Witnessing question

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by SolaSaint, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. SolaSaint

    SolaSaint
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    I witness to a lot of young men usually in their twenties. When I witness I will get to know them first which may take a hour or two or a few days. I have noticed a trend by the majority of those I witness to. They have very fowl language, tell crude jokes about sex mostly, and the are very fond of drinking and partying. After I have gathered this much about them I ask them about their spiritual life and to my astonishment the majority of those who have these vices claim to be Christians and many within the SBC. Once they find out I'm a Christian I see no change in their language or crude jokes unless I ask them not to.

    I have two questions concerning this: Should I challenge their salvation with scripture or remain nutral about their vices? Secondly, does anyone else experience this?
     
  2. ReformedBaptist

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    I have experienced this, and yes I do believe we should challenge them from the Scriptures.
     
  3. Ruiz

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    The famous saying, "Sometimes you have to get a person lost before you get them saved" is appropriate in this context.
     
  4. glfredrick

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    I see much of the same things... Only, I often find an apologetic tone once they realize that they are in the presence of a pastor. I believe that is changing rapidly, however. It seems that certain secular writers like Dawkins and Hitchens have given permission to ridicule the church and her leaders, even if their arguments were against straw men and often self-refuting.

    Because of the tenor of our post-Christian era, I have worked to include an apologetic angle to my witnessing encounters. In research work that I have participated in (Thom Rainer, The Unchurched Next Door) I/we have learned that certain people will respond to a direct gospel (Scriptural) presentation and some will not -- they need to "move" closer to the cross (in a manner of speaking) before they will even heed the fact that there is a God who has revealed Himself. Apologetics, while not salvific in and of themselves, are helpful tools to build a case for the existence of God, which can then lead to the Word, which does carry the means to life through the power of the Holy Spirit who confirms in the dead heart that what they hear is the truth of God.
     
  5. HAMel

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    I knew an older man who was a Prison Missionary both in Wisconsin and here in North Carolina.

    He related that while witnessing to inmates many admitted to being "born again" and many admitted having attended Church's that preached Salvation through Jesus. Many admitted to be in prison because they "walked away" from the Lord. Of course, most prisoners become "religious" while inside but some are genuine and know why they are incarcerated.
     
  6. SolaSaint

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    It's nice to know I'm not alone. I forgot to add that these men almost always lie about much of what they say. They seem like they have to make their life stories so amazing and andventurous.

    It seems to me many young people are making a profession of faith through a seeker type church or small group. Seems to me this is just a superficial adding of Jesus to their lives. They still continue to sin as they always have with no change in their lives at all. I still believe they are lost and we must tell them the truth, but how to do that with gentleness and respect is where I need help. It should be easy since they are professing Christians, but I'm concerned if you show them in scripture where they are not truly saved they won't have a clue because they have been taught they are saved and they don't even check it out in scripture. Seeker churches seem to steer away from assuring salvation IMO.
     
  7. glfredrick

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    I am now part of a very young church. Planted 10 years ago, with the idea of reaching the un-reachable generation younger than 30 years old. The church has been wildly successful and now runs over 2000 on a typical Sunday in 6 (soon to be 7) services in 3 (soon to be 4) venues across the area.

    The culture of the church would admittedly make most typical Baptists very uncomfortable -- they could rightly be considered "liberal" in culture (as is our current generation) -- but theologically, the church is solid, with a Reformed bent, and with the Gospel as the centerpoint of all that is done.

    No punches are pulled in the messages, and people are called out about their sin(s). Church discipline is a regular and normal part of our leadership activity, and it can and will be used against those who blatantly sin. The church is lead by a core of talented elders and pastors who challenge each other and the body to live like Christ, and lives are being changed.

    The average member steps out of an atheist or agnostic lifestyle; common in the membership are those who have turned from illicit drugs, alcohol, rampant sexuality, and other all too common perversions of our age. In the community group I lead, I have one woman who came out of an explicit satanic cult, where she, from the age of 3 onward, was offered up as a sexual sacrifice to a "mock Jesus" who repeatedly raped her in front of a gathered crowd for years (until she escaped and came to know the true Jesus!). I have another couple that came out of the "Goth" lifestyle, with all that represents. What a treat to see these people hunger and thirst for the Word of God, and become loving disciples of Christ. These unwanted ones would put a lot of run-of-the-mill Sunday church goers to shame with their committed walk! I know... I've been the pastor of a lot of those sort of people for quite a few years.

