Saturday, June 30, 2007

Viva Vox: “Who Do Your Books Say that I Am?”

In the midst of my travels over the last few weeks, I have been memorizing Colossians 1 and 2. One cannot contemplate these chapters without being struck with Paul’s clear message – Jesus Christ is supreme, holding first place in all. Refocusing my hope in Christ, re-centering my message on Christ, realigning my life to Christ – it is all about Jesus Christ the Lord.

So, I found Eric Miller’s recent article intriguing: “Who Do Your Books Say that I Am?” Miller states:

There were 17,249 books about Jesus in the Library of Congress as of 2004, and their number… continues to climb.

Reminds me of John 21:25.

Interacting with a number of recent works on Jesus – both evangelical and other – Miller explores scholarly answers to the question, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” This is a significant question for all of us who seek to be a CoJourner with others. We don’t necessarily interact with scholars themselves, but we do seek to lead others to Jesus – the real Jesus, alive and active today speaking through our Viva Vox (that is, our living voice.) Miller writes:

Viva vox was actually a byword for historians in the ancient world. When given a choice, they opted for eyewitnesses over written sources. They strongly preferred relying on those whose hands had touched and ears had heard critical parts of the stories they were intent on preserving.
Reminds me of many today who want to hear authentic experience in our witness. We today, of course, rely the (apostolic) eyewitnesses, recorded in our New Testament. But as modern-day Christ-followers, we too witness. We do not claim to be eyewitnesses. But we are experience-witnesses. We have genuine experience of Jesus from which we witness and share. We are among those Peter describes by,
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” (1 Peter 1:8)
It is this experience that qualifies us to be “guides” in others’ lives. When the witness of our experience aligns with the truth of the apostolic eyewitness, our Viva Vox speaks with power to today’s postmodern generations.

As Miller says,

They fought to get the story right, and so do we.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Innovation & Evangelism

I was asked to write a few paragraphs for the programs for the CCC staff conference this summer. Here are the first thoughts...

As evangelists in the 21st century, we are work between two realities. On one side is the Unchanging Creator God, who at all times in all places is seeking to save the lost. On the other is our rapidly changing culture -- a mosaic of lifestyles, worldviews and values that characterize men and women wandering from God. How do we maintain faithfulness to God's unchanging mission and message while achieving relevance for a moving target culturally? It is this balance that positions us for increased fruitfulness.

The gospel never changes. It is "the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16.) But we, like Paul, are constantly adapting to our audiences in order "…to win as many as possible…by all possible means…" (1 Corinthians 9:19, 22; NIV). Innovation and evangelism is not an option. It is a necessity.