Sunday, July 14, 2013

What They Need to Hear

by Klemet I. Preus

A couple months ago there was a meme running on the social networking site Twitter. People were posting the hashtag #FourWordBible, along with a four word statement. Some people took the instructions metaphorically, using their four words to declare a general philosophy: "Be real with me", "Do not trust easily", "Spread love, practice peace." Others treated the meme as a joke, posting things like: "Bears, Beets, Battlestar Galactica", "Chatty snake ruins everything", or "Thou shall not hashtag." Unfortunately, the majority of people took the opportunity to slam Christianity: "Price list for SLAVES", "Most Sold Fiction Novel", "Crowd Control R Us."

sigh... There's a lot of misinformed people out there. Not that there aren't legitimate complaints against us Christians. But I have to wonder if some of those critics have even heard the story of Jesus before. Of course, that just makes me wonder if I'm doing my job in telling the story to those around me. Which, in turn, makes me think of my shortcomings in doing that job. How can I do better?

What They Need to Hear struck me as being a useful tool for that. This book is not a how-to manual for evangelism, but rather a case study in witnessing. In 2006, Pastor Preus thought his father-in-law was on his death bed. A conversation with Lloyd revealed that he had serious doubts and misconceptions about his salvation. Pastor Preus started to answer Lloyd's questions, address his errors, and offer him the comfort and power of the Gospel. Because Lloyd's imminent death took 18 months, Rev. Preus was able to gather a book's worth of letters to share with others.

I found the book to be beneficial on two levels. One is the simple content that Rev. Preus shared with Lloyd, a combination of apologetics and catechesis. The other is the chance to watch the interaction between Rev. Preus and his father-in-law. The thread of witness didn't follow a pre-planned pattern, but rather reacted to Lloyd's questions and events in his life. I think it's a good book to read and tuck away in the back of my brain, to await the day when I encounter a "Lloyd" in my own life.

 I just had to check it out and pass it on.
LibraryThing link


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