    The first "trick" to evangelizing these "unwanted ones" is to stop judging them and hating them. That is not to say that we turn a blind eye toward their sin -- by all means no! But, before we toss their sin in their face, we start by loving, then sharing, then living before them, then teaching. It is often a long process with no rewarding "instant" prayer to receive Christ the first time the gospel is shared. We do not feature a typical altar call, as that would probably not work well in our setting.

    Rather, people sneak out the back and talk over coffee. We communicate widely via electronic means -- always second place over face-to-face time, but taking advantage of the fact that this generation considers electronic media co-equal to face time. They do not draw the same distinctions that we older generation do, so we must learn to contextualize their culture in order to reach them, versus a straw man version of them that does not really exist.
     
  8. freeatlast

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    Absolutely challenge their salvation with scripture and pray for them. This is not some simple isolated issue. The church today is in big trouble. In my opinion most who profess to be saved really are not. You will find that people who use foul language have many other sins in their life. Over 20 years ago Billy Graham stated that perhaps as many as 50% of those who claim to be saved really are not. Today in my opinion it is closer to 80% or even more. We are warned that there would come a falling away and we are now seeing it. So confront them and warn them to examine themselves as we are told to do. By the way expect to come under persecution.
     
  9. Jon-Marc

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    I've experienced the same thing with people claiming to be Christians, but you can't tell by their life or their language. One man said to me, "I'm a Christian too." Then he used God's name in vain.
     
  10. freeatlast

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    Hedre in lies the problem. Very few today that claim to be Christians even believe the bible. In fact many even try and convince others that it cannot be believed. Jesus said this;
    Matt. 7:20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
    Matt. 12:24 "Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

    It is not a situation of not being able to know. It is a problem of not believing the Lord. So yes we can tell if we believe! :smilewinkgrin:
     
  11. SolaSaint

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    Fred, the men I'm talking about are not the unwanted or unchurched, they are the average man who claims to be a Christian. I feel what you do is targeted to a different group of men. Also I'm a little concerned about the link to sojourn church? Is this in anyway connected to Sojourners and Jim Wallis? If so I challenge you to be a Berean on this. God bless.
     
  12. gb93433

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    I find that the majority have not been taught to obey all of Jesus' commands. They have learned to be good pew sitters but not how to carry out Jesus' commands. Preaching does not accomplish Mt. 5:19 and 28:19,20.
     
  13. Earth Wind and Fire

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    At a certain age I would have probably just ignored you & would tell you not to speak to me.
     
  14. righteousdude2

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    Thanks for the Confirmation

    .... this is exactly what my new book will be discussing in depth. Your findings only serve to substantiate my premise.

    Could I use your quote [from the post]? It would be great to place somewhere in the book.
    And if you want me to use your name, send it to me in PM.

    Thanks brother,

    Pastor Paul :type:
     
  15. SolaSaint

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    Paul is your post directed to me?
     
  16. righteousdude2

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    Most Definitely

    Sorry if I didn't make that clear. I'd appreciate your permission to use your opening statement and question. It is right in line with my topic, and would be a neat quote to put somewhere in one of the chapters.

    Paul
     
  17. glfredrick

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    We are not part of the Wallis group. Not in any way, shape, or form. The name matches -- but that is all. Our staff, for the most part, have graduated from Southern Seminary, and we are Southern Baptist, though that part of our identity is not pushed forward as our leading move to the public at large. I've read "Sojourners" and find it most reprehensible. It is, in essence (IMHO), the "falling away" that was predicted in the Scriptures. I do note, however, just how much they enjoy the "spiritual" writings of persons like Richard Foster.

    We are also sharing the gospel with "regular people," many of whom have some religious claim to Christianity, but who are not really of the Lord in the biblical manner. :thumbs:

    You can find some of the work I've done here:
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/0310286123/?tag=baptis04-20

    Oh, and if you would actually click the Sojourn link, you could find out about our church. That's why I posted it.

    Here is a video our church produced showing some of what it is that we do:
    http://vimeo.com/10529836

    There are a ton of other videos on our Vimeo video channel. You can see a lot of what we do as Sojourn Church there.
    Our leaders and church are also part of Baptist21, the Acts 29 group, etc.
     
    #17 glfredrick, Aug 22, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2010
  18. SolaSaint

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    Thanks for the reply, I'm relieved to hear you aren't a Jim Wallis fan. How do you approach someone who professes to be born-again but doesn't dieplay any fruit of the Spirit?
     
  19. Berean

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    Unless the Holy Spirit prepare the way you are going to meet all kinds of resistance and diversions. All we are told to do is to tell them the Good News (Gospel) and the Spirit will do the rest. No one comes to Christ except they are called. If they are under conviction you will more then likely have a more meaningful and civil presentation.
     
