Are You Intentional About Witnessing?
A person commented to me this weekend that, although he appreciated that Becky and I do mission work, he could never go on a mission trip or even share his faith with others. People might be offended, he said. Watch the news and you will see how quickly ďprotestant proselytismĒ is condemned. How terrible that Christians should want to convert others!
For what itís worth, I think itís very dangerous when weíd rather be good businessmen or pastors or scholars or homeschoolers than good witnesses for Jesus. I think itís very dangerous when we find good reasons for hiding our faith. I think itís very dangerous when we learn how to be ďall things to all menĒ but not for the purpose of ďsaving some.Ē Thus we no longer speak about ďconversionĒ because it would offend and shock people. How easy it is to get sidetracked, thinking that Jesus came to establish the power of the state or social justice! It is my belief, for example, that the audacious exegesis of the liberation movement is the fruit of this bad theology.
Once again, bad thinking results in bad living. For what is the point of Christianity if not to lead men and women to acknowledge Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord? Why does the church exist if not for the conversion of the lost? Iím not speaking of driving a wedge between the evangelism mandate and the cultural mandate, as if the Gospel does not penetrate every aspect of life. To me itís a matter of priorities. For many today, Christianity consists in joining a church or playing politics. We are acting like the church is a social club or a political party. I am not against involvement in politics, but success in politics is not the goal of life. For the Christian, politics is at best an accessory. In the Beatitudes our Lord put politics in its place, stripped it of its prestige, and emptied it of spiritual value and meaning. Instead, He taught that as we humble ourselves before God and reject all earthly standards of success and happiness we learn to view the world as He sees it. We then want to make Jesus and His teachings known as far and wide as possible. We learn that the way of the Gospel is the way of suffering, trial, poverty, and sometimes despair. We no longer cling to our creature comforts. We are ready to sacrifice everything for the Gospel. It becomes the object of our preoccupation. It gives meaning to all of life.
We now find the true significance of our earthly existence. We learn to accept the insecurity of freedom in God. We do not need security! We are free in Christ to live for Godís glory, not manís. Paul sums up the whole emphasis of the Gospel-centered life in the well-known passage in 2 Cor. 4:1-6 (NKJV):
Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every manís conscience in the sight of God. But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesusí sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Bearing witness to Christ, then, is absolutely and unavoidably necessary and obligatory for the believer. This conclusion is not based on experience or philosophy. It is based on the totality of Godís Missionary Mandate.
September 25, 2007
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com.