In class last week, Dr. Coppenger was talking about a growing trend in evangelism. He graphically displayed it on the white board as the first picture I have reproduced above. The blue circle is salvation and the red cross has Christ as the center. The arrows represent the spiritual paths of individuals. All people are in different places in this view, with some closer to Christ than others. Some will never enter the circle of salvation, but what is important is movement toward the center, Christ. As Christians, our responsibility is to help others move closer to the center.
While Coppenger believes there is some insight here, he finds it problematic. Primarily, he thinks there is a misunderstanding of humans in our natural state. None of us is moving toward the center--we are all moving away from it. Therefore, he drew the second picture above as a more biblical understanding. Rather than simply guiding others closer to Christ (as in the first view), the responsibility of Christians is to confront individuals with their wrong direction, pointing them toward Christ and warning them of the direction they are headed.
I find his clarification insightful, taking seriously Romans 1:18ff. The gospel is confrontational. May we never forget this truth as we evangelize.