For my 400th post, I thought I'd share something about the Gospel. (After 399 other posts, it's about time, eh?) I posted this earlier on Facebook, but it seems a little too deep for my usual Facebook fare. Anyway, here it is: 400 with a bullet.
There is a proper order to evangelism and outreach. First we must get the message straight. We do the unbeliever no favor if we lead him to a Christ who exists only in the imagination of our hearts. First we must be rooted in the Word of God. As the Church lives not on bread alone but "by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD", we must know what the Lord reveals to us about Himself through the Word. Only then can we reach out with the Word to the unbeliever with the Christ that actually exists, the Christ who makes Himself known through that very Word. Reaching out without first getting it straight may reach a goodly number of people, but you will not be bringing them to where they need to be.
The Reverend Alvin L. Barry, sainted President of the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, put it this way: "Keep the message straight, Missouri! Get the message out, Missouri!" Don't talk to me about equipping the saints for outreach or about the evils of "incessant internal purification" until you can be sure that the message is straight--that the "love" you show won't lead your hearers to their death.