Beneath the Tangles isn’t your typical aniblog. While we certainly discuss anime – lots of it – our purpose goes further than that, “beneath the tangles” of entertainment and animation. We seek to look at what we believe are spiritual truths as they are demonstrated through anime. We also want to engage our readers in discussion related to religion and spirituality, to encourage people to dig deeper into faith and question what they believe to be true.
To help accomplish as much, I’ll be doing a biweekly series asking questions related to Christianity, religion, and/or spirituality. Through November, I’ll post every other Wednesday, posting questions that I hope will give you pause and maybe stir some discussion.
Today’s questions are about evangelism:
- What are your thoughts on evangelism. Do you find it necessary? Annoying? Improper?
- What does your faith, if you have one, teach you about evangelism?
- Do you practice evangelism yourself? How so?
Please comment below with your responses as we engage each other about faith.
17 thoughts on “Come and See: Do You Evangelize?”
Just read the Great Commission at church on Sunday. A few verses before the scripture most of us are familiar at the end of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus rebukes the 11 disciples for their “unbelief and hardness of heart…”(Mark 16:14-20 ESV). It made me think I need to be more intentional and bold about sharing Christ. At times I am lacking in both those categories. Another way to share Christ this time of year is to assemble shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. More than that though we need to look for those divine appointments were we can be used to speak truth into people’s lives. Paul says in Romans 10:14-15 that we need to verbalize it and not just leave it up to tracts, emails, etc which can also be instruments used by God. Prayer draws us close to the heart of God and His heart is for people to have salvation in Him. John 3:16 sums it up and is a good verse to really seriously ponder…
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
I’m glad you mentioned Operation Christmas Child, Chris. I help coordinate our church’s efforts with that program each year. It’s a really wonderful way to reach out to kids in love and to share our joy surrounding Christ’s birth as well as the good news itself.
A little known fact is this: A big misconception is that St. Francis of Assisi once said, “Preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words.” This is actually an anachronism, as there is no evidence that he ever said that. As in Chris’s post, Romans 10 speaks a lot to this. Unfortunately, due to the fact that all people are born dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1), we know we will receive lots of opposition to preaching the gospel.
Now how to do it, that’s more up to interpretation, but generally this is how I see it: you go to church to hear the pastor preach the Word (where he preaches the Gospel, if you’ve got a good pastor!). Outside church, you then try different approaches to evangelism, like the shoeboxes Chris talked about which I used to work on when I was in elementary school, and also even this blog.
That’s an interesting approach, Tommy. I absolutely agree that outside of a church setting, we should approach evangelism in a variety of ways. Some people will tell you there’s a specific method that must be used, but people are different, and different approaches can and should be used for different people, though we should always keep in mind that we’re witnessing out of love – both for God and for people.
Evangelism, huh? My opinion on this shifts around.
I don’t believe that the way I think is the only true way, so I don’t have an urge to convert people into worshippers of my God. On the other hand, the main tenets of my worldview involve detesting anyone who would attempt, as a human, to judge people for the things they cannot change or for their worldview. I therefore attempt to “convert” people to….I don’t know….having rational discussions even when they don’t agree with each other? XD Like this whole website, for instance. You guys rock. :3
There is an irony to the way I think of things. I cannot evangelize because I do not, in fact cannot believe there is any absolute Truth. If I did I would have to believe that loving (Really honestly loving for decades, not just falling in love) the wrong people is a sin, and that can’t coexist in my mind with a God who is the source of love. Yet at the same time the very source of my theological conundrum confirms half of everything the Bible says either as actually having happened or being accurate in some other way.
But I think I also fundamentally get why Christians ARE evangelist. If you really believe there’s only one way one can go to heaven and one way one can be happy in the end, you want your relatives and even average people to come over with you. You’d basically be doing them a cruel disservice if you didn’t at least suggest it.
So I guess I’m somewhere between annoyed (It can be super annoying), fascinated by what they have to say and the occasional odd links to my situation, intellectually fixated on religion, and understanding of the reasons for evangelism.
First of all, I agree that evangelism can definitely be very annoying. Definitely.
As for mentioning that loving the wrong people is a sin, I’d love to hear you explain more. I don’t know your specific situation, but I think that we sometimes look at God as one who doesn’t love – the Christian view of God at least – when the Bible instead describes him as fiercely loving people, even those that continually reject him =
the wrong people.”
