Missions: Confrontational witnessing?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Helen, Aug 11, 2002.

  1. Helen

    Helen
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    Is that sort of like
    "Hi, I'm Helen and you are going to hell!"

    That's beyond me, guys!

    I read that we are to

    1. Make disciples (which means taking a new believer and walking with him, teaching him, praying with him, etc.)

    and

    2. Answer for the hope we have within us.

    That means that we must live lives that cause people to ask questions. Then we must have enough biblical knowledge and a close enough relationship with God to know the answers.

    It's up to the Holy Spirit to do any confronting. He is the only One who knows how and where and when!

    Every time I get confronted by a person, my instinct, even as a Christian, is to get defensive and angry. I'm pretty good at self control here, but self control or not, that reaction inside of me is NOT going to help the other person get his message heard by me!

    [ September 27, 2002, 06:00 PM: Message edited by: The Squire ]
     
  2. Don

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    The question is, what has occurred that impressed upon you the need to bring this up?

    'Cause I'm with you.
     
  3. Pastor_Bob

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    Helen,
    I don't think any proponent of confrontational evangelism would take this approach. Surely you jest.

    You must first lead a person to Christ before they become a new believer.

    If I had a dying lost loved one in a city on the other side of the country, I would want someone to confront them regarding their eternal destiny.

    If a car load of total strangers were headed down a road in which the bridge had just washed out, I would stand in the middle of the road and frantically try and stop them from going down that road.

    Many are on the road to hell today. Someone must stand in the way and warn them.

    Jesus said we are to "Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in."
    That word "compel" is a strong word. It means to necessitate or constrain them.

    This is what is known as "Lifestyle Evangelism." It is important but it is not how Christ designed it. Christ "sent" His disciples out to reach others.

    I agree with you here Helen, but the Holy Spirit chooses to work through you and me just like He did Philip when the Holy Spirit sent him to witness to the Ethiopian Eunuch.

    One of the saddest verses in God's Word is: Psa. 142:4 "I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul ."

    I do not want that to be the testimony of my friends and neighbors regarding me. God says "Go ye..." so I choose to go.
     
  4. HankD

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    Hi Helen,

    Many years ago the pastor and I went to the home of the parent of an Awana kid at our church.

    He was a drinker, he was Catholic, there were other unmentioned things which made the visit confrontational by nature.
    We witnessed, explained the Gospel prayed and left.
    The next time we went back he chased us out of the house with a meat cleaver he had been using to cut up some chicken.
    This was a real test for us. We finally went back.
    He was a different man. We urged him to come to church. He did. He was saved. He did have quite a struggle with sin but eventually he became a deacon in the Church.

    Obviously this is the exception.
    But from then on, I took a different approach, frank, but a lot milder and that worked also.
    Our door-to-door ministry brought in 1 or 2 souls a month, many were Catholic.

    HankD

    [ August 11, 2002, 06:34 PM: Message edited by: HankD ]
     
  5. Pastor Larry

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    Lifestyle evangelism is the way Christ designed it. Confrontational evangelism is the way Christ designed it. This is not an either/or situation. It is a both/and. I agree that confrontational evangelism is not always the best way to go about it. One may have the opportunity for a full fledged gospel presentation on the first encounter. But they may not and it would be unwise to push it beyond the person's ability and willingness to continue in the conversation. Further opportunity for witnessing can be lost by someone who pushes to hard.

    I constantly remind my people that Evangelism is a process, not an event.
     
  6. Helen

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    Philip was not told to confront the man. He was told to walk alongside. And that is what he did. All he did was ask the Ethiopian, "Do you understand what you are reading?"

    That is NOT confrontational! When the man ASKED to have it explained, Philip explained it. When the man asked to be baptized, Philip baptized him.

    I see no confrontation there.

    And when I care for people, I try to be their friend first. People will accept a lot more from a friend in the way of discussion than they ever will from a stranger. Trust does wonderful things. The command to love one's neighbor as one loves oneself is a direct command to commit and care for those around us in physical as well as mental and spiritual ways.

    When I look at what Jesus did, the only people He confronted were those who thought they knew it all anyway: the Pharisees, Sadduccees (I know one of those letters isn't a double...), and the teachers of the law. With everyone else He was so incredibly gentle and loving!

