09 Dec Comfortation II
I mentioned in my last post that I have tweaked the way I do evangelism by adding in an element of confrontation. When someone tells me they grew up in church or some other spiritually-related fact of their life, I take that as an opened door to talk with them about their faith. On two levels: 1) They have broached the subject; 2) Their claim to go to have grown up in church lets me know that they have been exposed to biblical teaching. Therefore, I follow the path that they have blazed. I ask them why they stopped going to church, if they were ‘confirmed’ (as I am in the context of a large Roman Catholic population), etc. The best question I tend to ask is what they think about Jesus. You will get a slew of responses, all of which will tell you something of someone’s heart.
In our evangelism, this is where we must go. The resurrection, the existence of God, Creation|Evolution…all must lead to the person having a clear understanding of who Jesus is. This will, of course, be butressed with solid apologetics, but they must all lead to the person affirming or denying Christ.
For the sake of being irenic, so many Christians will receive blunt confrontation, but will not use the force of the person’s argument. For instance, when someone charges the Christian with being closed-minded we should not balk at asking the accuser a series of questions that indicts them for being closed-minded. They have just judged my worldview as being ridiculous, why should I not help them see its consistencies through love as well as lovingly show them the ridiculous nature of their argument? We do the non-believer a disservice if we just smile and do not tell them that what they are holding in their hand is merely a piece of wood – deaf, dumb, and mute. This is the epitome of love – to show someone their error and help them see truth.
We cannot settle for catchy slogans in this line of evangelism – “God said, I beleive it, that settles it;” “You think you’re perfect, try walking on water;” and so on. The rebuttals people have are not merely syllogisms. They are charged with emotional electricity. I cannot tell you how many people have written off Christianity because of a certain youth pastor that did something or said something mean to them or a friend. I cannot tell you how many people have rejected a false Christianity – legalism or license. We must enter into these discussions saturated by the fact that before the Holy Spirit opened our eyes, we were doing the same thnigs. I have done myself a service by closing my eyes and remembering when I was a non-believer. I try to remember the music I listened to, what I was thinking as I meditated on the lyrics, how I felt about someone, what I longed for…Anything that will remind me what I was like before Christ. This must keep us humble…and it will affect our tone when we lovingly and forcefully show that this person has an idol in his hand.