Evangelizing

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by dan e., Dec 28, 2006.

  1. dan e.

    dan e.
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    The post on Rick Warren made me think about something. I think that some are being too hard on him about his being with Jews without witnessing (as if they don't realize that he believes in Jesus). It makes me wonder how people view witnessing. Too some, Warren squandered an opportunity to tell others about Jesus. But in my mind, he has opened up a huge door to a religion that does not worship Jesus. I think some view witnessing/sharing faith, however you want to put it, as transfering information from your mind to theirs. Once the transfer happens....BOOM!.... you have successfully "witnessed". Rather, the gospel, I believe, is more about investing into peoples' lives, beginning and growing a relationship with them (this is difficult for some), and through that living and telling about Jesus. "What? Having a friendship with a gay guy?" "What? Spending time on the weekends hanging out watching movies with Jews?" Exactly. Being there friend. A genuine friend. Forget about the info. transfer, because you will have failed if all you do is transfer a "message" without fostering any kind of relationship.

    There will be times where it isn't possible to begin a relationship, and you may talk about your faith instantly as a result of the situation.....nothing wrong with that. I'm saying that I think the impression is too often that you need to skip the introductions, tell them about Jesus as efficiently as possible, ask them if they accept/reject, and you've just fulfilled the great commission.

    Regarding Rick Warren, I don't think that he has done wrong by not mentioning Jesus to them. First of all, do you honestly think they don't know he believes in Jesus? Second, I am picturing the relationships that have begun as a result of him not immediately doing an "altar call" with them. I imagine they respect him, and there may be a few who are curious about him, and who knows who will be saved as a result of this. Rick Warren needs our prayers because of this, not our criticisms.
     
  2. guitarpreacher

    guitarpreacher
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    I had a chance to do something similar not too long ago, although on a much, much smaller stage than RW. The local Department of Human Services and the local CASA (court appointed special advocate) volunteers were having some problems with each other, and the director of each organization asked me to come and speak to both groups together. While we were discussing what they wanted, the DHS director said, "We aren't asking you to come here and preach a sermon." My response was that I understood that, but being a pastor and being a Christian was not something that I do, it's who I am and it will come out in the things I say and I can't change that.

    So I got to speak for almost an hour to this group of people that literally hold the futures of all the children in foster care in their hands. I talked a lot about communication and trust, used a lot of Scriptures references, mostly from Proverbs. At the end I told them that as a pastor it was my privilege to pray for them, and with their permission I would like to pray with them then. It was pretty much unanimous, they wanted me to pray with them so I did. It was pretty cool, a local baptist pastor praying with about 20-25 state social workers. I didn't say much about Jesus, if anything. I didn't give an invitation or lead a sinners prayer. I didn't even take up an offering :thumbsup: (although the thought did cross my mind) What I did do was open the door to build some very important relationships.

    Here's the result so far. If we can raise the money (and money isn't a problem for God) we will be taking all the foster children that want to go to church camp with us this summer. So from me spending an hour basically telling grown-ups to play nice, I believe there will be several lives changed for eternity this summer.

    :godisgood: ALL THE TIME!
     
  3. dan e.

    dan e.
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    I had a significant experience during college that God used to change my attitude and help me to genuinely love people. I worked at Starbucks (half of the students at Southern Seminary/Boyce work there), and worked in a very colorful part of town. A lot of hippies, feminists, homosexuals, vegans, and a few Seminary students...quite a mix, huh? I worked with a couple of homosexuals with whom I built friendships with. I was and still am their friend. I only spoke with one of them about Jesus once, and that was long after our friendship started. HE innitiated because he wanted to know why I believed homosexuality was wrong. Essentially, I explained to him the joy he is missing both, in a relationship with a woman, and a relationship with Jesus.

    A second close friendship came from a girl who was a local University student that was a naturalist, anti-republican, anti-Christian psycho. She really did act crazy towards me sometimes. But, she was an open friend, who really appreciated that I would listen to her, be patient, and not feel like every conversation was about faith, or religion. I was very curious about her passions, she loved photography, and she was good at it. We had a lot of discussions about evolution, certain findings that was evidence for stories in the Bible, a lot of brainy, academic stuff that she needed to settle in her mind. I worked with her for 2 years, had many conversations, but only talked about her becoming a Christian one time. Every other time we talked it was her questioning me, why I believe something, and asking for proof from me. But this one time, she stopped talking about God not existing, and started speaking as if He did exist. She said, "I just can't take that leap of faith". She once told me how much she appreciated the way I was to her. She knew too many Seminary students who slammed her instantly, gave her no attention, but certainly passed on the "information gospel" to her. I love that girl like a sister, and I hope and pray she comes to know Jesus.

