Converting and evangelizing?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Freedom! self reliance : One Thread
OK, this is going to open a big can of worms. So let's try hard to be civil and non-imflammatory. I have always had a difficult time trying to evangelize or convert other people. The reason is that I could be wrong! I'm not sure that I have all the answers or have the correct understanding of everything yet. Yes, I read the bible, and study it, and struggle with trying to understand things. If I were only going to go and quote bible verses I could probably do that. But going to try and convert something seems to assume that #1 They are wrong and need to be corrected #2 and I am right and have to convince them of it! What if they're right and I'm wrong but don't know it? If they're wrong, but I'm wrong too? Or worse, and most likely, if I'm partly right but partly wrong?
What if I quote the truth, but my example is so poor that I actually drive them away from the truth? I feel like that would be worse than never telling them anything at all. There are so many denominations and doctrinal differences. They all say they're right and can find a verse to prove it. There's one thing I DO know beyond a doubt, and that's what our example is supposed to be. An example matters, and if we can't live what we preach our message is worthless for all practical purposes.
Anyway, how do you feel about this and how do you deal with it?
-- Rebekah (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 22, 2001
I've often thought precisely those same thoughts. That's why I've always tried to live my life by simply following the "Golden Rule". That way, I truly believe that somehow everything would work out okay. I've always tried to live my life as an example. Sometimes I do pretty good, other times not so good. But I think the important thing is to keep trying.
Everyone believes in something. Even Atheists believe in something. Even if it isn't my belief I certainly don't think I'd ever be able to convience them (or anyone else) with mere words. Aren't most wars fought with the belief that "God is on our side."? How can that be?
Thank you for sharing those thoughts.
Wishing you enough.
-- Dianne in Mass (email@example.com), June 22, 2001.
Our words save no one, God's words have the saving power. We say the words, the Holy Spirit pierces the heart with them. If you are sincerely sharing what you know to be true, that Christ died for our sins and we are all in need of salvation, then let the Holy Spirit do the rest. No one comes to God but that He draws them. I'm not always very quick on my feet and I'm not one who can memorize and quote line after line of scripture, but I know what Jesus has done for me. Thats what I share. I also have prayed fervently for opportunity to witness to various loved ones, and have had them ask me about matters of faith. Never underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit to lead both your words and the other person's heart. And remember, it's not about denominations or doctrine, but about how much God loves us and wants a relationship with us.
-- melina b. (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 22, 2001.
Rebekah, no one on earth is capable of completely living a Christ like life. We are still in the flesh and not one single person was completely in line with Christ and His most precious example in all of history. That doesn't excuse us from trying. The best way to make no mistakes is to not do anything. Our entire lives are missions in a sense. We are challenged to be His representatives as we are still at war with the flesh.
On knowing it's the TRUTH...the bible is constantly being proven by science much to the chagrin of many scientists who hold their intellect as their god. Look at archeology as a start. Pretty durn cool, I think. I am sold out to the complete and inerrant Truth of the Bible. I don't doubt it, and I sure don't understand it all, but almost everyday, I grasp it a bit more.
Other than that, I want to thank melinab for saying what I would have said!
-- Doreen (email@example.com), June 22, 2001.
Rebekah: I posted this on BTS and on another thread here at FSR.
We don't feel compelled or commanded to preach that our way is the only way and some of "them" do. I think most of us here at BTS are content to assume responsibility for our own souls and tend to our own souls in the way that best suits our nature and makes sense to us, to find peace, contentment, love and satisfaction from life while at the same time "helping" and giving back to life by the choices we consciously make. That comes in different ways for different people (viva la difference!) but the common thread that SHOULD unite us all, regardless of "faith", is our common human experience and mutual compassion and respect.
That shouldn't be taken to mean that those of us who call ourselves something other than Christian are without a moral compass tho or that we lack spiritual ideals that we aspire to.
We don't need "saving" because we've enlisted the aid of THE higher power who dwells within us ALL as WE individually relate to it. I personally call that the Christos and other people call the same thing by a different name. That spirit is universal and it goes by many different names.
The people who need saving Hoot, if you're listening, are the ones without a moral compass, without a "Higher purpose", without Love and compassion in their heart and life, and not necessarily those who are a different kind of Christian than you or even a "different" kind of person than you. For you to think otherwise is presumptous and arrogant IMO.
Like it or not we are ALL subject to how we, individually, determine the ultimate meaning of this or that bible verse or whatever. Even if the bible is inerrant,(and I'm not personally suggesting it is) is that any guarantee OUR interpretation of it is also? I think not!---- and that fact alone should give anyone pause, and create in us at least a germ of humility when facing something or someone who believes differently than us.
No intellectually honest and sincere person could say that is not so without claiming inerrancy for themselves in the same breath. Yet thats is how "they" come across to me sometimes.
To do otherwise seems arrogant and presumptous to me. I don't doubt the sincerity of many "born agains" but I think their efforts are misguided. Help and wittness to those who ask you to or those without the moral compass, or higher purpose mentioned earlier and if you must judge, then judge by the works. Are we kind, constructive, well meaning, compassionate etc? If so then consider you're among friends that its not necessary to preach to or at.
"They" sadly will see this as Christian bashing however and some will whine "persecution" when its just good sense to me.
I would only ad that believing something don't make it so. There's a certain amount of wisdom in some insecurity in our lives and this is one area where theres alot IMO.
Having faith in Christ is a good thing. Believing you have all the correct answers and have a true and correct understanding is not.
-- john (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 23, 2001.
Rebekah, it's not your/our job to convert, that's the work of the Holy Spirit. Our job is to present the gospel in the way God gives us to do so. God has given each of us a certain gift.-teaching, exhorting, organizing, etc. Not all of us are warriors, or speakers.
Faith/trust comes as we mature in Christ. If we're walking with God on the path that He has for us, He'll let us know the when, what, how, etc of what to say. Being over zealous and pushy can really delay a good plan. God, of course, can use mistakes, but.....
It's exciting to be writing and/or talking and have all the words come out and you know you weren't the author. God Bless
-- Cindy (S.E.IN) (email@example.com), June 23, 2001.
ON evangelize or convert.
First off you can evangelize and witness to people. You cant convert someone who doesnt want to be converted. Maybe its not time for that person to find God. It may not happen over night. It may take several years before they ar willing to offer themself to the Lord. You can however plant the seed of God in their minds, You can pray that the holly spirt come and touch them.
You can evangelize in many ways.
Preaching, If you know all the Words and know what they mean and how to use them this may be for you. For some people this may work, for others this may turn them off. For me this can be a turn off if not done correctly.
Witness to them, Tell them what God has done for you. I personally dont know all the right words to preach, so I use this method. Remember The simple answer given in John 9:25 He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. Tell people what God has done for you. You can use your words and talk to people.
You can be a bringer. Simply says, I dont know all the reasons but come to church and let those who do talk with you.
-- Gary (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 28, 2001.