Friday, July 15, 2011

I Want Nothing To Do With "Evangelism"

I take online classes, and part of the joy of being "educated" online is a little thing called "Discussion Board". This is where the professor gives you a topic, you write about your views and opinions on that topic, and then everyone else in class gets to read and respond to you. A student is usually required to respond to at least 2 or 3 people in 100 words or more.

And since we students don't have the time to go above and beyond in our comments, we usually keep it to the bare minimum, commenting just enough to get the good grade.

This is true, except when others are responding to my posts apparently. While looking though my comment thread the other day, I noticed most people had about 4 or 5 threads (or comments) on their posts. The most being 5. However, I was at 13 and counting.

And the comments I get are not always the mere 100 word responses... I have gotten several pages before. People writing me with things such as the "Romans road" and "plan of salvation", links to websites for me to check out, and attached documents for me to read... all scattered throughout the comments. Even the professors stop by every once in a while and pay me a visit. I had one guy write me 3 pages which included his phone number at the bottom instructing me to call him if I ever needed to talk. (I do usually make good grades on these discussion boards for going beyond the mere required duties.)

This is all due because I answer most questions differently than the other students do. I may write about views that are not in the text book, and I may deny certain doctrines or beliefs that the other students see as essential to the Christian faith.

If you read everyone else's replies to each other, they usually go something like this...

"Such a good post Sally, this is exactly what i believe as well. I agree with you 100%. Keep doing what you are doing for God. We just need to give them Jesus! Give God the Glory!"

However, comments and questions in light of my posts usually look a little more like this...

Yes, But God is also Just and Holy.
If that's true, then we can't believe anything else the Bible says.
We don't need the Greek, God has given us a perfect English version of His Word (Oh brother).
May I ask, "Do you know the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior?"
Then what's the point in following Jesus?
Did you just deny the rapture?

So then their responses are no longer mere replies to a fellow student in order to make a grade, but they have to switch over to their "evangelism mode". It goes beyond the usual back and forth encouragements and morphs into trying to get the lost sheep back into the pen. Their goal now is to "get me back on track" and get me to see the light and agree with whatever it is our text book is saying.

And this is fine, and it really does make for good conversations that I thoroughly enjoy. And I don't even mind being witnessed to or preached at.

Because I use to be there. I use to feel the need to "share my faith" with everyone I met. The problem is that it wasn't because I was excited about my faith, but rather, I felt it was my job to get others to believe whatever I believed. Truth is, I actually hated "sharing my faith" and always dreaded having to do it. And the few times I did do it, it was because I felt it was my good, Christian duty.

I can remember time and time again walking away from a conversation feeling guilty because I missed my witnessing opportunity.

I often get asked questions like... how Would you respond to someone such as an atheist or a person of another religion?" I honestly don't know how to answer those questions except to say, "I don't feel the need to respond, I just want to love people." That may sound cheesy, but it's the truth.

I no longer feel the need to "Evangelize"... if "evangelism" means getting people to agree with whatever it is I believe and to say a repeated prayer at the end of my superficial conversation. If thats evangelism, then No, I want nothing to do with that.

However, if by "evangelism" one means to show/tell people the "good news" that God loves them (period), then count me in. I am all for evangelism.


emergingjim said...

Such a good post, Jacob, this is exactly what I believe as well. I agree with you 100%. Keep doing what you are doing for God. We just need to give them Jesus (style love)! Give God the Glory!

Joking aside, I've been there, done that. Love where you are coming from here.

Oh, and if you're doing school online, you couldn't find a more progressive christian school?

Jkub said...


That's awesome.

And yes, I could find a more progressive school, but i have been attending this one for a good while,, dating back to my Pre-progressive days. I haven't always been a full time student and since I was working several jobs and all, I took many semesters off so to speak. If I transfer now I would lose too many credits, and I am almost finished with this degree, so it wouldn't be worth it.


p.s. (Plus, It's more fun when the other students disagree and we get to have a discussion about it.) ;)