Christ calls the church to be His witnesses to the world. But so often the church is anything that resembles a faithful witness to Christ. Instead of being what Karl Barth said the church is to be, "the proclaimer and the hearer of the divine Word," we tend to be nothing more than a clanging gong. In order to engage society, we must remember life is relational, we were created for relationship, and as Dr. Paul Louis Metzger writes in his latest book, "Connecting Christ: How to Discuss Jesus in a World of Diverse Paths", "as Christ's people we, must continually seek to engage people relationally--case by case, and not in some fixed, packaged manner. There is more than one way to talk about Jesus, given who he is and given that we live in a world of diverse paths."
In Connecting Christ, Metzger, like the Apostle Paul (strange coincidence!), presents a wonderful way to imitate in our witness of Christ to the world. And while we live in a world of diverse paths, Connecting Christ presents a Christocentric path of evangelism and dialogue so as to be faithful to the way of Christ--a way drenched in His incarnational love. The book is broken into four sections - beginning appropriately with a look into the "relational-incarnational" approach to our theological endeavors. Our approach to evangelism and apologetics, if it is to be true to a Biblical foundation, does include rational discussion of God and His truths exposed throughout the Bible. This approach does contain some "in your face" times because it involves sharing life--both the good and the bad. In the end though, a relational approach to apologetics bears witness to the good news of Jesus Christ through a willingness to dialogue and share life together.
Staying true to a relational-incarnational approach, Metzger proceeds in section II to interact and dialogue with different traditions, i.e. Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Universalism, Mormonism, and then in section III he discusses hot topics, i.e. pluralism, hell, science & faith, homosexuality & marriage. Section IV offers a brilliant and unexpected way of turning things upside down. Instead of allowing for a response from proponents of the differing traditions discussed in section II, and then offering a rebuttal, Metzger does the exact opposite as he gives the "other" the last word. In this last section Metzger faithfully honors a relational approach to apologetics in the most fitting way - giving the respondents of the different traditions discussed in section II the last word.
The book ends with an essential word when it comes to our theology and apologetics, and that word is prayer. As Metzger writes, "Prayerful witness is where apologetics moves beyond head games to the heartfelt connection." Through prayer our witness is profoundly elevated, by the Spirit, so as to allow us to connect the world to Christ. For those who love Jesus and have been consumed by His incarnational love, and want to grow in their witness of Christ to the world, Connecting Christ is a brilliant resource that will not disappoint.
5 people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?