Into the deep end

Some years ago I was included in a seminar of Catholic priests from six European nations who met in a Madrid convent. They had all left their official Church to make contact with alienated fellow churchmen and addressed the problem of how they could get unbelievers off the ground. For several days we tried to find answers without any result.

At the end we were invited into a flat in the city. The flat was owned by a young couple who kept an open house for inquirers about the Christian faith. Their method was simple; on a table they had a Bible open at the Gospel according to St Mark.

The open Bible invited people to ask questions and to read further an account of Our Lord’s earthly ministry. If this seems over simple it was the first contact people of an unbelieving state had with Christ and gave the Christian team a starting point for further instruction.

Since then I have kept the story at the back of my mind while in England we struggled with liberal theology which blunted the uncompromising Gospel message. Now the wrong ideas have been swept away we can present an eyewitness picture of our Lord Jesus Christ, an experience few unbelieving people in our country have ever had.

So there is a strong case for dispensing with teaching programmes which often lead to unprofitable discussion and starting with a simple Gospel – St Mark, for example. There is no arguing with Our Lord’s teaching about the way of salvation.

Going for the jugular, you might say!