Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Few Late-Night Thoughts on Evangelism

My friend Dave, in his usual way, cuts through the stuff pretty succinctly in this post which, to my way of thinking, is essentially about evangelism.

In it, he talks briefly of those who want to become experts on what other people believe. In my conclusion, we end up with people who know a whole lot about other religions, and don’t know any people who actually practice (or claim to practice) those other religions.

He closes with this:

The best apologetic is to know the Word of God well and simply dialogue with people who need Christ. What do they believe? Not in the sense of what most Christians "believe" on paper ... but what do they really believe in their hearts, about the world, themselves, where they've come from, and where they're going?

Perhaps if we want to know what people believe, we should not read books; we should go ask people.

Of course that requires getting out and talking to people. And that takes some boldness. And that’s why we read books about what other people believe. It’s easier.

I am increasingly skeptical about the value of knowing more about someone’s religion than they know. Of course, I think it helps to know about other religions. But how is my evangelism helped by knowing more than the other guy knows about what he is supposed to believe? Do I really need to refute something he doesn’t believe anyway?

Perhaps if we just go ask a few questions and then listen a little while, we can learn what we need to know about what other people believe, and then know how to point them to Jesus.

1 comment:

Don Johnson said...


In a recent evangelism seminar at our church, Jeff Musgrave emphasized much the same thing. He thinks we need to get away from an apologetic approach and get to the heart issues people are dealing with and let the Scripture itself do its convicting work.

I think I have been too much at trying to prove the truth (apologetic approach) rather than let the truth prove itself in my past evangelistic efforts. I don't know if a change will mean more effectiveness, but I am encouraged by the ideas we learned to be a better questioner and listener, hoping to be able to point hearts to the answer of their deepest need.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3