Archive for proselytizing

Eschatology and Evangelism

Posted in evangelism with tags , , , , on December 5, 2009 by gospel2live

Is a particular view of eschatology (the study of end times prophecy) essential in order to be urgent about evangelism?

One of the arguments put forward by those who hold to a pretribulation rapture is that their view properly leads to an enthusiasm for evangelism.  The argument is basically that since Jesus could come at any minute to bring believers to heaven prior to a time of tremendous suffering where God’s wrath is poured out on those left behind, we should be motivated to share the Gospel with as many people as possible to help save them from the time of trouble ahead.

While I will leave the merits of particular eschatological views to others to debate, I do not find eschatology to be a compelling force for evangelism.  In fact, the pretribulation view might actually lessen our urgency for evangelism, since many sincere believers think that the rapture of the church will be the very sign that causes their friends and family to realize the claims about Jesus are true and to turn to Him for salvation.

Regardless of your views regarding the end times, there IS a far more compelling motivation for us to be talking about Jesus to the ones we love.  This morning, a 39 year old woman left her home and headed out in a pickup on Hwy 53 — a four lane divided highway that is about as safe as a highway can be.  I don’t even know this woman’s name, but I am reasonably certain that she did not expect to die today.   However, she lost control of the pickup on an icy bridge deck and was pronounced dead at the scene of the one vehicle crash.  For this woman, today was her day to stand before Jesus.

While there are a million ways in which our lives could be cut short, our best motivation to be talking about the Gospel is because it is, in fact, really great news!  While love and concern for people is a legitimate motivation for evangelism, the best one is our love for Jesus.  When we are truly in love, whether it is a new romance or the birth of a child, NOBODY can get us to cease talking about it!  So ultimately, our way to increase the motivation to do the work of evangelism is to cultivate a deeper love for Christ.

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Penn Jillette on Evangelism

Posted in evangelism with tags , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2009 by gospel2live

…I’ve always said, you know, that I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and a hell, and people could be going to hell, or not getting eternal life or whatever, and you think that, well, it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward … how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that? I mean, if I believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that a truck was coming at you, and you didn’t believe it, and that truck was bearing down on you, there is a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that …

I found this quote particularly fascinating.  It gives a completely different perspective to that which we would expect to hear from an atheist, but it is a wonderfully logical way of thinking.  So many unbelievers just want the Christian to shut up and leave them alone.  Too many Christians do exactly that.  As a result, we see little, if any, evangelistic efforts in our day.  

But what if we REALLY believed the Gospel?  Isn’t it our Biblical belief that judgment day is coming towards our unbelieving world like a run-away truck?  Do we really believe that those who do not come to Jesus by faith are objects of wrath who will spend eternity in conscious torment in the fires of hell?  Do we really believe that forgiveness and adoption as sons are made possible through the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross?  Do we really believe that Jesus rose from the dead and that we now have the blessed hope of eternity in the presence of God?

If we really believe these things, why aren’t we willing to “tackle” unbelievers?  Penn would.  

I understand that not every unbeliever shares Penn’s respect for the evangelist.  However, the power of the evangelist rests not in his eloquence, his methods, or even his persistence.  The power of the evangelist rests in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the message of the Gospel.  We do not need to make ourselves obnoxious, or argue people into the kingdom.  However, we need to be consistently and continually proclaiming the good news that Jesus lived the life we should have lived, died the death we deserved to die – as our substitute to satisfy God’s righteous anger – and rose again to bring us the hope of eternal life.

 How can we remain silent with such great news?