Monday, February 2, 2009

Evangelism Seems To Be Fear-Based




Evangelism is something that seems to be forced upon Christians to bring people to Christ and salvation. Is it effective though? Does this approach to reaching the lost work? Or does is do more damage to the lost and put a bad taste in their mouths towards Christianity? I find that in this country, many are turned off to God and a relationship with him because many feel they are being pushed and shoved into Christianity out of fear of what will happen if they don’t convert. Here is something that I found on Wikipedia.


The intention of most evangelism is to convert those who do not follow the Christian God to Christianity for the purpose of effecting eternal salvation.

The word that sticks out to me is convert. Converting people is basically a way to manipulate and control people to do what you want them to do. In evangelism, converting someone to Christianity is the reason why evangelism is done the way it’s done. It’s like a puzzle. The Christian feels convinced and forced to evangelize out of fear of what will happen to them if they don’t, and then that fear is used to control others to convert to Christianity. Underlying problem I see in this entire picture is that the foundation of evangelism is based on fear. Father does not use fear to bring us closer to him but only out of His love we are drawn to Him. These kind of evangelical tactics only produce fear and guilt. Another problem I see in evangelism is it’s NOT based on grace. We are trained to think that evangelism is something we have to do and if we don’t, we don’t feel like Father accepts us or loves us. We ultimately think we fall short of what He wants from us… I was on a walk today and heard a couple of songs that really just confirmed my thinking about these thought patterns that are behind fear and un-acceptance.

All That I'm living For by Evanescence-

“Guess I thought I'd have to change the world to make you see me.”

Good Enough by Evanescence

Good enough
I feel good enough.
It's been such a long time coming, but I feel good.

And I'm still waiting for the rain to fall.
Pour real life down on me.
'Cause I can't hold on to anything this good enough.
Am I good enough for you to love me too?
_____________________________________________________
We cannot do anything or enough to be good enough to receive his grace and love, but the good news really is, is that His love is free of charge and He accepts us no matter what we do. Do nothing, and He will still find pleasure and use you in ways you can only imagine.

9 comments:

Bino M. said...

Fear is an easier tool than love! So we use it. How can we give others what we don't have? We have fear, so we give it to others. We have no love, so we give no love.

Once we start receiving love from God, we can give it to others. And God's love casts out fear!

So the key to evangelism, I think, is to start living loved by God; and let that love overflow to others...

Nicole said...

Absolutely Bino! Love does cast out all fear, and once we start to live that way, maybe people will see that Christians are really different than what they have seen before!

Thanks for your thoughts!

In Freedom, Nicole!

Amy said...

Nicole,
Great post. So true about fear being one of the biggest "drivers" for those who go into "Evangelism" mode in many Christian circles today. Sigh...

Just like you mentioned, and with Bino's comment above, what truly creates sharing Christ with others is: Grace, Love and Relationship. Without truly caring about the individual, wanting to engage in a relationship with them, not just for a moment, but being open to possibly longer, truly talking to them about where they are in life...that opens up their hearts to receiving what we have to share. Trust first must be planted.

Good, good thoughts here, Nicole!

Blessings,
~Amy :)

Joel B. said...

Nicole,

Great stuff! Looking at it from another view, the church has used "evangelism" in my life in a fear-based way, as a means of maintaining my good standing with God! In other words, as a good Christian it was my duty to go and convert people, and if I wasn't out "evangelizing" (my neighbors, coworkers, friends, etc) then I wasn't doing all that I was supposed to be doing!

And at the same time that I was supposed to be evangelizing my unsaved friends, I really wasn't supposed to be hanging out with them! So how in the world do I "evangelize" them? Well, it's most certainly not through love and relationships!

You know what's sort of ironic here? When you put this together with Bino's bait and switch post. :) On the one hand we use fear to convert people to Christianity, but on the other hand we do give them a form of "good news." We tell them that God loves them and that they can have eternal life. But it's usually from a perspective of giving them a "get out of hell free" card rather than a perspective of "God so loves and adores you, and He wants an everlasting relationship with you, based upon His grace and love."

And then if/when they do "convert," we give them a list of things they need to be doing in order to maintain it. Fear-based good news. LOL. Ug... makes me sick.

gregjoens said...

I read a pinterest post today about other churches Sugar-Coating the gospel. It seemed to me that a statement like "Sugar-Coating" the gospel... is a contradiction of message. The good news is good news... It's not hard to swallow. Somehow I think we make this process of loving God and neighbors harding than it has to be.

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