Why would anyone think an itinerant preacher from 2,000 years ago would be relevant today? Assume for a second you don’t believe in the resurrection of Jesus. What did his age know of nuclear weapons, space exploration, and microchip computers? Many would say that if such a preacher wants to speak for today, his followers will need to translate and update his message.
But that’s not Becky Pippert’s view. Her new book, Stay Salt, argues that while the world has changed, our message must not. Pippert, author of the bestselling 1979 book Out of the Saltshaker, doesn’t see any lack of interest or response to the gospel. Rather, she sees Christians scared to tell others about Jesus. If instead we assume people want to engage in spiritual conversations, Becky says, and we ask God to show us where he’s working and open doors to tell others about Jesus, he will. She recommends we balance confidence with sensitivity.
I think Becky’s also correct when she writes, “I wonder if the verbal aspect of evangelism has to be re-learned as an active choice and a sacrificial commitment.” Is that because social-justice causes and acts of mercy have become popular, but evangelism is not? I suspect so.
When Becky wrote her famous 1979 book, readers learned the benefits of a relational context for evangelism. “Now,” Becky told me in this episode of Gospelbound, “we’re much stronger on the importance of relationship, but we’re much, much weaker on truth, especially any verbal expression. We think we must live the gospel, but not proclaim the gospel.”
Becky advocates for the necessity of both. And that message hasn’t changed in 2,000 years.
“We must live out the gospel by who we are and what we do. But we must not assume that by seeing what I do, they’re going to catch on.”
The Gospel Coalition