Oh, and thank you for the kind words about us – you rock as well! 🙂
Some branches if Christianity emphasize the evangelism idea more than others, like Mormons and Baptists. You could also say that those branches of Christianity also evangelize in the traditional way, of converting people over. Other branches of Christianity, like Episcopalian and Methodists aren’t as big in the traditional ways of evangelism and even acknowledge that evangelism can make people uncomfortable. That tends to be my stance on it as well. However, I do think there are non conventional forms of evangelism that can also take place and are common.
Thanks for the feedback – that, too, has generally been my experience. I grew up attending mostly Baptist churches (and still attend one), and their methods can certainly make people uncomfortable (which might or might not be a bad thing).
Thought provoking comments from others.
For me it comes down to obedience to what Christ is commanding. In evangelism He is telling us to tell others about Him. If He is my Lord, I need to submit my life to His commands. It’s not a suggestion. He doesn’t need me and He is quite amazingly powerful enough to do it all without me, but He allows me to share in the work and share in the joy.
I read recently a pastor who said every church should have evangelism near the top of their to-do list. He went on to explain that we can be busy doing a lot of churchy things, but when it comes to evangelism and sharing the Gospel, Jesus says “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (check it out for yourself and read all of Luke chapter 15). What else do we do in His name that starts a party in heaven?
On Wednesday I heard a report of an elderly lady at a care facility that has been coming for months to hear about God’s Love, but this was her day of salvation because she received Christ. Of ALL the church activities I’ve heard in the last month, this was the most exciting report to me. Why? Because she was lost and now she has life IN CHRIST. Faithfully coming and hearing is important, but her salvation is ultimately dependent on receiving what Christ offers, forgiveness of sins and eternal life through Himself. God only provided one way, through His Son Jesus. I didn’t make the plan, but that’s the reality of what Jesus says in John 14:6. (check it out for yourself).
For me, evangelism isn’t a Christian contest. It’s not about counting numbers and keeping track for spiritual brownie points. It’s about obedience. There is a struggle in getting the priorities in my life right so that I can do more of this, but I am a work in progress and Christ is a God of grace and love.
Evangelism can bring suffering, awkwardness, feeling of inadequacy, etc when we share Jesus in our current culture, but as Luminas said “it would be a cruel disservice if you didn’t at least suggest it”. It’s as simple as that. Our role is to speak the Truth in love and allow the Holy Spirit to do the work of conversion.
I will end with Paul’s words from 1 Corinthians3:6-7 “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”
Thank you for allowing me to share.
Thanks for adding further, Chris. Absolutely – we should evangelize out of obedience.
And what’s neat about Christianity, also, is how interconnected everything is. A non-Christian (or marginal Christian?) might see “obedience” as something negative. But we obey as a response to God, out of love for Him, and we also evangelize because we love both God and others. We begin to understand that joy where there’s a party in Heaven for a new believer – the significant and happiness of it. And our hearts become more like Christ’s, even in suffering.
Wow, I can write a lot on evangelism. I personally go to an apostolic/prophetic church where the power of God, moving in the gifts of the spirit like healing, miracles, deliverance from demons and hearing God’s voice is common place. Not in a crazy, we don’t know what we are doing way, but very organized and with great results.
I myself have hit the streets with several people a lot of times, to the mall, stores, house to house, and praying for people in the streets for healing of their bodies, receiving Christ and doing events where crowds gather and receive Christ. I don’t think tracts, e-mails, all that works well because I honestly haven’t heard many testimonies from them…to me, testimonies are the fruit of evangelism. Of course, you will NEVER know how everyone you’ve evangelized was impacted, only God knows, but you can follow up with them and see what their reaction was, questions to answer, and offer them prayer.
Christians need to be more active. Yes, people are going to get offended and hate us, but that’s what Christ taught us would happen. I am against the whole “let’s not hurt feelings or offend people” because the gospel is naturally offensive. Jesus Christ was/is offensive. The bible says:
John 3:20New Living Translation (NLT)
20 All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.
I’m going to stop there, because I will start writing an entire blog post here on evangelism 🙂 Let’s just say I’ve seen the sick healed, demons cast out, and many souls saved because people were bold and went right where people are and told them the Good News, which is that they can have eternal life, peace, free from depression and other things through Christ. His grace brings people to Him.
*drops the mic and walks away*
Thanks for sharing, Michael. You hit on what may be the most important point of all, which is this (to paraphrase Paul) – how can they be saved if no one preaches the word to them? Discomfort, persecution, embarrassment, all these things we must endure (even embrace) in a loving response to what God has done in our lives.
