Sunday, April 24, 2016

What the Heck Did I Just Do?

Are you an "Evangelical"? In a recent article, Christianity Today provided four defining characteristics to help you to know. Today I’d like to focus on the second defining characteristic.  Number two states:

"It is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior."

Based on that one, I might be in trouble!

Truthfully, that one scares me a bit, but not in the way you'd expect. I am not afraid to tell anyone about Jesus. That's actually pretty easy...and often completely ineffective and in my view, mostly pointless in today's post-Christian culture.

When I was a "church guy”, one of the things we were often challenged to do was to “share” our faith. That basically meant, get out there and ask people, "If you died today, where would you spend eternity?" This was followed up with a bit of "You're a sinner", "You're going die and go to Hell", and finished with, "Now, pray this prayer and ask Jesus into your heart so you won't split Hell wide open"...and it NEVER really produced any real fruit.

Oh yeah, I had a few "lucky"souls pray that prayer, but looking back, I wonder what in the world were we really doing? Honestly, I have to believe anyone we "reached for Jesus" had to be left with a large dose of "What the heck did I just do?"

So, what do you think?  Is that really what it means to “encourage non-Christians” with the Gospel?  I just don’t think that was ever our Lord’s plan.

It all reminds me of some kind of twisted arranged marriage.  “Okay my daughter, we’ve decided we know what’s best for you, so here’s the boy you’re going to spend the rest of your life with.  The wedding is Saturday…congrats!"

I’m just not convinced that’s a recipe for life-long marital bliss.  Where’s the romance?

Indeed, I’d say the same thing of our approach to “winning” people to Jesus…what about the romance?

I don’t care how many or few steps your particular method of evangelism uses, if there’s no romance, there’s no love!  No love…no relationship…no relationship…NO ANYTHING!

At the end of the day, what does it really mean to be a child of God?  For me it means knowing Him, and better yet, knowing that He knows me!  Sure, I’m a card carrying “get out of Hell free” club member, but that’s NOT what holds me steady when life turns upside down and inside out.  Only His love can do that, and if all people ever experience is a cold, “Here’s Jesus, now pray to Him so you don’t burn in Hell” presentation, they will completely miss the heart of the Gospel!

Isn’t it about time we quit “encouraging non-Christians to trust Jesus as their Savior”, and instead started sharing with them His unfathomable grace and love?

Friends, the world is gagging on the "religion" of Christianity, and they’re weary of our loveless, “chalk up another one for Jesus” approach.

Bottom line:  True evangelism starts with love, ends with love, and always shares the joy of knowing the one who loves the unlovable.

So, am I an “evangelical”?  I guess that would depend on who you’re asking, Christianity Today…or Jesus.

What about you?