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Evangelism from the Psalms

I'd love to do a whole pile of teaching on evangelism from the Psalms.  But right now I've only got time for a sentence.

Evangelism Psalms-style means joyfully declaring the true LORD of this world and His mighty deeds.

In other words it is praise.  And conversion happens when they join in.

We can get so distracted by 'relevance' and 'reason' and 'human response'.  But we actually scratch all these itches in a far more satisfactory way if we pass over them directly and devote ourselves to the central task.  We say "Let me tell you the happy news of the true God of this world - this active, praiseworthy, saving LORD."

And it's not so much about explaining how to be saved but how He has saved.

They are saved when they find themselves caught up in this act of worship.


0 thoughts on “Evangelism from the Psalms

  1. Dave K

    ... doxological evangelism? (to nick, and slightly redefine, Ed Clowney's phrase).

    I'm increasingly feeling that evangelism has to be like you describe. Otherwise God is just an object in the room and not God.

    But your point is equally helpful. If evangelism isn't "psalm-style" its also presenting indicating self-salvation.

    Of course the difficulty then is that you can't fake that attitude towards God, so the issue becomes not just "how can I explain this clearly?", but "how can I personally worship God for what I'm talking about?"

  2. chris oldfield

    true dat.
    I take it you mean has saved in the sense of has saved us? 1 peter 2 style, "that you may delare the praises/excellencies of him who called you out of darkness, into his marvellous light"?

    or do you mean how he has saved them?

    it sounds from your "they are saved when they are caught up in this act of worship" like you're saying that we proclaim the mighty saving acts of God (the gospel), but the problem is that "Psalms style" praise already has a congregation, a context, a covenant: they are the people of God, whether they believe it or not. They exist as a nation because God called his people out of Egypt etc...

    I guess that's why Adam is important (Acts 17, Rom 5), but I struggle doctrinally on this - for grace to be grace how do you present this without tacit universalism or hypercalvinism? likewise, I love the invitation of marriage, that God has said to us in Christ, "all that I am I give to you, all that I have, I share with you", but to whom does he say that? To all? then it is not an effectual speech act ("I now pronounce you man in christ"). If not to all, then to whom? Who is the "to us" in that sentence?

    I have an inkling that we'd want to say "God raised Jesus from dead", "God saved Jesus from decay", "God saved Jesus from the curse/sin", "God justified & glorified Jesus"... and we connect to him through faith, but in that case, it seems that the new perspective stuff/federal vision ideas come in. (perhaps that's not too bad) - but none the less, how do you connect the gospel to individuals (if they exist)?

    real question. I'd appreciate any help/pointers/advice, cheers c

  3. Glen

    Big question! I feel it every time I preach.

    Best I can do for now is throw out three Scriptures that spring to mind and see what others think.

    First, to keep the Psalms thing going, I'd quote 106:

    "4 Remember me, O LORD, when you show favour to your people, come to my aid when you save them, 5 that I may enjoy the prosperity of your chosen ones, that I may share in the joy of your nation and join your inheritance in giving praise."

    This is very much a "He has saved *them*" set-up. The LORD has a blessed body and the psalmist wants in. So you can proclaim the saving LORD and the individual is called into the saved people through the gospel.

    When we think of how Paul sometimes preaches about the saved body, think how cosmic he goes in 2 Cor 5 where he says "God has reconciled the *world* to Himself in Christ, now be reconciled." ie be a member of the world which God has saved. It's quite possible (although completely absurd) to remain unreconciled because the gospel message that goes out is: "Be reconciled." It's a perfect passive imperative - be acted upon by this cosmic salvation.

    This whole passage holds together strands that I can almost never keep together in my thinking let alone my ministry philosophy, still less in my actual preaching.

    The last passage is Rom 1:16 - the gospel *is* the power of God for salvation. Declaring the gospel is not just about reporting on salvation but extending it. God the Spirit applies the salvation of God the Son through the word.

    Again I haven't put all this together in my thinking as clearly as I'd like but I think this means that there is a deep link between the redeemed of the Word and the hearers of the word. They are by no means identical but if the Spirit works through the word and if the gospel is the power of God for salvation then there are realities a preacher can declare in the gospel and trust to the Lord to make good.

    I think we're essentially talking about the same thing here as when a minister baptises a child and pronounces certain promises over them.

    But that really is another post...

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