    I can't imagine not loving people. It strips the gospel of its purpose.
     
  4. JonC

    JonC
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    I think that our greatest witness is exhibited in our lives. We don’t have the ability to convert anyone from one faith to faith in Christ, but we can be a visible witness for Christ. The only caution here would be those afraid of voicing their faith and receiving rejection.
     
  5. bapmom

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    dan e.,

    I don't think its about whether or not we genuinely love people. The OP is correct, sometimes we think we have to give a gospel message absolutely every time we talk to someone who isn't saved. However, most people who do this are honestly doing it from a heart of love for the lost person. Their method is just a tad overzealous, and it can cause problems. gb's is a perfect example as he was being invited to speak about a particular topic, and it would have been innappropriate for him to "preach" at them.

    This also translates into talking with friends and relatives who ARE saved but have backslidden. The temptation is to badger them, try to convince them to get back into church, nag at them every time we talk to them. But that closes the door of communication. I know of a man who had gotten away from God and his church, and one big reason he was able to come back was his family (still faithful to his church) talked and visited with him about many things without always mentioning his not going to church and his lifestyle. So when God did get hold of him again, he willingly came back to church and now he's a church planter himself in Minnesota.
     
  6. Allan

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    Here is my nickle in the pot ** clink ***

    If we witness without saying a word about Gods greatest witness, we have lost our witness.

    By that same token:
    If we only witness verbally without witness to the needs of people again we have lost our witness AND His testimony of His great love.

    I think we must combine them both but in the wisdom of God. I share up front first AS I develope a friendship with them. In my college years I had to many unsaved 'friends' die before I shared because I was trying to build that friendship first. We are to share Christ in Love for the sake of Love and if we do this I have yet to find a person walk away as we build that friendship. It also at the first allows them to know where I stand. I heard a story told by an SBC evangelist "Freddie Gage" changed how I dealt with people from then on. It goes like this:

    There is a man who is on trial for crimes, and as he stands before the judge everyone is certain his end was garrenteed. But there is a testimony yet unheard that can change the outcome and verdict of that trial, and it is yours. So you come to court dressed in your best clothes, acting in the most christian like manner humaly possible. You shake everyones hands, and befriend the whole crowd. Seated where all can see you, you are the picture perfect. The Judges looks at you, then he looks at the man. The Judge raised his gavel and pounds it against his desk while saying "Guilty as charged!"

    The moral of the story is that you looks couldn't save him, your attitude couldn't save him, and niether could your friendship save him. Though these are important to your charactor witness, it was your testimony yet unheard that sentenced that man to Judgment.

    Now aside from the obvious that God would not allow anyone whom He knows will be His to go to hell - you get the message of the story. You are there for a reason and that is to share Christ verbally, physically, emotionally, and phycologically. We are to be a living example in EVERY area but foremost verbally that the seed will be in their heart and God can deal with it, plant, and water it.

    Anyhoo - IMO
     
  7. Helen

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    Jon and dan, amen. Talk is cheap. Everyone does it. Living your faith is what others notice. We are told to be ready to give an answer for our hope. If we do not live lives that are different, who will be asking questions?

    About your friend, dan, good job! You are the kind of friend everyone needs.
     
  8. 2 Timothy2:1-4

    2 Timothy2:1-4
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    Romans 10:17

    Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.


    Where in the Bible does it say that it would have been inappropriate to present the narrow way to God? What book, chapter and verse ? You will not find it.

    Unless the very word of God is spoken there is no witness.
     
  9. dan e.

    dan e.
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    I didn't think anyone was saying what you call a "narrow way to God" isn't true, or shouldn't be presented. The point I'm making says I think it is wrong to believe when you "witness" people "hear the gospel", therefore you are obedient to Scripture, but all you are doing is asking someone to agree with the information you have given them. I don't think Romans 10:17 supports that. Imagine if Jesus did nothing but walk around spewing out information without actually being a part of their lives. Doesn't sound like Jesus, does it?
     
  10. Allan

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    But at the same time, Jesus did only give the truth (at times) and did not stick around to develope friendships. A witness MUST also declare what they have both seen and heard otherwise they are no witness at all. You can not have one with out the other nor can you say that one is more correct than the other for without both you are NO witness of Christ
     
  11. dan e.

