A Discussion I Overheard

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by TexasSky, Oct 25, 2005.

  1. TexasSky

    TexasSky
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    I currently work for a secular university, but I do work with several Christians.

    Recently some faculty members moved onto my hall who are most definately not Christian. They are "nice people", but they are all rather rabid about "those Christians who push their beliefs onto other people." I suspect this is no accident, btw. The individual who hired this particular group of people is rather rabid anti-Christian.

    In any case - from time to time they forget where they are, and today was one of those days. They held one of their anti-Christian discussions loudly in the office across the hall from me. I was trying to decide how to handle the situation in a godly manner when I started really listening to what they said and it intrigued me, from a Christian point of view.

    Apparently there was an evangelist or student in the "free speech" area of campus this week, loudly proclaiming that people around him were going to hell.

    There were also, this same week, Gideons, and a student evangelist who spoke of the love of the Christ.

    The thing that caught my attention was the comment of one of the professors. I can't quote him word for word, but basically he said, "The Gideons were such nice men. You could tell by speaking to them that they are very gentle spirited men and very articulate. They didn't wish anyone harm, they weren't trying to shove their faith down your throat. They came across as wanting to share something they believe is wonderful. It almost made me want to listen to their speaker."

    At which point the other person chimed in, "You know, I've been on a lot of campuses, and I've heard a lot of Christians talk, and there are some of them that have this.. view of God, that is a God I really would want to know. Like that student the other day who was saying that he has an awesome God, and was talking about love and caring for people. I would like a God like that if I had a God."

    To which the first person responded, "Yes, exactly. If there really is a God, and he is like the student that was with the Gideons, I would WANT to know him. But these hell fire and brimstone gods - - they reek of superstitious ancient and ignorant societies. Even if there is a hell, I'd rather go there than be forced to worship someone out of fear of hell."

    To which the second person responded, "Exactly. What is the difference in the hell-fire-man's god, and in some dictator like Hitler. I don't think there is a god, but if there is, and he is the god that the kid was talking about, I'd like to know him."

    Now that I've heard it.... I'm trying to pray about it and process it.

    I think there is a reason God let me over hear that conversation.
     
  2. Rachel

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    That is interesting. Praying for you and that situation.
     
  3. Filmproducer

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    I understand where you are coming from Texas Sky. Since we started promoting our film, (Sodom and Gomorrah), I have gotten a lot of emails about this very topic. How can we reconcile a God of "hate" as a God of "love"? At first I found myself hesitating to answer. It took a lot of praying and studying my Bible, because although God is a God of love I did not want to condone homosexuality in any way. What I have found is that people are more receptive to hearing the gospel if you are not trying to "change" them from the start. I have heard many stories of how preachers or Christians in general would try and "convert" someone, after telling them that they were an abomination and that they are going straight to hell. Now we all know homosexuality is a sin, but people truly do not want to even hear about God let alone how to be saved, after they are told they are abominations. I have also noticed the same pattern on our messageboard. The posters who kindly post their beliefs receive more open responses. I think it is because someone is more inclined to listen if they are not immediately on the defensive. I don't know, just giving my two cents worth. I think it is definitely an issue that Christians should consider.
     
  4. Thankful

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    Praying for you. May these people see our awesome God through you.
     
  5. Mark Osgatharp

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    It is not an "either/or" proposition. Nor does it matter what some infidels would like to hear about God. Paul said,

    "behold, the goodness and severity of God."

    God is good in His love and mercy toward man. God is severe in his condemnation of those who scorn Him.

    We are commanded to preach the whole counsel of God which includes both His love and His wrath. If the infidels can't accept God the way He is, well, they'll just have to go to hell.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  6. Pastor Larry

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    Do you think it is wise to let unregenerate people pick and choose the kind of God they want? That is why we have false religions.

    But we should be nice people. So that's good.
     
  7. Mexdeaf

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    Some thoughts-

    1. Everything we know about love comes from God, because God IS love.
    2. Man's view of what love is, is distorted by sin.
    3. God-love, cannot downplay sin because sin hurts others as well as yourself.
    4. We cheapen the love of God if we downplay his severity.
    5. True love requires sacrifice. The love of God was revealed on a bloody, cruel cross. The love of God comes at great price!
     
