The Impossibility of Evangelical Witness

Monday is for Discussion


“Jesus’s teaching consistently attracted the irreligious while offending the Bible-believing, religious people of his day. However, in the main, our churches today do not have this effect. The kind of outsiders Jesus attracted are not attracted to contemporary churches, even our most avant-garde ones. We tend to draw conservative, button-down, moralistic people. The licentious and liberated or the broken and marginal avoid church. That can only mean one thing. If the preaching of our ministers and the practice of our parishioners do not have the same effect on people that Jesus had, then we must not be declaring the same message that Jesus did. If our churches aren’t appealing to younger brothers, they must be more full of elder brothers than we’d like to think.” (bold emphasis added)

Tim Keller, The Prodigal God, p. 15-16.


  • How can we have “dinner parties” that equally upset the “overly religious” elder brothers in our midst?
  • Doesn’t this parable (Luke 15) point to the impossibility of evangelicals being effective for Christ without a daily heart-transplant that starts with repentance and joy in the Gospel?
  • How do we remain vigilant to our tendency to morph into “elder brother” attitudes as we serve the Living God?

“Oh God, give us the heart of the prodigal when ‘he came to himself’ (vs 17). Fill our hearts with humility as we boldly proclaim the way of truth. Make us like our Savior so that those who see us see You. Amen.”

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