Monday, September 21, 2009

Evangelize or Proslytize

I posted this some time ago but in light of some things I've encountered recently ,I'm re-posting.

It always interests me how words are used.

The devil seems to take great pleasure in taking perfectly good words and twisting and manipulating them till they are defiled . Take for instance the word gay. It used to mean happy and light -hearted until the militant homosexual lobby took it hostage and returned it to the English language as something corrupt.

Or consider the term fundamental. That once meant basic , solid , foundational. Anyone in any trade or occupation would not have considered it an insult to be someone who knew and built on the fundamentals.... but apply that term to believers and what should really be a compliment becomes an insult. Oh, he/she is a fundamentalist..You can almost see the sneer on the persons face as I write these words.

And so it is when a christian seeks to explain their faith to someone ; what the Bible would term evangelism gets converted to proselytizing.....and yet in this particular issue there may well be grounds for criticism. Here's some thoughts on the matter.

Evangelism is a good and holy term. It's what every Christian has been commanded to do and yet more than that it's the delight of every true believers heart. Surfers talk about surfing ; sports fans speak about their sport and grandparents never miss an opportunity to pull out their photos and wax long and lyrically about their grandkids. How much more the follower of Jesus. We know where we were headed and who rescued us. We see the incredible answers to prayer He grants us . We experience the light He shines on His holy book to speak to our needs and we just want to talk about Him.

In the scriptures Jesus often ,after performing a miracle for someone, would command them not to speak to others... but they always did, and perhaps He understood for their is no record of Him chastising them for their disobedience in this matter.

In my experience once a person truly is regenerated , once they have seen the glory of God in the face of Christ, their is a burning desire to confess Him before men and seek to lead others to Him. What is really a Holy Spirit empowered desire the Bible calls evangelism.

Then there are those with the spiritual gift of evangelism ; a high and holy calling, and how we need today those with the gift of preaching the true gospel with power and authority.

And yet proselytizing is something entirely different.

Jesus , speaking to the Pharisees , said they travel over land and sea to make a single convert and yet when they do , they make him twice as much a son of Hell! You see the religious leaders of Jesus day were doing what many do today ;they were proselytizing rather than evangelizing. Their desire was not to bring men to the Living God , but instead to win them to their cause . Their desire was not the glory of God or the salvation of lost sinners ;it was to increase their power base.

Today their is much that goes on that reflects this Pharisaical tendency. Instead of reaching out with the eternal gospel and pointing sinners to the only Saviour ;there are many who preach "Come to my church,we're cool ,relevant , on the cutting edge "And all the while people are falling into a Christless eternity with their only hope falsely resting on their church attendance rather than the Lamb of God.

Proselytizing still earns the rebuke of the Lord of Glory and true evangelism still earns his commendation.

On that great day when we stand before Him to whom we must give account; many who attended the "best " church in town , tithed, touched not the Lord's anointed, were tolerant, did all their Pastor said will hear the fearfull words from Jesus mouth "I never knew you".

Proselytizing is a carnal , self -serving activity of pride and arrogance . Evangelism is a Spirit empowered means of winning the lost .

Proselytizing panders to the egos of men. Evangelism focuses on the majesty of God.

Proselytizing is seeker-friendly. Evangelism is God friendly.

Proselytizing builds the kingdoms of men. Evangelism furthers the Kingdom of God.

Proselytizers usually persecute those who evangelize.

Proselytizing is to get them in. But evangelism is to call them out .

Proselytizing is an unclean pragmatism but those who preach truth have a holy dogmatism.

Behold the Lamb of God

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