Christian leaders often lament the rate at which young people are leaving the church, but few seem to have noticed that many of those who do stay have accepted a non-orthodox version of the Christian message.
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Every important action you will ever take is based on one of only two human motivations: fear and aspiration.
That’s according to marketing guru Seth Godin, who might as well be talking about the Christian gospel. Over the years Evangelicals have yo-yoed between positive and negative motivations as the basis for our message.
The old gospel, the one ante-millennials cut their teeth on, was based on fear—the fear of hell.
The new gospel, the one we began using sometime in the 1990s, appeals to an aspiration—personal well-being or success.
Is one better or worse?
Actually, both are wrong. It’s time to return to the other gospel, the one Jesus preached.
Lifestyle evangelism, aka friendship evangelism, is a strategy for making converts by living an attractive life among non-Christians so they will be drawn to the gospel and want to know more about Jesus.
This strategy has been popular since the 1990s, and most Evangelicals would probably say that they share their faith primarily by building relationships with nonbelievers.
Of course, lifestyle evangelism works only if your lifestyle is distinctively Christian. Otherwise, it’s just networking.
Heaven tourism books were pulled from LifeWay Christian Resources this week. The Christian retail giant will no longer carry titles like 90 Minutes in Heaven, Heaven Is for Real, and The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven.
The latter book caused a stir when its subject and coauthor, Alex Malarkey, admitted that he lied about having a vision of heaven as a 6-year-old.
So that’s that. Another Evangelical blockbuster bites the dust.