1) Matthew 28: 16-20 (New International Version)
16Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
It is my perception that all Christ Followers are called to spread the Gospel of Christ. It’s part of their God’s plan for them. They may make this the focus of their life, as with evangelist. It may be by being an example in their community of the power of God’s love. Encouraging non-belivers to seek a connection to God, and learn the healing powers of his love.
However a person is called to spread their faith it should always done with love and respect.
Colossians 4:2-6 (New International Version)
2Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
There are two ways to sell any idea, the soft sell and the hard sell.
The soft sell is to focus on non-believers who are lost, and defeated by life. Helping these lost souls in both how to live in the world, and to save their souls to make sure that when they pass on it will be to the reward of Heaven.
The hard sell is to try to convince those who believe they have found the faith they need that their faith is a false one. That they need to convert to the one true faith of the Christ Follower.
The message I have received, on more than one occasion, from people of faith is that if I don’t surrender my will to their God I will suffer everlasting torment in Hell. I think that goes under the hard sell. 🙂
How do you think you have been called to spread your faith?
What do you think is the most effective way to do this?
2.a) Atheist have also begun to spread the message of our faith, although most of my Atheist friends don’t use the word faith.
I consider myself as part of the soft sell. I try to avoid debates, and focus on creating a dialogue with people of religious faith. To improve understanding between us.
I encourage people to use the process of asking questions, examining evidence, then testing that evidence to see if it supports an idea that will make their life, and world, better.
Following this process could confirm the existence God. The starting point for any search for the best answer must start with being willing to accept that anything is possible.
2.b) The hard sell is represented by Richard Dawkins.
From is bio on wikipedia:
“Dawkins has described himself as a “cultural Christian, even proposing the slogan “Atheists for Jesus”, but that his opposition to religion is twofold, claiming it to be both a source of conflict and a justification for belief without evidence. Following the September 1,2001 attacks, he pointed to the incident as evidence of religion as dangerous nonsense that was undeserving of respect. He argued that atheists should be proud, not apologetic, because atheism is evidence of a healthy, independent mind. He argues that the existence of God is a scientific hypothesis.”
Some quotes from his web site:
“Who will say with confidence that sexual abuse is more permanently damaging to children than threatening them with the eternal and unquenchable fires of hell?”
“The patient typically finds himself impelled by some deep, inner conviction that something is true, or right, or virtuous: a conviction that doesn’t seem to owe anything to evidence or reason, but which, nevertheless, he feels as totally compelling and convincing. We doctors refer to such a belief as ‘faith’.”
“I doubt that religion can survive deep understanding. The shallows are its natural habitat. Cranks and fundamentalists are too often victimized as scapegoats for religion in general. It is only quite recently that Christianity reinvented itself in non-fundamentalist guise, and Islam has yet to do so. Moonies and scientologists get a bad press, but they just haven’t been around as long as the accepted religions.
Conclusion – Trying to convince someone that their personal faith is wrong always has the potential for some level of conflict. My only concern about how we do it is that it must always be done with love and respect, which of course is not easy when discussing something as personal as faith.