Two New Good News Questions

Isaiah 12:4

Make known his deeds among the nations; proclaim that his name is exalted.

Mark 16:15

Jesus said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.” 

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An intentionally over-processed image of the steeple of what was the first building of First Baptist Church in Cape Girardeau, Missouri

When I was in college I encountered the “Kennedy Method of Evangelism.” Named after Dr. James Kennedy, this method is famous for asking two questions. After getting permission to delve into a personal spiritual matter, we asked, “Have you come to the place in your spiritual life that if you died tonight you know for sure that you would go to heaven?” Most folks we spoke with were hopeful but not sure of their eternal destiny. A second question followed: “If you were to die tonight and stand before God, and he would ask, ‘Why should I let you into my heaven?’ what would you say?” Most would say that they had tried to live a good life. Some would mention Jesus’ death. Others would say they did not know.

Those questions offered us an opportunity to talk about the Good News of Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection; the forgiveness of sins; and God’s free gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. It was a unique means by which we were able to declare the word and works of God.

Those questions, however, seem rather disconnected from today’s affluent, materialistic, assisted-suicide-prone culture. People today often think of death as a friend, and have little care about eternal judgment or life after death. Even many religious people think of life after death as a given, and something to which they give little thought. In today’s thinking, all paths lead to God – however you may define him/it/her.

I think there may be a better question for today’s culture: “Do you think Jesus rules over all things in heaven and on earth?” That would sure open the possibility of conversation about bad and good things, God’s rule, and man’s sin. A second would be, “Would it be a good thing or a bad thing if he ruled your heart?” That would give us an opportunity to talk about personal faith, the goodness of God, and how he rules our hearts (graciously, lovingly, through faith). It would open the door to questions about godly living, loving God and neighbor, mercy, justice, and humility (cf. Micah 6:8).

The command to declare the rule and reign of God among all peoples – the good news of Jesus’ salvation – has not changed. Perhaps these questions could frame some conversations with friends and neighbors, family and co-workers in a new and engaging way.

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