Faith and Christianity, John Bunyan

Thoughts on Good Works

There is an interesting thought on the IX Marks site.
You can read the entire excerpt here:

Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert’s book What is the Mission of the Church?

I’ve been noodling through this idea for awhile, ever since I started thinking about the imfamous misquote of St. Francis. You can read all about that here:

Why We Have To Throw Out That St. Francis of Assisi Quote

Sorting Out the TruthAbout St. Francis of Assisi

You may or may not agree with what they say but it’s worth a bit of reading.

Anyway, getting back to the DeYoung, Gilbert excerpt I found that it ties very closely to the reading we have been doing in our John Bunyan group: A Discourse Upon the Pharisee and the Publican

One thought they expressed is:

“We do good works to win a hearing for the gospel.

Sometimes the argument is made that when Christians do good things for other people and then share the gospel with them, they‘ve pulled a bad bait-and-switch trick…..

But that‘s really a terrible way to think about evangelism.

Evangelism is the act of telling other people about the plight they are in and how they can be saved from it. It‘s an act of deep love and compassion for that person. So the argument that that act of love and compassion can‘t legitimately be accompanied by other acts of love and compassion doesn‘t hold water. Christians, as we‘ve seen, are to love the whole person, and therefore it makes perfect sense to love someone by giving them food and at the same time to love them in a different, eternally consequential way by giving them the gospel. There‘s no bait-and-switch there; that‘s simply holistic compassion—compassion for the whole person, not just part of him.

Understanding that, we can also see an opposite danger for those who buy the bait-and-switch argument. It‘s that they will compassionately meet physical and even emotional needs, but out of fear of falling into a bait-and-switch scenario, they‘ll neglect to compassionately meet the other person‘s spiritual needs by sharing the gospel with them….

If we understand evangelism itself, though, as a deep and profound act of love for another person, we will do it more often (because we won‘t have the awkward feeling that we‘re just giving a sales pitch), and we‘ll do it with the right motives, too (love for people, instead of regard for ourselves). In fact, if we are Christians whose love and compassion is aroused not just by physical and emotional needs, but also by spiritual needs, then sharing the gospel will always be in the forefronts of our minds. We will naturally and readily move toward it as we are loving other people.”

I had a similiar thought not so long ago:

Isn’t it just as bad to believe that “not preaching the Gospel will save some” as thinking that preaching the Gospel will drive some elect of God away?

The Bunyan text is a bit hard to read but it gives the idea of righteousness a good working over.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s