In my previous two posts (“The New Testament Scripture and the Proclamation of the Gospel” and “The Gospels and Acts and the Proclamation of the Gospel“), I’ve looked into examples of Jesus and his first follower when they proclaimed the gospel to unbelievers.
I summarized what I’ve found so far like this: “Those proclaiming the gospel made a concise statement without getting into much explanation or argumentation. Then, they waited for their audience to respond. For those who responded positively or with interest, they spent more time explaining and teaching.”
Now, I’m still studying this, and it’s possible that I will completely change my mind about this. However, if I’m correct about the examples that we see in the Gospels and in the Book of Acts, then there are some implications about how we proclaim the gospel today.
First, we don’t distinguish between the “crowds” (to use the term found in the Gospels) and those who show genuine interest in following Jesus.
Second, because of this, I think we typically spend too much time and energy explaining the details of the good news to people who are not interested – trying to talk them into accepting something, which is not our responsibility.
Third, all of this works well with a goal toward helping all people follow Jesus – without forcing them into anything – in other words, it’s all discipleship, focusing more on those who are actually disciples or who are moving toward being disciples without neglecting others.
Fourth, there is not a minimum amount of information that must be shared or explained in order to proclaim the gospel.
Finally, if we want someone to ask questions concerning the gospel (instead of trying to provide all the answers), then knowing something about the person and where they are in life is extremely important and part of proclaiming the gospel.
There are other implications, I’m sure. What other implications would you add to this list (assuming that I’m right about the examples we find in the Gospels and Acts)?