Proselytes


We live in a society that is comprised of many cultures filled with differing beliefs, differing worldviews and differing values.  One of the greatest ideals of democracy is that our personal beliefs, values, customs and culture can exist within the whole and yet disagree with other members of the whole.  There is great pressure from mostly secular forces in society to “live and let live”.  In an effort to be fair to the whole we have elevated all view points to an equal status and in the process have granted credence to cultures, values and beliefs that in many cases should not be considered equal.

Earlier this week (10/18/2010) German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “This multicultural approach, saying that we simply live side by side and live happily with each other has failed. Utterly failed,”

The truth is that for the Christian and the Muslim we truly do not desire to leave the other unchanged.  The Christian and the Atheist do not desire to leave the other unchanged.  We all stand on our values and beliefs and wish to bring others to our understanding, our beliefs.  We do this because we believe we are correct.  We do this because we believe we possess truth.  We do this out of concern for those we speak to and out of reverence and love for that which we believe.

Christians have a command from the risen Christ to preach the gospel to every person on the planet.  Christians desire that all people turn from their current lives, religions, beliefs, etc. and believe the gospel.  Christians believe there is only one way to salvation and that it is through Jesus Christ.

Muslims are equally as passionate about Islam.  “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”

Christianity does not leave the door open for the worship of Allah.  Islam does not leave the door open for faith in Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of the living God.  There are many agreements on morality and even on history but the core truths of these two gigantic religions do not allow both to be correct.

The law of non-contradiction will allow Islam and Christianity to both be incorrect or in error but these two opposing belief systems cannot both be correct.  It is for this reason that there are missionaries and evangelists sent forth to share the Christian gospel.  It is also for this reason that Muslims spread Islam.

Any person who truly believes that the path to God and salvation is unique and absolute will share that faith with anyone and everyone who will listen.  Any person who believes that without believing the truth and worshipping God correctly that one is destined to spend eternity in a place called hell will share their faith with anyone and everyone who will listen.

If you found a cure for cancer, wouldn’t it be inconceivable to hide it from the rest of mankind? How much more inconceivable to keep silent the cure from the eternal wages of death? — Dave Davidson

 

Our challenge in pluralistic or multicultural societies takes place where differing beliefs collide and struggle to coexist with one another.  As a Christian I am unconcerned with the political correctness of my belief in the Bible as absolute truth and my belief in Christ as the Son of God and only way to salvation.  I do not expect that an unbelieving world would rejoice that I believe that they are lost and without God, despite their belief and best intentions.

It is because I believe the gospel that I post these messages onto this website and share my faith wherever and whenever possible.  I believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only hope for humanity and without Him all people are destined to spend eternity separated from God in the Lake of Fire.  It is this core belief that drives me; men and women must come to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

One of the words that we hear in the media and especially in human resources is “Proselytizing”.  We are told that we should not engage in this in the work place, in the public arena and as far as many are concerned, anywhere at all.  We are told in the bible that this is something we should be doing all of the time.

I want to look at this word in this message:

Proselyte (noun) – a person who has changed from one opinion, religious belief, sect, or the like, to another; convert.

Proselytize (verb) – to convert (someone) from one religious faith to another

According to Adherents.com here is the breakdown on what the world believes:

  1. Christianity: 2.1 billion
  2. Islam: 1.5 billion
  3. Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 1.1 billion
  4. Hinduism: 900 million
  5. Chinese traditional religion: 394 million
  6. Buddhism: 376 million
  7. primal-indigenous: 300 million
  8. African Traditional & Diasporic: 100 million
  9. Sikhism: 23 million
  10. Juche: 19 million
  11. Spiritism: 15 million
  12. Judaism: 14 million
  13. Baha’i: 7 million
  14. Jainism: 4.2 million
  15. Shinto: 4 million
  16. Cao Dai: 4 million
  17. Zoroastrianism: 2.6 million
  18. Tenrikyo: 2 million
  19. Neo-Paganism: 1 million
  20. Unitarian-Universalism: 800 thousand
  21. Rastafarianism: 600 thousand
  22. Scientology: 500 thousand

As the population of earth approaches 7 billion people the Christian is faced with the Great Commission; finding 70% of the population in need of proselytizing.  I don’t want to sound comical nor do I want to come across sarcastic or sardonic in this next statement – please listen:

The western Church has to stop making reconverting the backslidden adherents of Christianity its main evangelistic effort and has to begin making proselytes out of the bottom 21 people groups on the list of beliefs above.

No one has the right to hear the gospel twice, while there remains someone who has not heard it once. (Oswald J. Smith)

 

Missions work is not reserved for special few within the church nor is it only targeted to those who require relief from poverty.  There is a great need for the humanitarian arm of missions in the world today (Matthew 25:31-46) and there is a greater need for the preaching and demonstration of the gospel (Mark 16:15-18).

The world will remain 70%+ unreached with the gospel as long as Christian believers feel that missions and evangelism is the calling of a select special few within the church.  As Christians we cannot accept that the Great Commission does not apply to our lives because we are a certain age, gender or race.  We cannot justify non-compliance with the heavenly call because of our career, family status or community standing.  The mission field is not somewhere in the deepest darkest parts of the earth – the mission field is everywhere a person without Christ is living.

‘Not called!’ did you say? ‘Not heard the call,’ I think you should say. Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear Him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father’s house and bid their brothers and sisters and servants and masters not to come there. Then look Christ in the face — whose mercy you have professed to obey — and tell Him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish His mercy to the world.  (William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army)

The church needs to be filled with proselytes.  Every Christian in the book of Acts was converted from another religion.  Each believer was able to give a testimony about finding the truth about God.  Regardless of whether they had converted from Judaism or if they had converted from the worship of Greek or Roman gods; each had a testimony about being brought out of darkness and into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).

Witnessing to a believer of a different religion is very much the same as witnessing to a believer in no religion.  The gospel remains the same; the Holy Spirit remains the same; the blood of Jesus remains the same and Jesus is still resurrected from the dead.  Witnessing effectively may require you to know and understand what the other person believes but it will still be the love of God and the power of the Holy Spirit that converts the soul.

Evangelism is not conducted through philosophical or religious debate (although there is always place for strong Christian apologetics); evangelism is conducted through a proclamation and demonstration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Remember, you will not convert a soul by winning an argument; people accept the gospel when they are convicted by the Holy Spirit.

My teaching and preaching were not with words of human wisdom that persuade people but with proof of the power that the Spirit gives. This was so that your faith would be in God’s power and not in human wisdom. (1 Corinthians 2:4-5)

 

Here are my points:

  1. Accept and answer the call of the Great Commission
  2. Love God, know His word and move in His power
  3. Love people, live right, share the gospel and demonstrate the power of the Holy Spirit

We need conversions.  We need proselytes.  We need to take as many people to heaven with us as possible.

Jesus said to his followers, “There are many people to harvest but only a few workers to help harvest them. Pray to the Lord, who owns the harvest, that he will send more workers to gather his harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38)

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