Friday, December 06, 2002
I have been accused by some of lacking evangelistic zeal. Some have even gone so far as to say I am anti-evangelism because I do not pursue a vigorous course of personal witnessing. What these ignorant critics don’t understand is that it is my dedication to holy living that makes the practice of personal witnessing on a regular basis unnecessary.
The main reason I don’t feel the need to accost strangers on the streets and demand them to make a commitment to Christ is because I believe in Lifestyle Evangelism. I think it is more important to live the message of the gospel than it is to tell the message. There are plenty of people out there who talk a good game but their lifestyle doesn’t measure up to the stature of Jesus Christ like mine does. These people actually undermine the cause of Christ by living lives that are unworthy of the cause they claim to be promoting. We can spot them because they read the wrong version of the Bible and listen to so-called Christian rock and roll.
Christians should be good testimonies to the cause of the gospel by their exemplary lives. If people would truly live the gospel message, preaching the gospel would be unnecessary. It is my holy living that people find attractive and when they ask me the source of my victorious lifestyle, I can then take that opportunity to share the gospel with them. And while this rarely happens, it does not imply that my light is under a basket, it simply means that the world is blind to what a True Christian looks like.
Additionally, for me to begin witnessing to total strangers on the street, I would have to invade their spiritual privacy. People should have the right to make their own lifestyle choices and my imposition of the gospel may prove offensive and actually turn them off to the message of Jesus Christ instead of leading them to the cross. So rather than running the risk of offending these tender folks, I wait until they are receptive to the message of the gospel. I wait until they approach me with an inquiry rather than forcing the gospel on unwilling listeners like so many hyper-evangelists.
Another reason that we should not impose the gospel message on unwilling listeners is that they may not be part of God’s elect. There are certain people, such as myself, who are ordained to live with God for all eternity. We are part of God’s chosen few, the sacred remnant who are the objects of his affection, his divine elect. Others are destined to spend eternity in torment and suffering and are not part of God’s elect. For us to preach the gospel to those who are not chosen is to cast our pearls before swine and give that which is holy to dogs. Rather than risking such mishandling of the precious message of salvation, I prefer to let the elect come to me and inquire after the message rather than taking it out to them. After all, if they are Christ’s elect, they will get saved whether I take the gospel to them or not.
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”
Mark 16:15 (NIV)
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