Friday, March 18, 2005

Evangelism

Now I know this is really going to upset some readers, and I apologize in advance but ask you all to read this and consider it as you see fit:

Rather than quote it here, and because it is one of the most used quotes from Jesus’ ministry I ask that you read the Parable of the Four Soils as written in Matthew 13:1-30 and continued in Matthew 13:36-43 with discussion about weeds in the soil.

I interpret this verse quite specifically to be about Christians spreading the Word (the seed) to non-Christians (the soil). Can anyone read this differently?

Jesus’ last words to us, in giving the great commission as written in Mark 16:15-16 were: “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.’”

As Christians it is our duty to spread the Word of Christ. He told us to do so! But it is also our duty to be accepting and forgiving of others, to allow them to make their own mistakes and carry on with their lives as they see fit. There is great variety to the soils of the non-Christian people and we must accept that sometime the word falls on deaf ears and/or hardened hearts. We cannot expect to change every person in one fell swoop.

But we can spread the Word of the Grace of God, the Salvation and Redemption we have in Christ, and the hope they bring. But we must do it by gentle means. To continually pound on soil only makes it harder. We can plant seed by simple statements, by our actions and our example. But each person must choose to be saved in his or her own time.

I urge each of you that believe to share your Faith with those that are not of Faith. What good does it do to say “I thank God for what He brings me” at Church on Sunday? Better to say it in a business meeting after a successful project. In school, in business and in play let people know that you are Christian by living according to the Word of God and Christ and by actively discussing what this means to you. Do give thanks to God for everything. Be knowledgeable in the Bible and in those things that non-believers are held up in building their Faith by: evolutionary thinking, media acceptance of poor moral values, lack of historical perspective. Reach out to them in their words, in their thinking, in their places. Walk and talk humbly but proudly. Spread the Word.

Realize that you will be banished by some, especially if you preach at a continual high volume with those of hardened hearts. With them it is the occasional Word, or word as the case may be, that will be the seed for them to nourish. More importantly, in addition to that occasional word, it is your actions, your humility, and your kindness that people will notice and think about when they think of your Christianity. Sometimes the process is begun by working the soil before trying to throw much seed.

Christianity cannot come from the government; it must come from the people, one on one. Other religions have tried the governmental route with the most current example being the Taliban of Afghanistan. We all saw what this regime did to their people in the name of their religion. People putting forth the appearance of faith, due to fear of the consequences should they not do so, are not of faith; they are just wearing a mask. Let this be our real compassion – to go forth in His name as individuals – spread the seed as we can, and let it take root as it does. For as it is written: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Beyond that it is not up to us to decide for them, it is up to God.

Our country was based upon religious freedom. That includes the freedom to be without religion if one so chooses. Plant seeds and let them work in the soil as the soil takes them. “He who has ears, let him hear.”

1 Comments:

Blogger interfaithpope said...

Christian Democrat, I promise I will keep this comment shorter than my other two. I am saddened by the extremism on both sides of the fence. I think that a personal expression of faith is wonderful. However, my experience has told me that most people I encounter cannot do so without making others feel inferior or uncomfortable. I don't think this should lead us to ban all public religious expression and I am sad that religious clubs in schools have been eliminated (have they?) or at least been meeting a great deal of difficulty. However, I would hope that the emphasis, when expressing one's religious belief, is that of respectfully sharing rather than over-enthusiastic conversion. I think that you have said it well, that religious belief should be expressed proudly but humbly. You may feel that conversion and missionary work are being admonished by Christ but if someone does not seem receptive that doesn't mean you must discount them and move on. There are a great many points of common ground that can be found if people are willing. Christ's messages can be talked about without making someone feel that they have to be an active Christian. I love the Sermon on the Mount and I love Jesus' parables. That doesn't mean that I'm a Christian or that I think that's the only path people should take. I only wish that Christians who are proud of their faith and are convinced of their calling to "be fishers of men" would not take it so far as to trample the feelings or beliefs of those they are witnessing to. It is one thing to SHARE your beliefs and another entirely to express your beliefs expecting someone to automatically accept them as gospel (pardon the pun). Sharing means giving something as well as taking something. Most people I encounter are only interested in giving (or cramming) their opinions but won't give any creedence to the opinions of the person they are talking to. I would welcome a Christian discussing how they felt moved by Christ teaching the parable of the Good Samaritan and how it moved them to seek out more ways to help those in need. I would actively participate in sharing my feelings about Christ and his teachings. But for someone to approach me and say that Christ is the only way that I can be saved and ask me if I would accept Christ as my savior is not very inviting of the Spirit. When we show respect and love for each other we are inviting Christ into our circle. That is all that is required.

5/20/2005 11:09 AM  

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