  8. gb93433

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    People will more likely listen when approached with gentleness and love rather than harshness. Most people respond to love.

    We can be the nicest people and yet speak the truth in love with great power and conviction. It is not our job to judge people and yell at them. It is our job to love them. Loving them takes all the wisdom we have. He who wins souls is wise.

    The sermons I remember most are those spoken by older men who had tremendous conviction spoken in a normal voice. One of those had been in a concentration camp as a pastor in Romania. The other had been a missionary in Pakistan for about 30 years.

    I have never heard a man proclaim how great his favorite football team is by putting down another man and telling him his team is worthless.

    A couple of times I spoke on the college campus where I was a student. The courtyard was packed with people. There were a few hecklers but they didn't gain an audience because most of the people stood there and listened until I was done. I spoke for about 20 minutes.

    I believe when we earnestly seek God we become humbled and God works while we have the pleasure of watching His work.

    Before we talk with men about God we must talk to God about men. When we talk with God first we cannot condemn them but we will love them because He loves them. When we love people they know it and God gets the glory. If all we are is a tinkling brass the people will only remember the messenger and not hear the message. I want them to remember the message not the messenger.
     
  9. gb93433

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    The fact is they do pick and choose. You do too. Unless you do not sin then you pick the god you choose for the moment. The God of the Bible does not sin and is not a part of sin.

    We have a God who loves us and them. Why not proclaim that loud and clear? I have found many people will listen to the truth if we approach them in love. It is God's job to condemn not ours.

    I can tell a person that God loves them and in the next sentence tell them that hell is a real place and it awaits them if they reject Christ.

    I believe when we fully understand the grace of God there is no room for us to condemn because God has redeemed us. We cannot condemn and judge because we are not God. We are sinners saved by grace through faith in Christ. All we can do is to proclaim what scripture teaches.

    I had heard the shout stomp and spit folks for a few words as I walked by the courtyard on the college campus a few times. I cannot rememberon e word of what the said but I do remember the shouting and his neck turning red. But I received Christ when a student along with a man I knew came to my door and talked with me about Christ. I know how much I listened to the yellers compared to those who shared their faith in a gentle quiet manner. I heard the yellers long enough to walk past them. But I listened to the man who led me to Christ for almost two hours.
     
  10. Filmproducer

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    Amen gb!!! [​IMG]

    The people who I have been honored to witness to, through these emails, have been responsive. The ones who reply are genuine and WANT to learn more about God. I do not condone their sin, but neither do I condemn them. We all have our sin and because of that Jesus died on the cross to save us from that sin. People are more responsive to this message, rather than I'm saved; therefore better than you and if you don't repent you are going to burn in hell.
     
  11. bapmom

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    Jude 1:21
    Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
    Jude 1:22
    And of some have compassion, making a difference:
    Jude 1:23
    And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.


    I think this is exactly what Jude here is talking about. Lately Ive heard this passage, especially verse 22, misquoted so that it turns into a comment on the soulwinner's heart....in reality the verses are saying that SOME UNbelievers require a gentle, loving witness, while others need to hear more about the wrath of God towards sin. Ive heard BOTH testimonies..........those who were saved because they had someone gently lead them to a knowledge of God, and then others for whom Hell became vividly real and they suddenly realized how awful their sin was and that they needed a Savior.

    I do not think we can know which one of these approaches an individual needs until we speak to them one-on-one. I think the "hell-fire and brimstone" preaching is best done in the context of a loving church atmosphere, done by the pastor in the pulpit, because that IS needed. Jesus spoke more often of Hell than He did of Heaven.

    Texas, I think you got a valuable insight into the minds and hearts of your co-workers, and I know God will lead you to a discussion with them at the appropriate time if that is what He wants. Perhaps one could point out that the "hell-fire" preacher is not intending to threaten anyone....he is trying to warn those around him, to stand in front of a "cliff" and warn people that if they keep going on then their sin will cause their destruction.....this goes along with what you were saying the other day about God's holiness just naturally destroying sinfulness. "One cannot blame the furnace for melting the ice cube." (I really liked that one, btw.....mind if I use it sometime?)