    About the drunk who had been a Catholic. I am wondering if befriending him wouldn't not have worked just as well?

    Maybe I am picturing this wrong, but when I think of the word 'confrontation' in connection with Christian evangelism, I think of the proverbial banging people over the head with the Bible, which I find horrid.

    "You're a sinner! You are going to HELL! God HATES your sins! But He love you, you dirty rotten person! Here is what the Bible says about your sins ______________________________. Now do you want to go to HELL or so you want to be SAVED from your filthy sins?....."

    etc. etc.

    If that is what is being talked about I reject it entirely as a biblical method of evangelism. And no, we don't lead people to Christ. We can only point the way with our lives, our actions, our words, for as Romans 2 says, it is God's kindness that leads a person to repentance. The Holy Spirit is the One who leads to Christ on behalf of the Father (John 6).

    Yes, you can stop a person from drinking a glass of poisoned water -- for now -- , but that is no guarantee they will then switch to the good stuff. If that 'good stuff' is not made to look good to them through our lives and characters, they won't want to touch it.
     
  7. Primitive Baptist

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    I have a scenario I would like a "soul winner" to answer.

    Perhaps I am "witnessing" to a man, and he informs me that he cares nothing of the Gospel, and he wishes me to leave him alone. Should I strive and beg him to receive the Gospel and believe it? I have seen it over and over again, people out trying to populate heaven and they go back to the same people who have informed them not to bother them with the Gospel because they did not believe it. Trust me, I used to be in an Independent Baptist Church that practiced this. The church would twist arms to get people in the pews. It may have been an issue over how much money was going to be in the plate on the next Lord's day...I don't know. What would the average "soul winner" say to Paul?

    "Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith." (2 Thess. 3:1, 2)

    [ August 11, 2002, 09:23 PM: Message edited by: Primitive Baptist ]
     
  8. Pastor_Bob

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    No, in this situation it is clear to see that this man is not under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. We would do more harm than good by pressing the issue with this individual. My goal as Pastor is to leave each visit having:
    1. Shown concern for the individual. Genuine concern is telling the person the truth about their eternal choices.
    Eph 4:15 "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:"
    2. Left a "good taste in their mouth" regarding the church I Pastor.
    Phil. 2:15 "That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;"
    3. Left the door open for another soulwinner to come by and water the seed that I've planted.
    1Cor 3:6 "I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase."

    Soulwinning isn't 1-2-3 pray after me. It isn't trying to see how many prayers you can sell in a day. Soulwinning is being sensitive to the convicting and drawing power of the Holy Spirit.

    Certainly there is an urgency in soulwinning. I have no gaurantee that the person I am witnessing to will even be here tomorrow. They may not be around to observe my lifestyle. If I feel they are open to the gospel, I take them as far as they will go.

    I didn't get saved the first time someone shared the gospel with me. I'm so glad they didn't give up.
     
  9. Primitive Baptist

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    First of all, the only "choosing" done in regards to eternal salvation was God choosing the elect in Christ before the foundation of the world. Eternal salvation is not a response to a Gospel tract or "altar call."

    "And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest." (Heb. 8:11)
     
  10. HankD

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    Maybe. This man was contrary without any help.
    The door-to-door ministry was new to us and we modified the tactics after the mistakes were made.
    In addition we visited all the parents of children involved with Church activities who didn't attend themselves.
    We also visited about a dozen nursing homes with literature and Scripture on a regular basis.
    Two of them allowed services and prayer meeting.
    The Lord used us in all these ministries.
    Much of it was mildly confrontational (even after some adjustments).
    Many souls were added to the Church.

    HankD
     
  11. Pastor Larry

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    I might add that by "confrontational" I mean witnessing to someone the first time you meet them, not an "in your face" ugly kind of confrontation that the word might connote. The presentation of hte Gospel is never to be offensive, tactless, or mean. We don't need to be ugly about it. It is typically contrasted with relational evangelism or developing redemptive relationships. In this, you pursue a friendship with someone through various means (cookouts, coffee, golf, tennis, sporting events, whatever they like to do that you have a mutual interest in) for the purpose of evangelization. This is by far the better way to go about it, IMO, provided it gets around to evangelism. The problem with relational evangelism is that it tends to be "relational" too long rather than "evangelistic." This works well with people you live around, work around, etc becuase you see them a lot.
     
