Monday, August 24, 2009

Preaching to Unbelief

Preaching to Unbelief (PTU) is different to Preaching to Belief (PTB). Here's a few of the differences:

1. PTB is to confirm what Christians already know so we feel affirmed in our belief system. PTU is to raise questions about the dilemmas of life.
2. PTB protects us from the world. Sundays fill us with resolve to withstand the world's evil. PTU calls us to engage the world, looking for the ways God is entering into the world.
3. PTB begins with statements. PTU begins with questions.

Just a few ideas to throw out. Give me yours as I explore this topic.


James Wood said...

Lately I've been trying to communicate that Christians need to live in a state of unbelief. We will never have the opportunity to engage people about their beliefs if we aren't willing to engage our own.

To put it another way: we have to admit that we might be wrong and they might be right. When we start there, we can get a hearing for the message of the gospel. To paraphrase Bart: the lion doesn't need us to defend him.

I think new Christians need to hang out with belief for a while. They've just changed their worldview and they need some stability. So PTB is good for a new believers class. However, we try to keep Christians there instead of discipling them to a place where they can dwell with the tensions of unbelief.

We can't start PTU until that is where we live, both individually and as the body. We might be wrong. We might not have it all figured out. We might need to change. And that's OK. Let's engage in conversation about our mutual unbelief.

James Wood said...

I found this blog post from Revolution (Jay Bakker's church plant) about an atheist coming to church:

Seems to be right on track with what you're looking at.

Travis said...

I recently finished reading "Jim and Casper go to Church" about an atheist and believer who go to churches around the country and write about their experiences. The book makes you think about the way that we do church and the way that those things come across to people that are not from the church culture... I think it makes you want to rethink the way you do things and be intentional in the way that we present and say things.

There are so many different things that happen when you place yourself in situations with unbelievers. There is something to be said about being taken out of your comfort zone or the complacent attitude that can come from surrounding yourself all the time with believers.