Christians Who Don’t Believe in the Great Commission
When on any social network, it is extremely easy to get involved in other people’s conversations, offer your opinion (which will be either for or against), and possibly end up arguing with people that you don’t even know. Beyond this, it can even become a bit acrimonious because of the relative anonymity and physical distance between people. When that happens, we often harm our Christian testimony and we start seeing others with whom we/they disagree as enemies. I am still learning to simply ignore a great deal of what many individuals say on the ‘Net because of the inanity of it all. It’s not really important but everyone certainly has an opinion, don’t they?
I came across a thread recently where one individual posted that he became upset with a Christian woman who believed it was her right to leave her witnessing materials on private property and she did not believe the owner had the right to complain about it. Apparently things became heated and he was put in time-out for several days by the network. This was how it was presented in the thread.
Another person came along who announced that as an atheist, it was her “guilty pleasure” to take those materials she came across and toss them in the garbage. The first person responded with complimentary language to her post (and he has stated he is a Christian or at least, religious).
Finally, another person came into the thread and posted the following:
I’m a Christian, but it would never occur to me to place signs or other propaganda… basically my *beliefs*… on someone else’s property. It’s that over-the-top and in-your-face Christianity that just… doesn’t sit well with me and turns me off completely.
It is my firmly held belief that one’s faith (or lack of it) is their own affair. I don’t like it forced on me, and I’m certainly not going to force it on someone else. I’m open to conversations… but I’m not out to “win souls,” as it were. I guess there are churches that won’t like me very much. *shrug*
I was initially tempted to add my two cents, but didn’t. But I’d like to point out numerous problems with the above comments, explaining why I believe the person’s comments are actually anti-biblical because they oppose the Great Commission (Matthew 28).
The individual quoted above says he’s a Christian, yet he seems to have no love for those who are not. Does he understand Christianity is the difference between hell and heaven?
He also equates literature that directs people toward Christianity as “propaganda” and places quotes around the word “beliefs” as though what’s good for one might not be good for another. Truth is never propaganda and Christianity is truth. Why? Because Jesus represents it and has stated that He is the way, the truth, and the life (cf. John 14:6).
I agree with the individual above that Christians should be careful about leaving Christian literature on private property. Do you have permission to do that? If not, then why are you doing that?
Notice though he refers to this as “in-your-face Christianity” that ultimately turns him off. Literature is not anything close to being in someone’s face. It’s there on the counter or gas pump. No one has to notice it, pick it up, or read it. However, I know people who were saved by small tracts clearly explaining the gospel.
He then goes onto say that his beliefs are his own and what other people believe is up to them, then admits he’s “not out to ‘win souls’.” He shrugs off the idea that churches wouldn’t like him very much. He’s not out to win souls? So he doesn’t fully understand (or care) just how valuable the gift of eternal life is then since he clearly doesn’t care whether he shares it with anyone or not?
It was Jesus who gave us the Great Commission found in Matthew 28. In it, He declares that we should preach the gospel and make disciples of people from all nations. This, at least on some occasions, requires a direct approach. It requires that people be sometimes forced to consider their options. But not wanting to offend anyone, this particular individual quoted above is actually setting aside the Great Commission, essentially saying that the only way he’ll be involved in the Great Commission is on his terms. That is done through “conversations” that he implies he doesn’t even want to start. It’s almost as though he’ll enter into that type of conversation if and when he ascertains from others their willingness to discuss it.
But clearly, this is not how Jesus, His apostles, or the disciples who came after fulfilled the Great Commission. Acts 2 provides a picture of what happened on the Day of Pentecost after the Holy Spirit came down and indwelt believers praying there. Please notice that Peter stood up and spoke to large crowds of people explaining to them the truth of Scriptures that culminated in Jesus. Because of his message, 3,000 people were added to the Church that very day. Thankfully, Peter didn’t not preach that day for fear of being considered “in your face.”
There are many examples of Paul’s exploits as he traveled much of the known world (Acts 9 and following), preaching the gospel. He was often maligned, beaten, jailed, and shipwrecked because of his attempts to bring the only truth that exists to people who did not have it. Yet, Paul considered it an honor and would have it no other way.
I’m certainly not saying that Christians need to get physical with people or block them in a corner until they hear the gospel. I guess what I’m saying is that we need to “make the most of every opportunity” (Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5), when we come across people whom we think might not know Jesus as Savior; who have never received salvation. If we don’t tell them, who will? Certainly, God will not allow them to go into eternity without getting chances to hear the truth and if we don’t tell them, He will find someone else willing to do what we won’t.
