Amway without the soap indeed!

For the past few years, Fred Clark over at Slacktivist has been doing an in-depth critique of the book Left Behind by LeHay and Jenkins. I began to read through this review about a month ago and have enjoyed Clark’s analysis, which has covered literary, theological (Clark himself is an evangelical Christian), and political perspectives alike.

Yesterday, I ran across this installment, where Clark takes a step back from the book’s plotlines to discuss one of the concepts touched upon by the book, evangelism, in a broader context. Primarily, he speaks of a shift from evangelism as hospitality to evangelism as a sales pitch, expanding upon a familiar (or at least familiar to anyone who’s been involved in the evangelical Christian community) metaphor:

…it is not “one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread,” but rather one fat man trying to convince another fat man that he’s a beggar in order to close the sale on another loaf.

The rest of of the post goes on to talk about how this approach to evangelism amounts to a sales pitch with little or no product to go with it (in fact, the title of my post references another great comment made by Clark). I highly recommend reading the whole post, as it’s quite insightful.

5 thoughts on “Amway without the soap indeed!”

  1. You are (he is) very right. I actually read the entire LB series, back when I subscribed to that sort of thing. It’s really sad that I used to believe that sort of theology/eschatology. Shudder.

    OK I could say a lot about what I hate about evangelism. Let’s just say I’m an anti-evangelist.

    But I do like Amway detergent 😉

  2. Erin: Don’t get me started on the things I used to believe in that now make me shudder. 😉

    Funny thing about Amway, my parents joined at one time. They eventually get out. They still say that the sad thing is that the detergent is actually quite good. It’s just the marketing structure that’s evil.

  3. I read the article but comments there were closed. I don’t think I see evangelism as either hospitality (though that is a virtue) or a sales pitch. It seems to me that evangelism is the proclamation that Jesus is Lord. There is definitely an element of invitation there, but really a declaration that the domination of the powers and authorities is at an end, sin and death are defeated and the New Heavens/New Earth has been inaugurated in the resurrection of Jesus.

    Boiling it down, “Jesus is Lord” covers what I think the core of the Gospel really is, and it has to be worked out in words and deeds. It certainly shouldn’t be corrupted into convincing “beggars” that they need our “bread.” Of course, that’s exactly what has happened.

    I cringe every time I hear someone ask “are you saved” or “have you been born again?” What do Christians think those words mean to non-Christians? It’s just religious lingo with no connection to anything the vict…er…listener wants to know about.

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