Rachel had a lively discussion over on her blog a week or so ago about an evangelistic tract that was put into her letterbox (see cre8d journal: Spam I am?). The conclusion being that it was more about scaring people into heaven than conveying the richness of the gospel and it’s implications for life now. She posted a scan of the tract and I used it in our house group as a discussion starter on eternal life and what we think the gospel of Jesus Christ encompasses.
Then yesterday I found the following tract from the same crowd blowing around my garden (hence the water damage). This time they’ve gone for the whole demonic figure, fire and skulls (on the back) to convince people to pray the prayer on the back and avoid hell. Do it now – you may not have another chance!
Now salvation does mean being saved from something. But it also means being saved into something – eternal life. And that is, to borrow a slogan, “life before death” – Being part of the community of the children of God, seeing the Kingdom of God at hand and being part of the new life that proclaims in word and action freedom for the oppressed, healing of the broken and restoration of relationships with God and others. It’s not just about buying a ticket to heaven for when we die – otherwise why did Jesus spend so much time changing people’s situations in life, physically and socially, instead of just reassuring then that it would be all right in the end.
So when I see something like the above tract I feel many things: Sad, angry, upset, disturbed. Christ is both saviour (the giver of new life now) and judge of all things. We need to hold onto both.
There’s a good reflection on this last comment in the latest Sojourners Magazine: The Hungry Spirit: Damnation Will Not be Televised