Witnessing

disciple1985's picture

This is quite a lengthy post, but I think it is worth the read...

I just talked to a friend of mine the other day who said that his brother was disgusted at the fact that so many people are so straight-forward when they evangelize. He believes that we should focus purely on living the Christian life before our unsaved friends and aquaintances in the hope that they will not think of themselves as some sort of Christian conversion project. This entails staying away from referencing any scripture when talking to them or using any "Christianese" (i.e.- Evangelize, witness, salvation, justification, sin, judgement...). My friend's brother was alright with outright witnessing it seems, but only by approaching people that you meet and simply reading them your story (testimony: too Christianese of a word) and then asking them about their story.

I do not want to imply that this form of witnessing is wrong or inadequate. I know that God is able to reach people through this and many other methods. Having said that, I will move on to my personal thoughts concerning this issue.

Four things-

One: Just as my friend's brother, I too do not like to look at the conversion of a sinner as a Christian project for myself. I myself have fallen into the mentality of viewing people and their conversion as something to get done rather than simply allowing God to use me as the vessel. I believe that the key to staying away from the "project" mentality is to realize that God is in total control of the conversion process (as well as the sanctifying process...and everything else).

Two: "Christianese", or words that are used almost exclusively by religions and particularly Christians, is not a bad thing. Just as someone who is born into a family that speaks French or Japanese the child will little by little learn the language until they are fluent. We are born into the family of God upon conversion. Little by little as we study His word and fellowship with other believers we will simply pick up the lingo. It is not something to be afraid of or ashamed of it's simply a part of the normal Christian vocabulary. Words like sin, spirit, atonement, and the like are key to a clear understanding of what it is that we believe.

Three: Will you warn your friend? Will you share with them the good news? If I go a year, five years, a lifetime claiming to be someone's friend and never warning them of the judgement to come, and telling them of the wonderful grace of God available to them...am I really their friend?! I believe and hope that this manner of witness is a genuine attempt to reach the lost through contextualization. At the same time though, I pray that it is not what it appears to be or could become which is an ashamedness of the gospel, and of Christ.

Four: We can not move away from scripture to make becoming or being a Christian easier or more attainable. Scripture is very clear that it is our instruction for every aspect of our lives. That includes and is most certainly not limited to conversion. In the New Testament it was the preaching of God's word that had pricked (the conviction of the Holy Spirit) the hearts of 3,000 on the day of Pentecost. Paul said that if it wasn't for the law he wouldn't have known what sin was (Romans 7:7), and that when he saw it in light of the law it was exceedingly sinful (Romans 7:13) Sharing our lives without sharing God's word is zeal without knowledge which Paul writes against (in Romans 10:2). We are always supposed to be ready to give a reason for the hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15), but I am in serious doubt that would mean strictly living our lives without direct reference to God's power in it.

Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions about this.

Witnessing by Tobie
Witnessing by l4jcnic

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