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About The Series

Themes and Topics of the Series

New Strategies for ‘Christian Witnessing’

I.  Theological Reasoning: Theory         

       It is necessary to be ready and unflinching to use ‘theological reasoning’ in presenting the message of God from the Bible.  It is more so for the witnessing ministry to the people of other faiths who are intellectual and better informed.  The story of the Bible is as old as the Creation, and its language about God’s will, and the life of man on earth especially, are as ancient as God Himself.  Only, this language, based on the theological reasoning (theological rationale), is still being evolved to match the cognizantability of the human mind that is in quest of God, and matters of God and man. 

       This supremely divine universal message requires equally incisive reasoning and language both to clothe it and express it.  The heart of God that bears love for mankind is immense as the universe of many vibrations of minds and hearts. Those who were given its understanding must be sympathetic to those who couldn’t, therefore still remaining enigmatic.   The message gains greater reception if it can seek and touch the deep yearnings of theses human souls.  Such yearning is about the need to understand the heart of God behind all the works He did, and still doing through the Spirit of Christ who became Man on earth to reveal the truth to those of less understanding (“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick”Mt 9:12).    

        For those in the US, rural village people of India are not the audience. The intellectual young are. In the personal experience of this author, enquiries from such people keep coming. Strangely and not surprisingly, some members of the local churches seek his advice and guidance when they find opportunities to converse about Christ with their neighbors of other faiths. Young professionals say, they “want to know” about Christianity. 

       These transplanted lives are separated from their religious enclaves with temples, places of worship and religious communities. They are now in a land dominated by churches and Christian atmosphere. Some of their friends are Christian; being so they become inquisitive, if not deeply interested, to know about Christianity of their adopted land. Some of them still have some propensity to adhere to ‘religion’ (religion - with all its beliefs, systems, structural entities, practices and communal celebrations).

alt      The Christian young professionals have started preserving their religious heritage by forming into Fellowships while attending churches of their choice for worship. In these circumstances, the young professionals seek to minister to their friends. True to general observation, local ‘evangelistic’ outreach is not intentional and has not grown.  Reasons may be many; lack of ‘time’ is one of them. Opportunities came on their own when the young of the other faiths desired to come to church to ‘check it out!’ And, yet, in many such cases, it was by invitation of the Christian young.  Relating to these enquiring minds is a challenge to the not-so-theologically versed young Christians.  How to relate the desirability of Christ over their gods (beyond saying ‘Christ died for your sins’) is a theological matter of complexity.  Added to that might come up undefined matters. 

      Such are the situations and issues we face in our immediate surroundings.  It is this that these website pages of articles and studies try to address.  For such a sublime task equally sublime reasoning is required if witnesses of Christ seek to satisfy the curiosity, the thirst and hunger of the souls of the emerging new humanity. Mere formulas, Scriptural quotations and repetition of ancient stories with reassuring spiritual meanings are not enough. They don’t seem to satisfy the mind of the modern man both here or in India, or elsewhere in the world.  The unconvinced humanity still remains stagnantly skeptical.   People have been hearing these stories repeatedly, but have not responded as they should. Their search is imperceptible; our attempts to address them are tentative, and the results are intangible.

      In such endeavor, our perception of God and our relating it to them need a theological language.  The language of the heart of God is as sublime and profound as any thought of God. It should be formed well, and with clear meaning to speak and to converse.  Stereotype religious terminology alone may not be helpful. It must be transformed into understandable terminology. 

      The message is immortal; it never changes since it is the message about God’s eternal work since the Creation for mankind, finally manifested in Christ the Man, the Savior. This message shall never change or lose its core of life when different tools are employed in saying it.  Convincing people with the message is critical; it’s a matter of eternity with God or eternal separation from God.  It must be done corresponding to the need of their heart and the yearning of their soul.  “Why Jesus?” is a universal question still being asked/challenged in their minds and circles. The message Christ’s believers give should be theologically convincing on many, many issues and fronts! Calling them to “just believe because the Bible says so” doesn’t necessarily yield results.  If we have the world to convince with those dicta, can we?

     Following schedule of issues would be treated through the theological reasoning. It is our hope that this treatment we present would give the Christian witnesses the needed theological and language tools. Theological reasoning comes through the following many topics as an effective resource to present God’s work thereby showing how preachers could apply it to many issues.   Several topics, Bible passages, theological issues, meaning of the ancient Biblical stories, etc. will be discussed in these articles on the website.  Following is a listing of them.

