I found it! The answer to the question I have been asking for a long time. What is it that seems wrong in so much of evangelism that is done today? Well, I think I have narrowed it down to this one answer; many of our messages to the lost do not provide hope. We are good at telling people how bad they are. Maybe we aren’t as tactful as we should be, but people can hear what their sin is from us. But do we just leave it at that and put people down because of their sin? Do we want them to come to Christ and be rescued, or is this a good opportunity for us to talk down to someone to make us look more powerful? I know I am being blunt, and I know I have been guilty of doing these things as well.
I think of the Armstrongs, who preach on college campuses on the East Coast. When I hear them talk (preach?), I have to wonder if they are part of Westboro. (see blog on Westboro Why Westboro is Wrong). Their methods, so many times like ours, use humiliation and don’t offer hope to the lost person. What is the point of preaching the Gospel if you don’t offer hope for the person to repent and come to Christ? When Jesus died, a serious price was made for people to be reconciled back to God. If we don’t offer that in our messages, part of the Gospel call is missing.
I think people almost always throw the baby out with the bath water. That’s what gets us into trouble. We see tons of people in churches today, who are false converts. I think we are going to one side of the spectrum to make sure that the people we talk to don’t end up being false converts. As a result, we just leave people in their sins! We are so afraid that they are going to pretend to get saved, that we don’t help them to turn to God! I understand this dilemma and I too don’t want to make false converts and mislead people about their own salvation. But, while there are those out there who would try to take advantage of God’s mercy, there really are those who are looking for hope. If we tell them of the perfect standard they have to meet, but have failed, and we leave the message with that, what will their reactions be? One reaction is, they will try to do better at being a good person, then eventually they will become disillusioned with Christianity because it doesn’t work. The others will think that God is a hard taskmaster and will end up being disillusioned about who God is and what He is like. Is it any wonder that people are hesitant about listening to the Gospel? The Gospel is a hard message to preach. It is hard for a person to receive the truths in it, let alone respond to it. Let’s make it easy for people to want to approach us without feeling condemned while they are around us. Let’s offer them the whole Gospel, and give them the hope they may be looking for.