One of my favorite websites is New Testament scholar Scot McKnight's Jesus Creed.
Scot put up a post today applauding Jon Wilson's book Why Church Matters. Chapter 7 of Wilson's book answers the question: "How have modernity and postmodernity distorted how we understand the gospel?"
Some quotes from Wilson:
“At these times, the church behaves as if the real mission of the church is to get people to a onetime event that ‘converts’ them to faith, erases their guilt, and guarantees their salvation for eternity.” “But everything in that sentence — converting to Christ, erasing guilt, and eternal salvation — is wrong, devastatingly wrong, when it is disconnected from the telos that gives it proper meaning and direction.”
McKnight writes: "Here’s one of my ideas about evangelism today: the single-most influential mistake made in evangelism is basing one’s appeal on the “advantage” or “benefit” or “reward” one gets if one believes. Not to deny that there are rewards, but watch Jesus preach. It is that we start there and work back to a reasonable, evocative, compelling set of steps that will allow someone to get that reward. It has to do with emphasis, and it has to do with how to shape disciple-focused evangelism."
That's good stuff! To read more see McKnight's Jesus Creed review of Wilson here.