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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Learning from Evangelicals

Fr. John Whiteford blogs about Evangelicals in response to "It's All About Jesus," an article from Christianity Today written by an Orthodox convert (former Evangelical) who is “reconsidering” Evangelicalism from his experiences so far (about 2 years at that time) in the Orthodox Church. (Hat tip to Fr. Stephen Freeman writing at Pontifications.) From Fr. John comes this a gem:
 I was in a discussion between several college students and a Nazarene Missionary to Korea. We had just heard a lecture that spoke of the light and grace that God has made available to those who have never heard the Gospel. One student asked why we would bother sending missionaries to non-Christian countries, because they have their own culture, and if they hear the Gospel that will only increase their responsibility on the day of judgment. Why not just leave them be, and let them be judged based on the light that they already have? The Missionary responded roughly thus: “You tell me that people can be saved without hearing the Gospel, and I accept that as a possibility… and likewise I can believe that a man might be able to sail a kayak across the Pacific Ocean… but if I am in an Ocean liner, I am going to encourage the guy in the kayak to get on board the Ocean liner.
It may seem to be a case of looking down at the non-Catholic, non-Orthodox or non-Christians, but it isn't. It is not that I would view Peter's barque as something to boast about. I didn't build it, and I am simply so grateful to have been invited on board that I cannot help but want the same grace to be extended to anyone roughing it out there. As Fr. John says, "It would only be due to a supreme lack of love and gratitude to God that I would fail to do so." And in case you're wondering, Peter didn't build it either.

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