You’d think as an atheist I’d find evangelism annoying, but I don’t. I actually respect religious people who evangelize because if you really believe that people can be saved by your god, then it’s irresponsible not to try and bring people into your church. To me, not caring is a sign that you don’t actually believe what you say and hypocrisy is one of my primary pet peeves. However, I do admit that like a lot of atheists I find evangelizing tiresome to some degree because no religious person has yet succeeded in forming an argument that I find even slightly convincing for the existence of his or her god. I therefore have to remind myself to stay open to new ideas as a balance point for my skepticism. This isn’t all that difficult in practice because I love talking about religion and those who evangelize are the ones most likely to be up for a conversation.
Back when I was a Christian I didn’t learn much about evangelism. I guess back then I generally thought that by this point everyone in the world had heard of Jesus and had already chosen to accept him or not and that evangelism was pointless.
However, now that I’m an atheist / humanist, I find it’s important not so much to convince others of my philosophical positions, but to make it known that there are people who don’t believe there is a god. I often surprise people with my musings about life and reality and just making my ideas known to others is enough for me.
Thanks for sharing, as always, Alexander!
“You’d think as an atheist I’d find evangelism annoying, but I don’t. I actually respect religious people who evangelize because if you really believe that people can be saved by your god, then it’s irresponsible not to try and bring people into your church. To me, not caring is a sign that you don’t actually believe what you say and hypocrisy is one of my primary pet peeves.”
This is my opinion on evangelism too. If you’re part of a religion that believes that people who convert to it will be saved from death, it’s almost your duty to say something. True people might not listen to you or might even hate your face for “judging them,” but at least you tried to help that person.
“As for mentioning that loving the wrong people is a sin, I’d love to hear you explain more. I don’t know your specific situation, but I think that we sometimes look at God as one who doesn’t love – the Christian view of God at least – when the Bible instead describes him as fiercely loving people, even those that continually reject him = the wrong people.”
As a reply to TWWK, I’ve shown in a previous post why in my situation this doesn’t work— Because almost since I first existed in a sense (Two or three years old— When “I” actually developed) I’ve been attracted to the god-damned Devil. His personality as expressed more or less consistently (No really— A lot of the villains act not just evil, but as if they were imitating an oddly specific flamboyant person) by the stories human beings tell. If I actually “chose” to be, I’m unaware of it because the person who made that choice was only half there.
But the thing is I think that homosexuals end up in the exact same problematic situation. They don’t love themselves, money, power, or sex— What they love is “the wrong person.” And if you’ve ever really loved someone for a long long time, you can’t just sit back and pretend that feeling doesn’t exist— It’s as much a part of you as your own breath. So they, and I, can’t reconcile a loving God with a God who is at this point effectively telling us to stop….existing…..
“I’m going to stop there, because I will start writing an entire blog post here on evangelism 🙂 Let’s just say I’ve seen the sick healed, demons cast out, and many souls saved because people were bold and went right where people are and told them the Good News, which is that they can have eternal life, peace, free from depression and other things through Christ. His grace brings people to Him.”
You’ve really seen this kind of stuff? 😀 Cool! <3 And yeah, evangelism is offensive. But so is demanding that you be able to express who you are and what you believe in a culture that demands conformity to even psychological norms. Jesus laughed at conformity and upturned moneylending tables. :}
I will add, and I know you already know this, but we all have the “devil inside,” in a certain sense. We might not all have the same identification with him as you, but we all desire the things he does, and perhaps that’s why many of us really identify with him. The only thing is that God says we’re not that – we’re more more more than that. We’re rather in God’s own image – without losing our personality and individual beauty, we’re made in God’s image as so much more.
“I will add, and I know you already know this, but we all have the “devil inside,” in a certain sense. We might not all have the same identification with him as you, but we all desire the things he does, and perhaps that’s why many of us really identify with him.”
I’ve often wondered if this is exactly what happened. No rituals, no blood, no death. No need— He was already there anyway. I was just crazy enough to start talking to him.
“The only thing is that God says we’re not that – we’re more more more than that. We’re rather in God’s own image – without losing our personality and individual beauty, we’re made in God’s image as so much more.”
I once thought about this as “All the things you were that were good, and all the things that you couldn’t be because you weren’t. But thought of, on all of those nights. And some glorious things you didn’t.”