*** DEBUG END ***

Words and actions that witness to Christ

13 November 2015


From Canon Gerald Osborne

Sir, — You seem to dismiss the report Talking Jesus too lightly in your leader comment (6 November). For instance, you say that “the concept of demonstrating the love of Christ through action and pastoral care might be a more effective form of evangelism than speaking about Christ appears to be.”

The secular press, and Andrew Brown (Press), have made much of the number of non-Christians who seem to be put off. But is that not what the parable of the sower is all about? I would like to draw your attention to some other statistics that emerge.

First, of practising Christians, 44 per cent credit their friends for introducing them to Jesus. Second, while only 21 per cent of those surveyed thought that Jesus was “God in human form who lived among people in the 1st Century,” 60 per cent thought he was a real person and 47 per cent either a normal human being or a prophet or spiritual leader.

As well as this, having spoken to a practising Christian, nearly one in five (19 per cent) of non-Christians wanted to know more about Jesus, and 23 per cent felt more positive about him, while more than half (53 per cent) felt it a comfortable experience (against only 32 per cent who felt uncomfortable). To me, this enforces the imperative for us all to continue to tell people who Jesus really is.

If we just shut up because of the 80 per cent who might not be receptive at the moment, that will be a great disservice to the one in five who want to know more, and an even greater disservice to Christ himself. “Demonstrating the love of Christ through action and pastoral care” is undoubtedly important, as seen in the generally positive way in which practising Christians are regarded by non-Christians, according to the report. Deep faith and relationship come, however, when you know who Jesus really is. Why follow someone who is just human, or merely a spiritual leader?

I hope that the General Synod will take this report seriously and debate how best we can equip our fellow Christians with the tools, courage, and sensitivity to enthuse their friends at appropriate times about Jesus, our living Lord.

Lower Farm House
Milton Lilbourne
Pewsey SN9 5LQ

Letters to the editor

Letters for publication should be sent to letters@churchtimes.co.uk.

Letters should be exclusive to the Church Times, and include a full postal address. Your name and address will appear alongside your letter.

Train-a-Priest Fund 2022 Appeal

Please consider a donation to TAP Africa this year. Every penny you can give goes to ordinands in Africa who face financial difficulty, to support them as they complete their training. 

Donate online

Read more about this year's appeal

Forthcoming Events

24 May 2022
Disability and Church: Intersectionality
A joint webinar from HeartEdge and Church Times.

2 July 2022
Bringing Down the Mighty: Church, Theology and Structural Injustice
With Anthony Reddie, Azariah France-Williams, Mariama Ifode-Blease, Luke Larner, Will Moore, Stewart Rapley and Victoria Turner.

More events

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)