Given the ongoing short series I’ve been doing on Christian witnessing over the past couple of weeks, I think this might be a good time to do a little contrasting between what I mean when I talk about “witnessing” and particularly “conversion”, against what some of you might think I mean by these things. You see, there is a distinction between truly Biblical evangelism as prescribed in the text of scripture and what we (unfortunately) see a great many evangelical Christians engaged in today. I briefly touched on this in “Witnessing – Arrogance or Agape (Part 2a)”, but I think it bears fleshing out a little further.
What Biblical Christian witnessing IS
- Presenting the Gospel accurately and truthfully to those who would ask us to give an answer for the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15)
- Confronting false theology/philosophy when vocation and ability demand that we do so, both in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2)
- Respecting and honoring the consciences of those to whom we seek to bear witness (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)
- Treating our brothers and sisters with kindness, practicing patience and humility in all things (1 Corinthians 13:1-7)
What Biblical Christian Witnessing is NOT
- Seeking to manipulate, pressure, or otherwise coerce others (Titus 2:6-8)
- Attempting to “win converts” in order to put some sort of spiritual notch in our belt (Philippians 2:3)
- Preaching a watered-down Gospel to make Christ’s cross more palatable and therefore less offensive (1 Corinthians 1:21-24), but in so doing stripping it of its power to save
- Incentivizing people through facades like loud praise bands or explosive youth programs, etc. – these things are not the Gospel, and if it is by these means that you grow the church then you are building on a false foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11)
Remember in all of this that, as we’ve pointed out, true conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit. It is He who causes the person to be born again as a New Man in Christ Jesus, even as the Old Adam drowns in the waters of baptism. You are merely the person honored with the task of spreading the Gospel to the nations – this calls for humility, not pride.
In all of this, preach Christ, and Him crucified, and nothing else. In this way you will be witnessing Biblically. Take your focus off Christ, and Him crucified, and you will not be witnessing Biblically. That’s as simple as I can make it.
God bless you in your vocations!