In a world driven by emotion and experience, it can feel discouraging to hold in our hands the timeless truth of the gospel.
It need not be—there are multitudinous ways to communicate Jesus Christ in a postmodern culture, but here are 12 I feel the church especially needs to focus on in the decades ahead:
1. The rhetoric of logic.
“Logic!” said the professor, half to himself. “Why don’t they teach logic at these schools?” So writes C.S. Lewis, a man born bristling against logical exactitude, but who would later credit his tutor with forcing him to back up every phrase with a logical argument.
In a society that doesn’t think about how to think, Christians have a distinct advantage: We believe in the inherent logic of the universe of a reasonable God, and so have impetus to understand and use the laws of logic for ourselves.
2. The rhetoric of story.
Ninety percent of scripture is story; is 90 percent of preaching?
I’ll never forget reading secular mythologist Joseph Campbell’s musings on religion and how the power of story has been lost in the church. “If only they knew the power they held right at their fingertips!” he exclaimed.
The church—the preserver of story—has somehow sacrificed the ability to tell the story with a desire to chop it up and dish it out in bite-sized chunks. We need to recover the ability to be story-tellers; to spin a tale more true and tantalizing than the world’s story of, “Be educated, work, have a family, die and be yourself.”
3. The rhetoric of holiness.
Martyn Lloyd Jones remarks in his book The Sermon on the Mount that if Christians would simply recover Jesus’ path of holiness laid out in those words, the church would set the world ablaze with the love of God.
Because we’ve divorced salvation from sanctification, and have preached a gospel of “cheap grace,” we’ve lost the beauty of holiness that is so essential to communicate the rigor and life of the gospel.