Brothers and Sisters,
Thank you so much for your enthusiastic welcome to me in my new role as part time evangelist with St Thomas’s. Your kind words are much appreciated and your prayers even more so. It’s a good motto to under promise and overachieve, rather than over promise and under achieve! I make no promises except to work with you in seeking to communicate Christ.
I have a wee confession to make. One of my favourite writers and thinkers is a French Catholic. He was a writer, philosopher, scientist and mathematician. He invented the world’s first working computer, vacuum cleaner and public transport system! He died aged 39 after a long and painful illness. He was at first a nominal Christian then had an incredible conversion experience. He is considered too Catholic to be Protestant, and too Protestant to be Catholic. I am speaking of course of Blaise Pascal. His Pensées are one of the classics of world literature. His understanding of modern human nature (though he lived in the 17th century) is magnificent.
He suggested that there should be an order in our evangelism – and its one suggestion I seek to follow –
“Men despise religion. They hate it and are afraid it may be true. The cure for this is first to show that religion is not contrary to reason, but worthy of reverence and respect. Next make it attractive, make good men wish it were true, and then show it is.”
Respect, beauty, truth. What Pascal is saying is that we need to communicate the truth, beauty and goodness of Christ. That is why in the Hope Cyber Café that we plan to begin on the 15th of June (7pm) – our focus will be on Christ. How can they believe in Christ unless they hear about Christ? Each week we are going to look at who Christ is using a chapter of Magnificent Obsession – a book which was written to introduce postmodern people to the real Jesus. We will be putting this out live and recording it. If you would like to come along to the live event in the church (the limit will be 20 people) then write and let me know ASAP – or if you have any ideas and want to help email@example.com
The first resource I want to mention this week is St Thomas’s own Christians Engaging Culture. The podcast and the work this group does is excellent. Make use of it. cec.st-thomas.org.au
The second is this classic clip from a young John Piper….for many people this challenge from Piper was life changing….youtu.be/mfpmbmsvu3A
Finally, you might like to have a copy of Magnificent Obsession (I hope to give away!). You can get it from the usual sources – The Wandering Bookseller, Koorong, Amazon and Booktopia have copies in stock.
Keep praying. I leave you with this thought from Peter Kreeft, commenting on Pascal, “Christianity is not a hypothesis, it is a proposal of marriage”.
May the Lord richly bless you all,
Yours in Christ