AThe Main Purpose:

1.  The overarching purpose of thiswebsite is to provide Biblical and Theological resources to the Christian witnesses (evangelists & preachers). This is not a spiritual treatise and scheme to be a good Christian, rather an organized material with biblical and theological reasoning to help one to be a good ‘witnessing Christian.’

2.  This resource is made available to help in three ways:

  •      a)  Equipping all the serious Christian witnesses who are already on the field, with useful ideas,
  •      b)  Encouraging those who have intention to do witnessing for Christ, but are hesitant due  to man
  •           doubts (biblical, theological, language and other issues), and
  •      c)  Challenging every professing Christian to awake and take up their long neglected obligation to
  •           witness for Christ. 

alt3.  Objective Approach: This also shows the way how to tell the story of God, Christ and man with an objective view. In objective method, a person (separates him/herself from  personal faith) looks at the facts in the Bible as they present themselves, study them with theological reasoning and make conclusions. This is the best way to tell the story of the Bible to those who question the Christian claims to the Bible; because they do so with an objective study, just as we do their texts. Note: A Christian must always tell his story of faith at an appropriate time to impress upon the hearer the power of the work of Christ in the believer’s life (the subjective view).                

[This website is designed on the Objective Method to help the readers develop new skills. There is an essay on the Objective Method at another place in the website.]

BVarieties of Resources

  In the website, following resources would be forthcoming on weekly basis until each topic is completely covered. The content of these resources (coming as topics) would be:

  • a)  Complete Biblical survey, exposition, interpretation, theological reasoning, historical review,
  •       objective overview,          
  • b)  Bible Study: Bible passages; critical topics; theological issues; issues of the Biblical times, etc.
  • c)  Review of ‘methods and strategies of evangelism’ (Christian witnessing),
  • d)  Essays on critical Biblical themes and topics,
  • e)  Treatises and articles.

C.  New Strategies and Skills through Studies and Reviews

Useful strategies and tools for ‘Christian witnessing,’ – Definitions, survey, critique, recommendations:

  • a)  Objective method of approach to  themes (is the standard method),
  • b)  Apologetic method,
  • c)  Skillful (implicit) use of faith concepts of other faiths in  the Christian theme narratives,
  • d)  Conversing with the religious and the educated people of the other faiths – versus conversation
  •      with the rural folks (the less educated and the socially marginalized). Some ‘evangelism’   
  •      scenarios will be viewed.
  • e)  Review of some evangelistic works of the past (history). This includes a few articles on the state
  •      of Christianity at the time of India’s Independence; and the work of Dr. Stanley Jones with
  •      Gandhi and some Indian leaders on the future of Christianity in a new India.

II.   Reasoning

      Why is this material with claim to better strategies for ‘Christian witnessing’?

a) Basically, much of this material addresses the perceptions of the people of other faiths, people of no faith, the agnostics, the skeptics, and the serious seekers of the truth in the Bible.  In this also come their persistent questions on God, God of the Bible, the Bible itself, the Christ, and the Christian necessity to preach;

b) Our own confused strategies of ‘witnessing:’  the traditional evangelism that -

  • i)  Preaches the message of ‘salvation in Christ’ as the summary of its evangelistic work, 
  • ii) Seeks ‘decisions’ from the hearers as the result of hearing the message, and
  • iii) Seeks membership in the church as the final outcome to their effort, or instituting a rural
  •     church if there are enough believers.

c) Many hearers of the gospel still remain skeptical with their questions never adequately answered. Evangelists used standard Bible stories and the story of Christ as their own resource to accomplish the desired outcomes. Supporting this work, evangelists also present many quotations from the Biblical prophecies, references to Christ’s statements on his suffering and death, and affirmative statements in Paul’s letters. With this effort a few may be convinced; yet many remain unconvinced, because, they say, they heard the “same stuff” repeatedly from every Christian preacher.     

d) Life’s pertinent issues are not answered: While the message of ‘salvation in Christ’ is highly appropriate, the issues of life such as poverty, acts of neglect by authorities, suffering, etc., are not answered in the lessons on miracles from the Bible, etc.  They must be addressed.  Treatment of the story of Job is for this purpose.

e) Our lack of sensitivity to the ‘fears’ of people of other faithsat the proposition of changing faith, - having to leave their own faith to embrace a new Christian faith - is a gross omission in evangelism. Tools to learn sensitivity to this major change are needed. Theological reasoning and the theme of the Divine Virtue show how this issue is built into the message we project. 

f)  Methods:  The problem in today’s evangelism is the method.  However phrased, as long as the message comes across as ‘asking for changing their religion’ in favor of a new ‘religion,’ as far as the hearers are concerned, there is a problem. And the problem is our making – ours, as the evangelists; and it is about the method.

