Wednesday, July 24, 2013

This week's lesson: I Peter 3:13-16

Ron Sider once noted that effectiveness and validity are two separate issues.

There's nothing wrong, for instance, with setting up a low-power radio station in Lincoln City that broadcasts in Mongolian . . . but given the lack of Mongolians on the Oregon Coast, it probably won't get much in the way of results.

Such a radio station would be valid, in other words, but ineffective.

Likewise, paying people to join the Lincoln City SDA Church would probably get lots of results . . . but it would also get me fired (and rightly so).

Paying people to join a church, in other words, would be effective, but invalid -- in fact, it's just plain wrong.

Other examples come to mind -- though some may not be so clear-cut.
  • Evangelistic brochures with scary pictures? Effective . . . but maybe not so valid.
  • Evangelistic brochures with nice pictures? Valid . . . but maybe not so effective.
  • Mass-mailing Ellen White books to the general public? Valid . . . but even though this wasn't the intent, I'd suspect its major effect has been to subsidize our publishing houses.
  • Paying people to attend an evangelistic series? The people who've tried this have told me it's effective . . . but I can't help but feel this is about as valid as paying someone to go on a date with you.
And what of the suggestion in the text for this week -- the suggestion that we live the kind of lives that make people ask questions, and give them gentle and respectful answers when they do?



And effective?

Try it, and find out!

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