Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Agreement/Disagreement (01/19/12)
- TITLE: You Shall Be My Witnesses
By Toni Babcock
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I am familiar with several popular witnessing methods, but I have one big confession to make; I prefer not to use scripts when witnessing, and I suppose that makes me disagreeable. Many of my brothers and sisters in Christ feel better equipped and more comfortable using a script, and I certainly applaud their willingness, but as for me, I seem to have developed an allergic reaction to them! This bothers me somewhat. I want to be a team-player, but am I a presumptive know-it-all? A rebel? A gospel squelcher? What is the big deal about using a scripted gospel presentation?
I thought about the various witnessing methods I have been introduced to in the past. These methods have a crucial opening question that the presentation hinges on in order to determine where the person stands spiritually. If I had to choose the question I like the best, it would be the one used in the Evangelism Explosion method that was popular in the 70’s. The question asks, “If you were to stand before God and He were to ask you ‘Why should I let you into my heaven?’ what would you say?” That is an honest objective question geared to obtain an honest objective answer. When dealing with unbelievers I think it is crucial to remain objective and honest in our approach.
Yet I tend to disagree with another popular question used to determine where people stand in relation to God, and I know many Christians would strongly disagree with my opinion. The question is “If you were to die today, do you know for certain you would go to heaven?” This question is not objective, it is subjective, and hinges primarily on how the person feels, not necessarily on what he believes. I’m convinced a lost person can at times feel saved and a saved person can at times feel lost, so for me the question loses its validity. It seems designed to produce doubt, and I feel uneasy about that. I base my conviction on God’s word, “But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is to bring Christ down) or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? ‘The word is near you in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim),” (Romans 10:6-8 ESV). If God tells us we are not to ask ourselves ‘who will ascend up into heaven?’ why would Jesus want anybody questioning himself this way? The gospel is a fact we must proclaim by faith, and people must believe the gospel through faith. I don’t believe it is necessary to use subjective questions to achieve that goal.
There is a popular street witnessing method I am familiar with that begins with the question “Do you believe you are a good person?” I suspect most people answer “yes” when in their hearts they don’t really believe it. Most people these days don’t feel “good” at all. They feel broken, miserable and convicted about their past, but they are certainly not going to tell a stranger on the street that! Nonetheless, after the person answers “yes”, they are immediately directed into examining which of the commandments they have broken to prove what lying thieving people they really are, (and perhaps leave them wondering if they had only been “perfect” perhaps they would not need to be having this conversation). Under this examination, lack of “goodness” becomes the criteria for determining why they are going to hell, instead of convincing them that believing or not believing the gospel is what justifies or condemns us. This must be confusing to the sinner who can’t repent without faith.
In my own experience I have found that if I listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and watch and pray for an opportunity to be a witness for Christ, God truly does open doors and gives me just the right words to share. It seems the most productive way for me to work in cooperation with the Holy Spirit, and let Christ lead the way.
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