The Messenger and His Message

from Christ of the India Road

by E. STANLEY JONES (1884-1973)

God called Dr. Jones to reach the intelligensia of India. The following is a summary of the strategy that God gave him:

Traditional Methods of Approach

There were three methods of approach to reaching the unsaved at the time the Lord called me to evangelize India.

(1) The old method of attacking the weaknesses of other religions and then trying to establish your own on the ruins of the other.

(2) The method to show how Christianity fulfills the ancient faiths--a vast improvement on the old method.

(3) The method of starting with a general subject of interest to all, and then ending up with a Christian message and appeal.

A Better Approach--Give them Jesus

I felt instinctively that there should be a better approach than any of these three. So I layed down the following principles.

(1) Be absolutely frank--there should be no camouflage in hiding one's meaning or purpose by noncomittal subjects. The audience must know exactly what it is coming to hear.

(2) Announce beforehand that there is to be no attack upon anyone's religion. If there is any attack in it, it must be by the positive presentation of Christ. He himself must be the attack. That would mean that kind of an attack may turn in two directions--upon us as well as upon them. He would judge both of us. This would tend to save us from feelings and attitudes of superiority , so ruinous to Christian work.

(3) Allow them to ask questions at the close--face everything and dodge no difficulties.

(4) Get the leading non-christians of the city where the meetings are held to become chairmen of our meetings.

(5) Christianity must be defined as Christ, not the Old Testament, not Western civilization, not even the system built around Him in the West, but Christ himself--and to be a Christian is to follow Him.

(6) Christ must be interpreted in terms of Christian experience rather than through mere argument.

I dropped the term "Christianity" from my announcements (it isn't found in the Scriptures, is it?). Center everything in Jesus.The straight forward, open proclamation of Jesus is the best method. Paul believed this , for he says, "I disown those practices which very shame conceals from view; I do not go at it craftily, I do not falsify the word of God; I state the truth openly and so commend myself to every man's conscience in the sight of God...It is Christ Jesus as Lord, not myself, that I proclaim"(2 Cor. 4:2-5, Moffat).

Mackintosh writes in The Originailty of the Christian Message, "The Christian propaganda failed or prospered in proportion as the fresh data for religion present in Jesus were studiously concealed or openly proclaimed. Take Paul's address at Athens... at no point did he pubically give a distinctive Christian message. In this studied omission of the cross is the secret of his comparative failure at Athens and his change at Corinth. He writes, 'I determined to no nothing among you save Jesus Christ and him crucified' "(2 Cor. 2:12).

Jesus and the soul are made for one another, and when they are brought together deep speaks to deep and wounds answer wounds. And it must be a Christ as fresh and living as the one that greeted Mary at the empty tomb on that first Easter morning. We are not there to give them a theological system. Jesus is the gospel--He himself is the good news. Men went out in those early days and

preached Jesus and the resurrection--a risen Jesus.

We believe that "God is Jesus everywhere" and Jesus is God here--the human life of God. If God thinks in terms of little children as Jesus did, cares for the leper, the outcaste, and the blind, and if his heart is like that gentle heart that broke upon the cross, then he can have my heart without reservation and without question.

The greatest news that has ever been broken to the human race is the news that God is like Christ. And the greatest news we can break to that non-Christian world is just that--that the God whom you have dimly realized, but about whose character you are uncertain, is like Christ.

Answers for the Questioners

When I began to throw open my meeting in India for questions I knew I was inviting disaster for the Hindu intellect is quite as good as ours and he loves argument. Besides the possiblity of having everything you said upset by questions, questions can change the quiet atmospherere to one of beligerancy. Nevertheless, I felt we should face everything fairly and dodge no issue.

I would not have dared to do it had I not been given in the very beginning of this work a verse that has seemed my very own: "And when they shall deliver you up before kings and governors for my name's sake for a testimony unto them, be not anxious what you shall speak, for it shall be given you in that hour what you shall speak, for it is not you that speak, but the spirit of your Father which speaks in you" (Matt. 10:17-20). That assurance was sufficient for me. I believed it. I could do nothing less.

This keeps you in a good humor, because God has promised to do the job. To lose one's temper would be to lose one's case, for we are not there to win arguments but to win men. I have been cross-examined by as many as thrity lawyers at one time trying for hours to beat down the evidence. But my verse has been true. I cannot remember a single situation where it has failed me.

One night a man asked, "Can you put your finger on a verse where Jesus calls himself the Son of God? Not where his disciples or someone else called him that, but where he himself did." I couldn't remember where there was such a passage. I turned to my New Testament with a prayer to find that verse.

As I opened it, the first verse my eyes fell upon was an entirely different one from the one I was looking for, the one where Jesus met the man whom he had healed and asked him if he believed on the Son of God. The man replied, "Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?" Jesus replied, "You have both seen him, and He is the one who is speaking to you" (John 9:34-37). They never knew the quiet little miracle God had performed for me. But I knew and thanked him.

Passing on Your Knowledge of Him

When Elijah stood upon Mount Carmel he made this the test: "The God that answers by fire let him be God." The test of the surviving God is now different. We say, "The God that answers by producing radiant healed men let him be God." When I first began my ministry, I thought I was called to be God's lawyer and make a brilliant case for Him. But I learned that I was not to be His lawyer but His witness. That would mean that there would have to be living communion with Christ so that there would always be something to pass on.

Religion is the life of God in the soul issuing in the kingdom of God on earth. But first of all it is the life of God in the soul. The early disciples had little ritual but a mighty realization. They went out not remembering Christ, but realizing him. They did not merely call Him back into memory, they communed with Him in the deeps. He was not a mere fair and beautiful story to remember with gratitude--He was a living redemptive, actual Presence then and there. They went out with the joyous and grateful cry,"Christ liveth in me!"They were almost irresistible for they brought certainty into that uncertain world. India is reading the Bible and wanting to know if our Christianity is like that.


john_bevere.jpg"The most successful churches and ministries I have seen today are reaching out to raise up the youth. Bob and Rose Weiner are having a direct impact on the next generation and youth all over the world are being trained to be leaders and world changers for Christ. Through their ministry, you will be charged and encouraged to reach out to the ‘sons and daughters’ spoken of by the Prophet Joel."

--John Bevere - Author / Speaker - Messenger International

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