How confident are we in evangelism? What reason do we have to be?

Huw Williams | 22:11, Monday 03 February 2014 | Turin, Italy

In his beautiful little book, "3 Theories of Everything", Ellis Potter discusses three dominant word-views, ways of understanding and interpreting both suffering and salvation - monism, dualism and Trinitarian Christianity. He describes each of these three as "circles", positions - or lenses perhaps - (my metaphor, not his) through which we understand and make sense of life and the world around us. It is a beautifully written and thoughtfully articulated work, which Potter himself sums up as follows:-

"...In the first circle, the original perfection is a total perfect unity and we suffer because we have the illusion of diversity. Salvation is waking up and realizing that unity again. In the second circle, the original perfection is the perfect harmony of equal opposites. We suffer because disharmony or imbalance has come into reality. Salvation is restoring that harmony and balance through various methods and therapies. In the third circle, the original perfection is a unity of three persons who are other-centred in a relational reality of love. We suffer because we have turned things around and have become self-centred dead people. Salvation is God coming into creation and giving Himself in order that people can receive the power to be re-created as other-centred living people.

"What do you think? Where are you?"

One of the most striking features of this work for me is the fact that it is completely lacking in polemical content

This is not a book review, so I'm not even going to attempt to tell you everything I found helpful in these pages, but let me just mention one thing and encourage you to read it for yourself. One of the most striking features of this work for me is the fact that it is completely lacking in polemical content, and Potter makes almost no attempt to even criticise the first two circles. (You won't be surprised to learn that he places himself firmly in the third circle, although he spent a long time in the first, and is able to speak with real authority about it.) Neither does he attempt to knock over straw men. In fact, it seems to me (and admittedly, I'm no expert) as though he makes every attempt to represent the first two circles as faithfully as possible.

This is not to say that what he produces here is a postmodern "who am I to criticise?" piece, far from it. But what is very evident in Potter's view of things, is a complete and profound confidence that for those who can see the third circle clearly, that if they can see the God of the Bible as He presents Himself - and specifically the beauty of His triune nature and relationships - that they will be drawn to Him, and they will simply find the third circle the most incomparably attractive of the three.

All this is a challenge for us - how confident are we that the God we present is simply more attractive than anything else the world can offer, or the human mind can invent?

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