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Re: EVANGELISM and Executive Council

On Dec 28 11:14am XXXXXX XXXXX wrote:

> Dear Louie:
>     You have heard me speak. My message is always one of love and joy, but
> always concentrates on receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior.  I have led some
> 350,000 persons to a relationship with Jesus Christ .
>     Here is my belief..............the people that the National Council
> talks to have never led anyone to Jesus. They should talk to someone who has
> "done the job", but, I am afraid they might not want to hear about that deep
> and personal relationship with the Living God and that is just what people
> are trying to find.
>     You are a thinking person Louie. Think about what I have just said.
> Joy,
XXXXXX, I applaud you for your faithfulness.  What a fine example you set
for us all.

Thank you much for writing.  

I am passing along your note to Sarah Lawton, chair of the new expanded
20/20 strategy team of the Commission on Domestic Mission and Evangelism,
and to The Rev. John Guernsey, chair of CDME.  The new group is quite
large, and will indeed want to hear from those like yourself who have a
strong track record as evangelists.

I share your concern that all disciples need to be about this business. I
am deeply moved by the deep spirituality of my colleagues on Executive
Council, as you would likely be too if you worshiped and worked with us.
Again and again they think and behave in ways that are possible only for
those who have been with Jesus.  I am blessed to encounter Jesus in them.

It is spiritually dangerous to pass judgment on those who evangelize with
diction different from yours and mine.  There are many who will hear the
gospel from you who would never give me a hearing; there are many who will
hear the gospel from me who would never give you a hearing.  May God keep
us both at the task of being faithful witnesses.  May we hold up all who
minister in God's name.

Many tell me that I led them to Jesus.  That is humbling: I believe that
it is the Holy Spirit who actually does the leading, that I, at best, just
have the blessing of being used to help.  Grace is amazing to me, that God
can use a tacky old quean like me.

While I do preach the Good News, those who tell me that I was instrumental
in helping them to come to know Jesus more often than point first not to
what I said, but to how they saw Jesus at work in the way I live my life,
particularly at times that I did not know they were looking. I believe it
was St. Francis who said, "Preach the gospel at all times, and when
necessary, use words"?

As evangelical Christians, you and I are comfortable with the phrase "lead
someone to Jesus."  Many disciples, especially in the Episcopal Church,
are doing the same thing but would not dare use that phrase; for them it
is too closely identified with the ecclesiastical style of other
denominations, often of denominations that they have left.  Fortunately,
no group of Christians holds the exclusive franchise on the Good News.

Other phrases -- like "Are you saved?" or "Jesus Christ as my personal
savior" -- which have resonance and importance for evangelicals of all
denominations, are not a part of the ecclesiastical culture of most
Episcopal parishes which I have visited, yet many of those same parishes
have been actively making it possible for people to come to know Jesus as
Lord and Jesus as Savior.

May God use us all not only to preach the Word, but also to live it in
doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly.

Joy to you!


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