Continuing discussion.

EPS Blog

This is the blog area for the Evangelical Philosophical Society and its journal, Philosophia Christi.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Holding Forth a Compelling Vision for Life

Suppose you go to Wal-Mart to buy a microwave oven. What is it that you want? You might think that you want an inexpensive appliance, or that you want one that fits in the corner of your counter, under your kitchen cabinet. Actually, those are not the things you want. What you want is hot coffee and popped popcorn. You are willing to buy a microwave because you want those things. You want to be able to put a cold cup of coffee into it and take a hot cup out. You want to defrost frozen chicken or to put un-popped popcorn in and take out popped popcorn.

Now suppose a salesperson approached you in order to persuade you to choose a particular model. What would she do? One thing she would not do is take out the little booklet that you find in the bottom of the box, turn to the back and explain the schematic to you. The schematic is the diagram with the kind of symbols only engineers understand. It explains what sort of mechanism the particular model has. The mechanism is extremely important. It is what makes the microwave work. The salesperson does not explain it to you, however, because she knows that you do not care about those details. You want a microwave that will heat your coffee.

In thinking about microwaves, I have raised two questions. Although, I raised them in reverse order, they ought to be asked as follows. First, what makes a microwave work? Second, what does a person want such that he might buy it? Notice that with microwaves, the answers to these questions are nearly always distinct. What motivates someone to buy a microwave has little to do with what makes it work.

Now think about the Gospel. Let's ask the same questions. First, what makes the Gospel work? What is its mechanism, so to speak? Second, what is that people want such that they might turn and accept the Gospel? These two questions ought to raise others as well. Do we hold forth the Gospel as a compelling vision for life or do we explain the schematic? Are these incompatible? I will off some thoughts later. Stay tuned! In the meantime, here are other parts in my current blog series.

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