  12. tfisher

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    Helen,

    It is about finding the approach that works best for you. It depends on the situation, the person to whom you are witnessing, your personality, and most of all the leadership of the Holy Spirit. For example, Peter could be what I would consider very confrontational (Acts 2:14-41). Paul, on the other hand, would take more of an intellectual approach (Acts 17:16-34). Peter's audience was the Jews. Paul's was the Greeks. That is why they had two different styles of evangelism (1 Corinthians 1:22-24). These are not the only two styles of evangelism and at times we may need to use any of them. Take for instance the blind man who was healed in John 9. He did not get into a theological debate. He simply gave his testimony (John 9:25). Personally, I think with your scientific mind, you would be more like Paul. Especially since your audience in the scientific circles are more likely to be the "Greeks" (1 Cor 1:23).
     
  13. Naomi

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    Sharing the gospel is something we should all be doing. Not out of legalism, but out of a grateful heart [​IMG]
    Evangelism is my life. I have learned from my mistakes in the past. (I hope) LOL!
    I do remember a time that I told someone they are going to hell if they continue in their beliefs.
    Here is what happened:

    I always invite JW'S into my home when they come knocking. I listen to what they say, and I ask them if I may also share, since I respectfully listened to them. They always say yes! I stay on the subject of who Jesus is. I share with them that if by no other name can one be saved, we should know the real Jesus. They agree. I share with them, often using their own translation, as you can show them even in their own translation of the bible that Jesus is God in the flesh.
    At the end of my presentation of Jesus, I told these ladies (with much compassion) that if what they were saying is true, I have nothing to lose, because I am doing everything they say to be a christian. But...if what I am saying is true, they have everything to lose, because they are denying the *DEITY* of Jesus. If we believe what the scriptures say, then hell is real, and they would qualify on the basis that they rejected Him.

    It was totally quiet for a minute, one of the women was trying to refute what I had said and asked how could I say that as they work so hard, and they do not see us out going door to door. As she was saying this, she was visibly shaking and she was welling up in tears. I knew it was the Holy Spirit ministering to her. It was like she was seeing it, but did not want to admit it.

    I believe the Holy Spirit can reach people better then we can. Before we witness, we need to pray, and rely on the Holy Spirit.

    Naomi
     
  14. stubbornkelly

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    Interesting. In a sense, isn't all witnessing is confrontational? You are asking (implicitly or explicitly) a person to confront his or her mortality, and then to confront his or her relationship (or lack thereof) with Christ. In other words, you are the catalyst for the confrontation a person has with him- or herself and God. I know that's not the sense in which the word is being used here, but thought I'd bring it up.

    I'll be honest - I get tired of the "if you died tonight, do you know for certain you will go to heaven?" routine. First of all, when it is asked of me, it's not by anyone I know, which makes it kinda intrusive, and second, it's most often asked in a derisive manner, as though the questioner has made up his or her mind that I am unsaved, and is playing the "good Christian soul saver." I know, that's very cynical, but it's a learned response I have. Too many Sunday mornings hearing about the "fun" my Sunday School class had running around downtown, going up to complete strangers and asking this question, then shaking their heads (at the "poor sinner") because the stranger reacted badly. I couldn't help but sit there and think "What'd you expect?" First, they accosted a stranger, and with a religious inquiry to boot - that tends to make people mad for one of many reasons. Either they're like me, and reacting negatively to the tone and assumption, or they're having internal strife about God and Jesus, or just plain mad at all the "Bible thumpers" dipping in their business. Either way, going up to strangers like that doesn't seem the best way. I've found that most people - even if they want to learn - aren't very open to praying with people who seem to be just after them for a notch. It does seem somewhat shady to start a relationship in this way, IMNSHO - like you're only in the relationship for the saving. I think the last thing we'd want to be doing is to make someone think that we only care about getting our toaster or keychain - no matter how personal the matter of salvation is, it can seem very impersonal to the person being witnessed to, depending on the approach used.

    What I'm getting at is that I've met too many people think witnessing means going around to strangers and asking "the question." You can take a conversation there, but I don't find it good to start with. Otherwise, it's negatively confrontational. Compelling someone to Christ doesn't mean dragging them kicking and screaming, does it?

