Young Christians Passionately Preach Publicly, But the Result...
By CCD contributor: Paul Wu , May 12, 2017 08:05 AM
Recently, a video of a young brother spreading the Gospel in a subway became popular in WeChat. His action provoked mixed opinions. On one hand, many brothers and sisters have spoken highly about his heart to spread the gospel; On the other hand, a large number of believers expressed their disagreement with his method, claiming that it may drive unbelievers away and it is not suitable to spread the gospel.
How should we look at it?
First of all, the brother's passion for faith is worthy of compliment. In the special environment of China and the trend of increasing secularization of the church today, we should learn from his heart in how we can fulfill the mission. We should not be ashamed of the Gospel and spread it with courage and passion. However, spreading the gospel is a spiritual battle in which we cannot rely on our passion alone to gain victory. We need the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the wisdom like the snake. Most importantly, we need to live out the love of Christ.
Preaching the Gospel loudly in public will not necessarily lead people to believe in the Lord. On the contrary, to my knowledge, many non-believers are disgusted with the Christian's way of duck-feeding and fanaticism in evangelism. The underlying reason is that, first of all, due to the influence of education and traditional culture, most people lack the right understanding regarding Christianity while some are hostile and biased against it. Therefore, when they see Christians preaching the Gospel loudly in public, they will naturally think of them as too radical. Besides, some of the Christian gospel words are difficult to understand, such as "salvation", "sin", "incarnation", "resurrection from the dead" and so on. At last, because the Chinese people have always valued practicality, rationality, compared to "teaching with words", they are more likely to believe in Jesus through a teacher's action.
So what kind of approaches to evangelism are suitable to the present situation in China?
In general, there are two ways of evangelize: direct and indirect. If a person is very interested in understanding the Christian faith, then we use a direct way to evangelize him and teach the gospel without reservations. If people lack interest, we have to adopt the indirect approach to share the gospel through culture, showing love to people and testImonies of people who changed after believing in Jesus. Currently, there are few who take initiative to understand the Christian faith, so we have to use the indirect way to evangelize.
Though non-believers are not necessarily interested in Christianity, many people love literature and art inspired by faith, such as the magnificent cathedrals from around the world, the writings of Shakespeare, Hugo, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, C. S Louis, the works of Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and the classic music of Bach and Handel. These writers and artists are all Christians, and their works contain profound Gospel messages. When we try to share our faith with non-believers, we can use the indirect way of evangelism by recommending such works to them.
The good behavior of Christians is also an important way to spread the Gospel. Despite the fact many people lacked the understanding regarding Christianity or even resent it, after they learn about the good deeds of Christians, they are often moved and changed their views regarding Christianity. Good testimonies of Christians may not bring people to believe in Jesus; but, it will help create a good impression of Christianity in people's eyes.
In May 1877, the western missionaries to China held the first national conference on spreading the Gospel in Shanghai. In that conference, the president, the British Presbyterian missionary Carstairs Douglas made a remark about their ways of evangelism. He said, "The current way of evangelism is inappropriate, and I hope that the missionaries will learn from the lessons of history, not acting as a mob lacking training and aims. Furthermore, we should not envy and oppress each other." He also emphasized that the character of missionaries to China must be the best because China has a profound and traditional culture, and the Chinese are intelligent, hard-working, and most highly influenced by tradition. They are also from the most capable nation of non-Christian origins.
Although his remark was made 140 years ago, it still deserves to be a part of the contemporary Christian thinking. We should no longer preach the gospel blindly with zeal but take the proper approach to impact other's life with our own life to complete the Lord's commission. We can do this by improving our character, morals, knowledge, godliness, love and making efforts to live out Christ's life.
Translated by Alvin Zhou
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