Tuesday is for Preaching
This may upset some people.
Jesus went to synagogues. Paul went to synagogues. All the evidence is that the apostles all took the gospel message to synagogues first. Jesus went to the open fields, to boats, to houses, to wells, stopped in the midst of crowds. Paul went to river sides, to places “where he was supposing some people to be,” (Acts 16), to Mars Hill. But both Jesus and Paul went first to the synagogues of their time.
There are theological reasons for this (Acts 18:15; Romans 1:16, 2:10), but I think there are also strategic and pragmatic reasons as well. At the synagogue, Jesus and the apostles knew that there was a core of people who had a worldview formed by a lifelong exposure to the Scriptures. It may have been corrupted and crowded by rabbinic midrashic commentary, but there was still a kernel of revelation upon which gospel narrative could be built and understood.
Many liberal churches today are similar. In fact, in many of them there is more Scripture read in the services than is typically read in more conservative, supposedly Bible-believing churches. There will typically be a call to worship from the psalms, an OT reading, a NT reading, a gospel reading. True the message may be filled with much that undercuts the authority of the Bible but the word of God still is heard and has power not fettered by the speaker.
Hypothesis: “Many “liberal,” mainline churches are a 21st Century equivalent to first century synagogues.”
If the hypothesis is true, …
- how can modern evangelists and announcers of the kingdom get an audience in 21st century “liberal” churches and synagogues?
- Is this an avenue that church planters and churches have not attempted, simply because it is hard?
- If it was the model of Jesus and Paul, how can we dismiss such a strategy without much prayer and thought and significant biblical warrant?