Ambassador’s Alliance Radio vs. Jon Reid

June 27, 2009

Ambassador's Alliance RadioWell, another radio show critiqued my 14 Reasons to Stop Evangelizing Your Friends. Ambassador’s Alliance Radio is by Tony Miano of Last Words Radio, except that this is an Internet radio show (as opposed to broadcast through the air.) Tony must really like my article, because he keeps using it.

The show is two hours long (podcast available here), with the first hour devoted to critiquing my post. Actually, they spend a lot of time getting things set up and introducing the guest who joins in the critique. They don’t get started with me until 15 minutes in.

I don’t intend to do a point-by-point rebuttal of their criticism. You can listen and come to your own conclusions. But overall, the thing that kept striking me was their focus on “what happens when you die” and the dualism that naturally results from making the gospel about life after death rather than about the kingdom of God being here, now. Also, their gospel seems extremely hell-centric. Isn’t that backwards?

They concluded that I am probably not born again.

Tony opened by reading the explanatory disclaimer I added at the beginning of my 14 Reasons after I got a lot of criticism from some listeners of Last Words Radio: “By not trying so hard, I have found the gospel flows more naturally, and have enjoyed sharing the gospel with my friends much more freely and frequently.” What is odd is that they then ignored that statement completely, concluding the worst about my statements.

My last reason (which they get to at 59:40) is the summarizing kicker of the whole fourteen: “It makes you think their lack of interest in your evangelism means they are not interested in Jesus or spiritual questions.” The guest’s immediate response: “Yeah, well they’re definitely not interested in Jesus because there’s no one that seeks after God.” Um. This really is Adventures in Missing the Point, guys. May I recommend Dan Kimball’s excellent book They Like Jesus but Not the Church?

But the highlight for me is when they begin their discussing their overall conclusions at one hour in: I am probably not born again.

To listen to the podcast of the show, click here. You can either listen to it directly on that page, or download it to iTunes. Again, the portion focusing on what I wrote starts 15 minutes in. Thanks to Ambassador’s Alliance Radio for featuring my post.

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

9 responses to Ambassador’s Alliance Radio vs. Jon Reid

  1. You gotta love a bunch of guys who sit around deciding whether or not you are born again! That must be the 11th command — thou shalt pass judgment, and often!

  2. I don’t even need to listen to them, I know exactly how it went from the last show. All I needed to hear was, “nonbelievers have nothing to teach us”. ugh.

  3. Maria,
    Well, they’re nice about being judgmental: They said, “We don’t really know Jon, so we can’t say,” and then they said it.
    At least I’m old enough to laugh about it.

  4. Samia,
    Let’s see, reason #10. The fellow’s response is, “What can a nonbeliever teach me about what’s going to happen when I die?” There’s that dualistic focus I was talking about.

  5. Yes, maybe your friend can teach you something about life, about interacting with people, about love. It’s not all about dying. And we don’t know it all.

  6. I’m not sure I could stand to listen to it. Just reading your comments and the others here makes me think it’s more of the same from the other show.
    **sigh**
    Certainly people are witnesses for Christ in a variety of ways, but this does seem rather judgmental…like only their way is the right one.
    It’s certainly sparking some interesting conversation, which I think is great!

  7. Carrie,
    It’s not just more of the same; I thought this show took it up a level.

  8. I’m currently dealing with a situation where a young guy, quite steeped in the “Way of the Master” way of evangelism and witness online, finds himself moved into a big city where the formulas and rejoinders just don’t work with everybody; and as a result his own faith is being severely shaken.
    I wrote a blog post in response to that here:
    http://paulwilkinson.wordpress.com/2009/06/12/apologetics-in-a-box/
    Sometimes these approaches can be so contrived and so formulaic that it’s impossible to imagine it having any connection with the way that Jesus reached out to people. If you haven’t already, check out the one-hour BBC documentary on a 13-year old from the U.K., Deborah Drapper.
    I linked to her story as posted on YouTube here a few months ago:
    http://paulwilkinson.wordpress.com/2009/05/15/the-law-and-the-gospel/
    (Sorry for linking to my own blog twice, Jon; I never do stuff like this!! You just struck a couple of nerves, I may link to your original article next week.)

  9. Paul, thanks for those links. I feel sorry for your young friend. It makes me think of a powerful visual sermon illustration (which I found later was taken from Velvet Elvis) showing the difference between “brick faith” and “trampoline faith.” If your faith is built on foundationalism like a stack of bricks, what happens if a brick on the bottom is disturbed or removed?
    As far as “proclaiming the Law,” this phrase caught me off-guard when I first heard it on Last Words Radio. It sounded so wrong, and my reaction was, “Aren’t we supposed to be proclaiming the Gospel?” Eventually I figured out that it was part of this whole evangelistic method. But it still begs the question, is that what we are called to do? That is, does the Good News require us to first get people to accept a particular rendition of Bad News? I don’t think this is necessary (or helpful), because there is plenty of bad news to go around, which everyone is already well aware of. Whatever anyone’s particular bad news is, Jesus is the answer.