    We should always remember that not all non-Christians are atheists. Many, if not most, non-Christians already have a theistic belief system. We need to be mindful of that. By that I don't mean that we have to agree with their religion, or anything like that, but we do have to acknowledge that it, most often, isn't as easy as going up to someone, showing them the gospel and waiting for them to say, "Wow! I was an empty vessel, but you showed me!" I've asked people before, "What would it take for you to turn from Christ to another religion?" Most of the time, I'm told that "nothing could do that!" Well, it stands to reason, then, that that is the sentiment we are "up against" with non-Christians. Most believe in their religion just as strongly as we believe in ours. I too often hear it taken for granted that if they're not Christian, they must be nothing, and thus it'll be sooo easy to get them to see the light. Wrong!

    I'm not trying to be defeatist - just realistic. I'm not saying that because someone has a faith other than Christianity they're a "lost cause," only that we need to mindful of that and act accordingly. I'm saying that in addition to the active sharing of gospel, we need to concentrate on the person. Is it better to go around to 100 people and ask "the question," then scurry off, or to invest in one or two people? I can't say I know absolutely the answer to that question, but I definitely lean toward the latter.

    Helen, I get the same image you do when I hear "confrontational witnessing." It's not a pleasant image! I think it's important to be forthright, but a bad idea to try and scare someone into salvation, which is what "the question" does. And is salvation gotten out of fear truly salvation, anyway? I don't think so.

    It's funny, my father once had a customer ask him "the question," and my father responded with the same question. The man got very upset that my father would "question his faith," even after my father told him that he had always taught and been taught that you should know who you're praying with. It was as though it was unthinkable my father should ask the question in return, but this man had every right to ask it of my father. My father finally answered the question in the affirmative, but chose not to pray with this man at that time. A few weeks later, the man came back and they had a great conversation and a few minutes of prayer time.

    So, in the end, that tactic worked well, but I'm not sure for whom it worked better -- my father or his customer . . . .
     
  15. Daniel David

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    Isn't the cross supposed to be offensive? I know we aren't. However, when delivering the gospel message, we are (at least by implication) saying that the other party is going to hell. We are calling them sinners. We do say that they must repent.

    Helen, Christ said to make disciples. That isn't just taking saved people and working with them. People must be saved. Thus, His command implies that they would be converted.
     
  16. HankD

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    Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

    Each according to their gift(s)?

    [ August 12, 2002, 04:12 PM: Message edited by: HankD ]
     
  17. stubbornkelly

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    I think the distinction is in how it is said. Yes, it's going to be offensive to someone to suggest that they will go to hell if they are not saved. But one doesn't have to be offensive with the manner by which they tell it.

    To go up to a person and just tell them they're going to go to hell unless they listen and pray to be saved is rude, not necessarily offensive. How effective is it to make a person mad?

    To actually show concern for a person and the issue of their salvation isn't offensive at all. When someone comes up to me and gives me "the question," the impression I have is that they're looking to get their toaster. When someone comes up to me in friendship and tells me about their relationship with Christ and shares their beliefs, the impression I have is that they want to share and are actually concerned for me. If I were an unsaved person, I can't imagine taht I would respond to the first kind of 'witnessing.' It doesn't seem like witnessing; rather it feels like an attack. Most people don't respond well to attacks. That's why I find the random approaches offensive. It's not what's being said - it's the way it's being done.

    If we witness to people because we truly care about them and their soul, mustn't we behave in a caring manner? Brusqueness feels like salesmanship, and that's not the spirit of wtinessing, at least not as I understand it. I believe in sharing with people, not lecturing at them. I haven't seen that lecturing a person will lead them to Christ. That is the point of witnessing, after all, isn't it? To lead people to Christ? If our manner turns people away from Christ (and we all know that many people who have bad experiences with Christians will stay away from Christianity . . . how many times have any of us heard "wow - you're not like all those other Christians I've met at all!"), we aren't doing our job.