    The preacher they heard is coming from a heart of love (usually), although perhaps the zeal is a bit over the top ONLY because it comes from a stranger to them.
     
  12. tinytim

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    Calling someone an "infidel" is a wonderful way to let them know you love them! :rolleyes:

    Even Jesus said that he did not come into the world to condemn it, but to save it.
    Satan is called the accuser.

    Who do you want to be like? Our loving Savior or Satan?
    Don't ever forget you were an infidel at one point in your life. Weren't you?
     
  13. TexasSky

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    Larry,

    Paul also teaches that we should live and teach in a way that leaves us above reproach from non-believers for other reasons, lest our actions detract from the true message.

    And since God said the greatest commandment is love God and the second greatest is love others, how is it unbiblical to teach the love and awesomeness of Christ?

    The fact that they compared this "in your face" person to Hitler says a great deal.

    It isn't the first time I've heard the general thought. A tremendous number of people do not view Christians as people trying to prevent others from going to hell, but rather as people HOPING others will go to hell.

    Some people come across as WANTING the world to be damned.
     
  14. TexasSky

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    Thank you Thankful and Rachel and Filmproducer and GB, and all the rest who are praying.

    I know I need to say something to these coworkers, but I want it to be God's words, not mine.
     
  15. Brother Ian

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    Jesus said speak the Truth in love. God is a loving God, but He is also righteous and just. If you share the message of Christ in a manner that really shows others you care about them, that's when they will listen.
     
  16. Tim

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    I'm afraid that far too often when zealous Christians speak of hell, it is mixed with a spirit of self-righteousness. Instead, hell should be a grevious subject, spoken of with gravity and great regret that the unconverted must go there. We should not be eager to speak of it. For, but for the grace of God . . .
     
  17. gb93433

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    Kind of reminds me of the kid on TV several years ago who was paraded before the public on TV. Adults were proud that the young kid could shout stomp and spit, quote scripture and put on a show of condemnation just like he was taught. But today there is zero evidence of a man who is born again.


    He pleased the adults who encouraged such behavior but not God.
     
  18. Me4Him

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    "HUMANS" were once "sacrificed" to "Appease" an "ANGRY" God to prevent "ALL" from being destroyed.

    "OUR GOD", on the other hand, "IN LOVE", "SACRIFICED" "HIMSELF" to prevent "ALL" from being destroyed.
     
  19. canadyjd

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    I have been considering this thread for several days, trying to decide if/how to respond.

    First; We shouldn't necessarily accept how unbelievers define other Christians to us. You didn't hear what any of the Christians said, so you are only getting an unbeliever's perception of what was said. Having been accused of saying things that were never said, I am hesitant to believe their account.

    The very fact that these people are "rabid" anti-christians tells me that their view of any Christian preaching is tainted. They are going to hear and retain what they want to to reinforce their views. That applies to the "hell-fire" evangelist and the "God is Love" evangelist (if I can be so crude as to distinguish them as such)

    You seem to have an underlining question in this thread. What is the best way to evangelize? Should we emphasize God's love or God's wrath?

    I believe it has already been stated above, but let me say it again. We preach the cross of Christ. It demonstrates both the love and wrath of God. We let God the Holy Spirit transform people's lives.

    One thing we don't do enough, IMO, is to tell people who have made a profession of faith, that there are high expectations for the behavior of Chrisitans.

    peace to you [​IMG]
     
  20. TexasSky

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    This isn't the first time the person who has been accused of being in their face was here, and he is, very much, one of the old fashioned, "shake your fingers," and "shout" at people and try to block your path to make you listen kind of people.

    However, beyond that, this really is NOT the first time I've heard the accusation that Christians come across as WANTING others to go to hell.

    And its a fact, some people spend so much time telling people they are going to hell, they forget to tell them how to avoid hell.

    I agree with what Tim said.
     

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