Truth hidden in Story

Nathan the prophet could have confronted the sin of King David with the Ten Commandments, “You, Oh King are guilty of murder, adultery and coveting, repent!” Three commandments were clearly broken by David. Yet, Nathan comes to the King and tells a story, a rich man takes the pet lamb of his poor neighbor for a feast with friends!  The passions of David are drawn to a crescendo of anger and indignation. David demands immediate justice, but melts when he realizes, he is the man.

The abrupt confrontation with Rom 3:23, “you are a sinner” is not well received by people today, anymore than Nathan’s encounter with King David 3000 years ago. People are compelled by narrative, movies, books, stories. We bypass the power of narrative and jump to our punch line, bullet points or condensed Gospel sound bites. The problem is the traditional propositional gospel presentation assumes many things about the view of the listener. #1 there is a God #2 the Bible is true #3 what sin is #4 the need of a savior #5 who is Jesus #6 future judgement is certain, those are huge assumptions! Why not just start in the Gospel of Matthew with a baby born in Bethlehem or in Mark with a young teacher on the beach in Galilee. Then they can work completely through the story and discover all the things we assume people know and believe. There is something compelling about this thirty-something peasant teacher who lived and died in obscurity. Even today He captures the hearts and minds of millions.

It is no virtue to present the gospel in such a way as to offend people and terminate an ongoing conversation. It is to our advantage, keeping a reciprocal dialogue. At least until their deep questions are heard and understood in a respectful manner. The cross itself should be the sticking point and the offense, not our false assumptions, cultural bias or personality. Keep the conversation going as long as possible! The Word of God will do the heavy lifting. Jesus said, “He who rejects Me and does not receive my sayings has one who judges him. The word I spoke is what will judge him on the last day.” John 12:48 #bgbg2 #ReadJesusChallenge

  • JoelKreider

    This is the pain of my heart, and lament of my soul… If the Lord tarries, perhaps we can realize the blood on our hands is not our own, let loose from our toil in the harvest, but of those we have not been able to corral with the goad of righteousness.