  20. glfredrick

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    Unfortunately, I get to do this all the time...

    Generally, I'll start asking exploratory questions -- issues that would never offend a true believer, but if answered incorrectly point out someone who has their faith and/or trust in something other than the Cross of Christ, as expressed biblically. For instance, "Tell me about the time when you accepted Jesus as your Savior." To a believer, this is generally cause to celebrate the testimony of salvation. To a non-believer (or merely religious person) the answer may be something that has to do with "always being a part of the church" or perhaps "I did this and I did that..." with no real mention of the scriptural mandate to repent and be born again from above.

    Sometimes I just "share the gospel in this new way that I've been playing around with..." to gauge response.

    What I seldom do is hard-sell the gospel via a bunch of Bible verses. After knocking on over 15,000 doors in my career as a church planter, and sharing my faith with thousands of other people in all sorts of scenarios, I've seldom found the sharing of straight up Bible verses very effective. Generally, a relationship-building conversation can lead to the place where one can mention Scripture, but if the person is un-saved, Scripture is as often a turn off as it is a workable solution. NOTE: That does not mean that I have a low view of Scripture or of the power of the Holy Spirit through the Word. Not at all! The direct revelation of Scripture is the gospel, and the means God chose to use to bring sinners to salvation. But, to the unbeliever, the Scriptures taste like death, and sometimes I want to spend some time with them instead of just shot-gunning the Word at them like some sort of magical talisman. I'll speak scriptural concepts to see the reaction, then go from there.

    One other thing... I'm never shocked when sinful people sin. That is sort of what they do, no? When persons who are supposed to be "churched" come out hard and strong against the true Christian witness, that may be a tool that they are using to see if you can pass some sort of test -- to find out if your faith is real or not -- and/or -- to find out if theirs is. People who do that sort of thing are often not set against Christ, but rather against "stuffy" church people, who they see as weird (and rightly so!).

    I know that I've sure met some weird dudes (and dude-etts) in church. People I would hardly ever associate with if not for church as a matter of fact. Churchy people seldom get just how weird they can appear to people who are marginal in their faith, and oftentimes it is the church and the stuff one must do to gain admittance, that chases the prospective convert away. Wish it were not so, but after doing a number of church assessments, I've seen this way too often.

    Where do all those deacons find the green leisure suits and why do little old ladies have blue hair? ;) Why does the church insist on singing songs written in the late 1800s or early 1900s instead of something relevant? Why do they insist on playing those hymns badly instead of having quality instrumentalists take care of business? Why do church members fight at business meetings -- don't they love the Lord? These and a ton of other questions come up (or something like them) when I witness to religious persons who do not show fruit in keeping with authentic Christianity.

    The bigger question to me is, "How are we going to identify those persons who are merely religiously effected and not truly regenerate?" That is the tougher issue. The Scriptures have some things to say about judging people's salvation (yes, we can inspect fruit), and the "judge not" passage seems to be the only one that people who are not really God's know. I have a couple of answers, but they tend to require overhauling the church as most operate. It takes true and authentic Christian community to get to the heart of the matter and to truly "know" who is and is not a believer, but that community rarely (from my observation) exists in most churches. Everyone shows up on Sunday, puts on their Sunday happy face, and endures the worship service before heading back to the car and whatever vices are practiced for the other 6.5 days of the week. Pastoral or deacon family visits are rare and not really effective (for the most part) and so the church doesn't really even know who is or is not a regenerate member for sure. I know that I've sure been surprised over the years...

    Case in point, a dear sweet middle-aged lady who ministered every week at one church I led. Her's was the picture one would find in the encyclopedia under "saved Christian". She taught Sunday school, was the clerk of the church for over 20 years, and never missed a service. Her husband was a scoundrel and a drunk, and she asked prayer for him constantly. From all appearances she was the real deal. Yet, after one sermon where the gospel was shared in a non-conventional way, she realized that she had no testimony of ever coming to Christ at one point in time, and she came forward to ask how to receive Christ. Everyone in the church, including me, was shocked. This could not be! But it was. She humbled herself, prayed and asked Christ to be her Savior and asked to be baptized. If she was the prototypical Christian before, after she was born anew, she was on fire! She glowed with the light of the Spirit and led many a person, including her husband, to Christ. What a difference! Her coming to Christ sparked a mini-revival in the church and we saw multiple other persons coming out and accepting Christ. We led our association in baptism for 2 years after this event, as God used this woman to spark a renewal that we had been praying to see for quite some time.
     

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