. His church does ‘evangelistic’ things. But I want to know why we are not making the most of every opportunity (as Paul suggests) to give reason for the hope we have.
So…I’ve listened to Gordon, read Gordon, talked briefly with Gordon, heard him, all the rest. I respect him, but thoroughly disagree. Any one of his teenagers can leave his youth work and be killed, murdered or run over by a big red bus and go straight to Hell from the doors of The Salvation Army.
Pro-active. I’ve talked before about my family..all of whom are unsaved. When they are on their death bed I’m not going to wait for them to bring up spiritual things. I don’t want them in Hell…I want them to know the truth.
Now…if someone was lying on a bed dying, what would you tell them? And why should that be different from what we tell anyone else? We don’t know the time or date that we will die. We have a responsibility for everyone we know.
‘But should we use the thought of hell as a motivation for evangelism?’ Yes. I don’t want anyone to burn eternally in a place of weeping, mourning, pain and unending torment. The greatest act of love and mercy is being clear with the gospel.
So basically, I can’t get passed hell when thinking about Gordon’s approach.
Thats my tuppenceworth.