I cannot help but wonder if too many Christians are divorced from the truth of the gospel. We have so many modern-day “prophets” and “apostles” that provide people with the things they want to hear. Christians go to churches where “signs and wonders” occur because that is entertaining and appears to have an air of spirituality to it. Yet, many of these same Christians have no clue what the Bible teaches about many things and they do not know how to share their faith.
I’ve been reading a book by J. P. Moreland called Love Your God with All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul. In it, Moreland discusses the reasons why the church as a whole is in such a sorry state of affairs today and he links it back to American revivalism starting in the mid-1800’s. Because of preachers like Finney and others, who literally scared people out of hell and into heaven, people stopped thinking critically. Christianity in America became a vapid anti-intellectual pursuit, where folks became Christians for emotional reasons. It has become apparent since that time they failed to fully comprehend the great doctrinal truths of Christianity, couldn’t explain Scripturally why they needed Jesus in the first place, and understood their “conversion” as more of an experience as opposed to being able to explain it in biblical terms.
In essence, I believe Satan found a very interesting and deceptive way to introduce error into the Church by moving people away from their ability to rationally explain the truth of salvation and what occurs when a person becomes saved regardless of how that person feels. Satan moved us away from that toward a much more feelings-centered, emotional perception of Christianity. In this regard, Christianity becomes something that is difficult to explain. It’s on the level of the ethereal, just like the New Age movement. It’s like Steven Furtick saying to his congregation something to the effect of “I don’t know if you believe in the devil or not…” when in reality, the Bible teaches that a personal being called the devil exists. Who is Steven Furtick to question what God says is actual fact? Jesus certainly understood Satan as being a very real spiritual entity and treated him as such. Matthew 4 is not woven in metaphors. It’s what actually occurred.
This tendency to emotionalize Christianity is what’s behind comments like the ones made by our friend quoted above. He cannot adequately understand what salvation actually means – he doesn’t understand what has occurred in his life as far as God is concerned – therefore he cannot righly explain it to other people either. He cops out by simply saying that his “beliefs” are his own and other people have their own beliefs. But that is absolutely not what the Great Commission is all about.
Can you explain what your salvation means from a biblical perspective? Can you go to chapter and verse? Can you explain what happened the moment you embraced salvation? Do you understand why you need it? Do you understand and can you explain why Christianity is the only path that leads to truth because it is true? It’s not how it makes you feel (though it can make you feel wonderful). It’s what Jesus has done for you and why you need Him.
Though to himself, our friend quoted above likely thinks he’s mature, open, benevolent because he’s not pushy or “over-the-top.” Yet, clearly Jesus, Paul and others were over the top because they understood the absolute importance of preaching the gospel to people who are lost.
Satan has really done a job on too many Christians today, hasn’t he? Certainly God has allowed this and for reasons that will ultimately bring Him glory. Instead of focusing on the lost souls all around us, our main focus appears to be doing whatever we can to change society, making it far more palatable for us. God wants us to reach out to the lost.
The world is God’s enemy and He has us here for one task and one task only: to fulfill the Great Commission. Though He will destroy this world and its evil system, God wants to save as many people out of it as possible. To do that we must talk the talk and walk the walk. Though we will never do this perfectly in this life, God will certainly honor our efforts if our goal is to see the lost saved. While our friend above is deliberately trying not to be “over-the-top,” 150,000 people die into eternity every day. What about them? Who will explain to them their absolute need for Jesus in ways they can understand? Moreover, when our friend stands before Jesus, what will he hear the Master say to him?
Christian, we must be about our Father’s business and that means preaching the gospel in word and deed. This is how God has determined that the gospel will spread from person to person. Yes, many will continue to reject it, but we don’t know who they are and even if they reject it today, it doesn’t mean they will reject it tomorrow or next month when someone else comes along to water the seed we may have planted.
It would seem that too many of us Christians have succumbed to the temptation to not rock the boat. We don’t want to be disliked by the world. We want them to like us, as we sit there and watch them paddle their boats toward the Lake of Fire. Emotional virtue, political correctness, and fear of the world’s wrath have silenced too many Christians. We need to move out in boldness created by the Holy Spirit living within.
This is no time for Christians to try to appear magnanimous, benevolent, all-inclusive, and open to the world so that they will like us (that’s ultimately what it’s all about). Now is time to preach the word and to always be ready to answer for the hope we have in Jesus.
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. – 1 Peter 3:15-16