Worldview “Noisy” Neighborhoods

In the North America “Leave it to Beaver” world of the 1950s, it was just assumed that all the neighbors were church-going folks who took their kids to Sunday school where they were taught Bible stories and memorized the ten commandments and the Golden Rule. While that was an unrealistic portrayal of American family life even for that time, today we might feel fortunate just to have one other Bible-believing Christian in our neighborhood. In a previous article, the issue of “worldview noise”... 

One Gospel – Three Worldviews

The gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed within pluralistic societies—it’s not a new phenomenon. But for many churches in North America, it’s a new challenge. The apostles Peter and Paul faced this challenge and there are lessons we can learn from their experiences. For many of us, God has brought the “mission field” into our neighborhoods and all around our churches. The choice of how we respond is up to us, ranging from Christian xenophobia (fear or dislike of people whose worldviews and cultures are not like ours) to Great Commission vision. It can often feel intimidating or out of place to have a faith-based conversation with someone whose worldview differs from our own. But understanding different worldviews and knowing how to start an evangelistic conversation with an individual whose faith views are not aligned with ours can reduce the level of intimidation. “Sharing God’s story of hope in a world of competing faiths and cultures” is one of the defining taglines of Good Soil Evangelism and Discipleship. And it is rooted in precedent-setting examples found in the book of Acts. 

The Problem of Gospel Static

Imagine a phone call with a lot of static (“noise”) on the line—so much that you are only understanding part of what you hear. That’s what the gospel of Jesus Christ can sound like to people whose worldviews are strongly influenced by non-Biblical belief systems. We call this problem “worldview noise.” And if we do not understand the worldview noise in our communication of the gospel and do not find a way to penetrate it with clarity, our evangelistic efforts will likely produce spurious fruit. There are two reasons why unbelievers do not understand the gospel. The first is something that all unbelievers everywhere have in common, to the same 100% degree—spiritual blindness. And only the Holy Spirit can lift this veil and open an unbeliever’s understanding of the gospel. But the second reason for not understanding varies greatly from unbeliever to unbeliever. It’s worldview noise. Depending on the types of spiritual influences in a person’s earlier life, his or her worldview noise may be very dense or not dense at all or somewhere in-between. 

Initial Contact or Relational Evangelism—or Both?

How quickly should we encourage an unbeliever to make a faith response to trust Jesus as Savior? In our initial evangelistic contact with this person? Or, should we wait until we have had multiple opportunities to explain truths related to the gospel? The Good Soil Evangelism and Discipleship Scale can help us answer these questions in a way that we can be relatively confident that we are planting God’s Word in “good soil.” 

Gospel Receptivity – From Closed to Open

A lot of people who understand the gospel of Jesus Christ are not receptive to it—not open to embracing it. And many who do not understand the gospel clearly are very receptive to it—are eager to know more, with an openness to possibly embracing it. Only God knows the human heart. But if we had a “tool” to help us assess where an unbeliever is in his or her receptivity to the gospel, as well as understanding of it, that could be a very valuable instrument to use in personal evangelism. The Good Soil Evangelism and Discipleship Scale was created to be that kind of tool. The Good Soil Scale is two-dimensional. The vertical dimension addresses understanding. The horizontal dimension addresses receptivity. 

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