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by Paul Buller
Here’s a concept I want to offer for your consideration; what if we stopped thinking of evangelism as me telling you about my beliefs, and starting thinking of evangelism as the two of us exploring truth together? Does that undermine the very essence of evangelism? Will that work? First off, why would we even consider doing evangelism like this?
The view from the other side
I used to think of evangelism as Christians telling others about Jesus. What was our purpose for telling people about Jesus? Obviously because we want them to accept his offer of grace and put their trust in him for life. They have only a glorious future of life fulfillment, freedom from guilt, and a magnificent afterlife to look forward to. Why wouldn’t they?
One reason they wouldn’t (there are many reasons!) is because of the proverbial price of admission. If they are not a Christian then they obviously have some other belief system. They might be Buddhist, Muslim, Atheist or any number of other worldviews. Or, they might not really care about any of this stuff anyway; they don’t think it is important. In order to accept Christ there is a critical first step that Christians rarely consider. They need to first let go of whatever they currently believe, even if their current belief is as simple as ”these subjects aren’t really important in the first place.”
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We tend to think that this change of belief systems is something that ought to excite them. After all, whatever they currently believe (insofar as it contradicts Christianity) is wrong, or as a bare minimum incomplete. Why wouldn’t they give it up? After all, we are telling them about Truth! We are introducing them to the God of the universe! Who wouldn’t be excited? In our enthusiasm we forget that they are fairly convinced the situation is the other way around; they are right and we are wrong. Christianity, insofar as it contradicts their beliefs, is wrong. This is part of the reason why they would naturally resist accepting Christ. Can you blame them?
Have you ever considered, for instance, that maybe those Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses that come to your door might feel the exact same frustration that you do when you refuse to join their church? Just as you cannot fathom how anybody would turn down Jesus’ offer, they cannot understand how you could possibly choose to turn down Joseph Smith or the Watchtower society. In other words, in the exact same way that you are reluctant to give up your cherished beliefs, so others are reluctant to give up theirs…
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