    I spent a lot of time discussing religion in college, with Christians and non-Christians alike. I always found it amusing that some people liked to say "It's fine if that's what they believe, but they shouldn't tell me I'm going to hell if I don't believe it." I was amused, because, even though they didn't realize it, those people were actually saying that it wasn't okay for Christians to believe as we do. Part of being Christian is believing that the only way to heaven is through Christ, and all other paths lead to hell, right? So if it isn't okay to believe that Christianity is the only way, it's not okay to be Christian. Right? These people would shake their heads in bewilderment, not understanding the logic.

    Long ramble short -- it is entirely possible to tell someone that they are going to hell without Christ in a positive manner. What's that song? Acccentuate the positive . . . .
     
  18. Naomi

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    Originally posted by stubbornkelly:
    I think it's important to be forthright, but a bad idea to try and scare someone into salvation, which is what "the question" does. And is salvation gotten out of fear truly salvation, anyway? I don't think so.

    Wow Kelly!
    You have made soooooo many good points! I can relate to alot of what you wrote. I think it really depends on the situation at hand. But most of all it depends upon motive.
    We must ask ourselves what our motives are. Is it to gain recognition? Is it to feel good about ourselves because we have helped the Lord out? Or because we really have a "saved by works" mentality?
    I realize there are many reasons why people witness. People may get saved in spite of it! LOL!
    Cults, such as JWs witness because they have to. They are instructed to go door to door to accomplish this. Fear is their motivater.
    I asked a woman, who I had invited in my home, to share with me as to why she is going to door. She told me it is Jehovahs command. I asked her to please be honest with me, why are you doing this? Same reply. I asked her if she really cared if I knew who Jehovah was. She said she did care. I then asked her if she had anything to gain by me "studying" with her. She said "no". I asked her if she would be recognized in the Kingdom Hall based upon how many "hours" and how many "people" she studied with. At this point, the more experienced person changed the subject.
    See, I was trying to show her true motives. We both knew the answer to that question.
    I asked her before she left, if the tables were turned, and I showed up at your home, would you invite me in to share the "truth" with me because you cared about my eternal salvation, and wanted to show me the truth. She looked at the other woman, and looked back at me and replied, "no, I guess I wouldn't." I told her I invited them into my home for the sole purpose of sharing Jesus with them. Nobody knew from church, and I had no hours to document. I told her how it is only because of my Love for Jesus and how He has set me free, that compels me to share with others.
    I cannot say what happened from that point. I only plant seeds.
    Others may water. We are all in this together!
    I guess the bottom line here is that we, as christians need to love others and care about where they are going to spend eternity. Sometimes people don't need the gospel preached to them, as much as they need the gospel shown to them. Then, we have the means to share Jesus with them.
    The gospel came to us not only in word, but in power as well. We need to shine forth what is inside of us. Unbeliever's are not looking for correct theology (The preaching of the cross would be foolish to them) they want to see someone actually living out what they are preaching about. Then the cross would make sense to them. They would embrace it instead of reject it.

    Naomi
     
  19. Naomi

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    also...I remember, when I first was saved, we were picketing an abortion clinic (I was a new Christian) one of the girls looked at me and said she has no money to raise this baby. She has no choice.
    I had to ask myself what I was willing to do about this. I could not see Jesus doing this. I wanted to be a part of the solution to this problem I was contesting to.
    About 4 years later, we began to do Foster-Care, and now we have adopted. We have always worked with the parents, and alot of them are attending church. It takes more than just picketing, or talking about it. We need to really exercise our Faith, and examine our motives for what we do.
    Either we believe that the scriptures are true, and that Jesus meant what He said, and said what He meant. He showed by example that His main mission was to show men the way to salvation. He told us to do the same.
    Sometimes we can reach the masses, and sometimes it is just one soul at a time. We should not put more importance on certain groups of people who we witness to. Jesus cares just as much about the smelly, dirty homeless person, as He does about the CEO of the company. We have had the opportunities to witness to both! Jesus knows how to reach them. We just need to pray, and ask God to lead us to someone, and ask for wisdom and guidance from the Holy Spirit. After all, isn't this the reason to have the Holy Spirit dwell inside us?

    Sorry this is so long, but you said so many things that are so true, and it sparked a "tangent" inside of me! LOL!
    Naomi
     
  20. TomVols

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    Agreed. However, there are times that in the evangelism process we must "confront" people with the truth of the gospel and "confront" them with their need to respond. It all must be done naturally.
     

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