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    You're right. Jesus didn't have time for close friendships with most. But he did invest in many. I think you're right Allan, there is a balance. I definitely believe believers need to be close friends with unbelievers, using the friendship and love towards them to represent Jesus. However, I also definitely see circumstances when you witness to people in situations where there is no real friendship.

    Again, my thoughts about this came from the thread on Rick Warren, and a lot of people criticizing him for being with Jews, but not telling them about Jesus. I think it is unwarranted criticism.
     
  12. 2 Timothy2:1-4

    2 Timothy2:1-4
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    It is a mischaracterization to say that preaching the gospel is just simply giving out information and asking someone to agree with you.

    In this statement you disregard the work of the Holy Ghost to convict the heart. You disregard His work that illuminates the cross. Jesus said when I am lifted up I will draw all men unto me. if Christ has not been preached he has not been lifted up. If the cross has not been preached Christ has not been lifted up. There can be no slavation without the preaching of the cross.


    1 Cor 1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
     
  13. dan e.

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    I don't think I'm mischaracterizing many who approach sharing the gospel like this. That is, "preaching Jesus". You are right, by the way. That does disregard the Holy Spirit. It also disregards Jesus by not treating people the way he did. Preaching isn't a magical combination of words that must be spoken in order for people to wake up. I don't think that is what the Bible means when it says to preach the gospel. Yet, it is often treated that way. All you have to do is get the words out, let people hear them so they can be illuminated!! Naah, I think that is wrong. I don't think the verses you are showing disagree with what I'm saying either. I'm certainly not saying I don't believe what the Bible says. I don't think you should do without preaching, or vocally telling people about your faith. I just think it is more than verbalizing it. Sometimes it is not even using words. Sometimes the way you act towards someone will want them to hear your words, or not hear a word you have to say.
     
    #13 dan e., Dec 28, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 28, 2006
  14. 2 Timothy2:1-4

    2 Timothy2:1-4
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    I would be interested to see the scriptual basis for this view.
     
  15. dan e.

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    What view? I doubt I'm saying anything that you don't believe. Do you think that believers ought to go without becoming friends of unbelievers?? Do you think that the gospel is a mere formula of words that work like magic? That is what I'm saying that I think is unbiblical. If you got a different impression, than I worded my thoughts wrong. My apologies. But if you still disagree, than read the Bible bro'.
     
  16. 2 Timothy2:1-4

    2 Timothy2:1-4
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    I believe the gospel is not magic but by its very nature has power because it is truth.

    Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

    There is power in the words of God. And every time the Words of God are spoken the Holy Ghost stands behind them and uses them to illuminate the mind and heart of the one receiveing those words. It isnt magic but it is the very power of God.

    What I am saying is one can be regenerated without your testimony. But one can never be regenerated with out the Word of God.

    The scripture I am looking for from you is what passage you read and studied to come to the conclusion that Gods words are not enough.And we must add something to them in order to lead someone to the Lord.
     
  17. Amy.G

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    1 Peter 3:1 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives.

    I can speak from experience that this is one of the reasons my husband came to the Lord. When I tried to witness to him or even talk about the Lord, it irritated him, so I followed this scripture and let my behavior speak to him. Sometimes words are enough, sometimes not, and sometimes it takes both words and behavior.:)
     
  18. guitarpreacher

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    Not meaning to speak for Dan, but where do you get from anything said here that something needs to be added to the Word to lead someone to Christ?
     
  19. John of Japan

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    Don't mean to butt in here, but perhaps I have some germane Scriptures. The Gospel stands alone. There is no word or concept to add to it. However, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 5:16). Again, we are to "adorn the doctrine of God our Savior" by our godly life (Tit. 2:10).

    To me it is not "either/or"--either witness about the Lord Jesus with the Gospel or show it with your life. It is both. Woe to the believer who tries to witness while having a dirty life. But on the other hand no one gets saved without hearing the Gospel.

    As for whether we should give the Gospel the first time, my faith in Christ is who I am. I am nothing without Christ. If someone wishes to know me they must know that Christ saved me and leads me, or they know nothing at all about me! So what kind of Christian would decide he shouldn't tell someone about Christ the first time? Would it offend them and send them closer to Hell? How in the world can a lost person get closer to Hell than they already are--one heartbeat away?
     
  20. Allan

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    Well said brother, well said.
     

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