Question: Is the purpose of evangelism coming across as call to “change of religion?”

g) We may face negative and hostile responses. The hearers might come up with their own salvation formulas from their religious faiths, or they might chase us out.    Negative climate develops and the whole effort proves counterproductive.  The result?  We the evangelists might proudly claim ‘persecution’ ‘abuse,’ ‘challenges’ and ‘threats’ for the cause of the gospel. Therefore, every Christian witness must spend time to prepare well in all areas of mind, heart and soul before they attempt serious conversation with the people of other faiths.    

III. Methods and Strategies for Today: (as in C above)

      In the mission of witnessing for Christ, following methods may be helpful to understand and satisfactorily address the issues:     

  • a) Objective Study of the Bible,
  • b) ApologeticApproach to explain theological implications,
  • c) TheologicalReasoning to engage the mind of the educated, the religious and the
  •     intellectuals of other religions and faiths, and of no-faith. 
  • d) Ability to concisely and clearly make statements on faith, religious and biblical themes,
  •     religious and liturgical practices, and other events, etc.

IV. Themes and Topics covered in this Series are:

     1.  God – His mind, word and work in theological reasoning:

  •            a) God: The Creator, His Name and Work; the revealed “attributes” by which to know  God and
  •                   His work,
  •            b) God  in human history that the Bible narrates,                                                              
  •        c) God  in the life and work of His Son Jesus Christ,
  •        d) God in the concept and the work of the Kingdom of God,
  •            e) Accountability of human conduct, and God’s Judgment,
  •            f)  God on new earth and heaven in His New Kingdom with Christ,
  •            g) The Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit.

     2.  The Bible:

  •            a)  Overview of God’s work in the Bible,
  •            b)  Continuity of God’s work,
  •            c)  Learning to make concise statement on full themes and biblical accounts,
  •            d)  Addressing ‘idolatry’ in implicit and inoffensive language.         

     3.   Jesus Christ:

  •            a)  Understanding the ‘Being’ of God in Christ in human form; Christ’s ministry, teaching, and some
  •                  complex issues that rose out of them,
  •            b)  The sacrifice of God’s Son: a theological justification,
  •            c)  Expansive meaning of the ‘Cross.’

     4.   The human being’ - man (Gen 5:2):

  •            a) The ‘sinful being’ and the ‘new being’ (exposition of John 3:1-21),
  •            b) Sin.
  •            c) Restoration of the Divine Virtue as the Divine Order in the Creation, and the man.  

     5.  The Church:

  •            a)  The meaning of ‘Church’ (Paul’s exposition) – the “true church,”
  •            b)  The Body of Christ – its implications for Christian witnessing,
  •            b)  Religious faith; faith practice (religion).   

    6.  Christian call to witnessing:

  •            a)  Necessity of Christian witnessing, and scope of the message, 
  •            b)  Understanding ‘witnessing’ in the concept of ‘evangelism.’

    7.  The Kingdom of God (heaven):

  •            a)  Its history through the Bible; definition, the nations and God’s Kingdom,
  •            b)  Understanding its foundational principles,
  •            c)  Kingdom of God as the message of the Gospel,  
  •            d)  Its establishment and culmination in Christ’s teaching and reign.

Recommendation: 

     An effective way of telling the Story of the Bible:   Tell the story as the work of God the Creator who has been at work for mankind consistently and continually since its creation through all its history, and finally through the life of Jesus Christ, - a real person that lived on earth.   And, as for the Bible, - it is not a myth; rather the true record of the living story of God and humanity and of Jesus Christ.

     NoteThese topics and issues could be found in main essays such as, a) The Bible (Understanding the Bible), b) Essays on the themes, c) Bible Studies, d) “Christian Witnessing,” e) Treatises on pertinent issues and topics, which  may come concurrently or in future additions.

  Readers may send their questions, or requests for elucidation of the topics appearing on the website. There won’t be individual correspondence on the subjects. However, issues pertinent to the readers’ concerns and needs would be considered and answered under subject categories  in essay formaton the website’s section – the Reader’s Concerns, -  twice or thrice a month. Exact dates would be announced.

About Path of the Divine Virtue

Some understanding of the term *The Divine Virtue is necessary. The series of articles on Biblical themes, study of the biblical topics (Bible Study), topics on Christian witnessing, theology, understanding the Bible Read More..

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