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By Mike Edwards

My fellow blogger recently posted on this subject Is It Our Duty to Convert Others? After reading I wanted to share some thoughts that came to mind about God-followers/Jesus lovers/Christians trying to convert others.

The Bible doesn’t say about evangelism what you may think

Jeff Banman shared some thoughts about the Apostle Paul, who is known as the primary evangelist/starter of Christianity after the death and resurrection of Jesus: Wise Evangelism | Jesus Creed |  Paul’s emphasis wasn’t as much going out and preaching the gospel but living out Jesus’ ways that can attract others to reasons behind our ways. There don’t have to be forced but natural conversations if others are interested.  Relax and simply be loving!

Does the Bible really require certain beliefs to be saved and go to Heaven?

When Jesus was asked by a religious expert how to have eternal life, He simply said to love God and your neighbor (Lk.10:25-37). Jesus’ focus wasn’t on quantity of life after death but about a life worth living here on earth. Jeremy Myers says it best: “When Scripture teaches about being saved from sin, it is not referring to escaping hell and going to heaven when we die, but to the deliverance from the devastating and destructive consequences of sin in this life.”  See here.

But few what to talk about God

Some may avoid spiritual discussions because they are only interested in pursuing a self-centered life. This isn’t most of my friends. One reason many avoid spiritual discussions is because they can smell a hidden agenda a mile away. It’s wrong to engage in friendships with others for the purpose of converting them to believe as you do, without advising upfront your agenda. I have huge regrets about some of my past actions. Parents or bosses inspire because of who they are.

What does evangelism look like in my life? 

In my twenties I felt that I had to convert others to accept Jesus as their Savior or go to Hell. Turns out the traditional understanding of Hell isn’t biblical in my opinion. See here.  Wouldn’t we be shouting “FIRE” from the rooftop if we believed Hell was real? Then, I begin to accept that God draws others to God, and I stand ready to share. When conversations take a natural tilt toward spiritual matters, I see if others want to discuss the influence God has had in my life.

God through their influence has made me a better man, husband, father, and friend or at least better than if on my own. If others see something in my life they desire in their life, I can’t wait to share what God can do in our lives. The only outward thing I may do is at the end of my email is a list of my blogs and books written. I view as an invitation to others who may desire spiritual conversations, and they think I may be safe.

Confession

Honestly, I would be lying if I said God conversations are often. They are rare. It is why I started blogging, so I had some way to discuss thoughts about God. People know I am into God because I am often asked to say the prayer at gatherings, despite not being a church guy. (I pray they don’t burn in hell of course). Actually, I just have a conversation with God in front of others out loud. I consider myself now open-minded and non-confrontational when it comes to God. Say something racist is another matter! Still such conversations are few and far between with those I know.

Relax!

Each has to decide how they think best to share their relationship with God with others. I am convinced there is a Creator who desires a loving relationship with each of their creations. But I respect those who aren’t convinced or have doubts a Creator really exists. That doesn’t make me more moral. Conversations should be natural and mutual. We don’t have to convert people. We don’t have to feel guilty because we aren’t convincing others about God and their love for them.  God can take care of themself!

MikeEdwardsprofilepic125

Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like  He can be contacted by email at: medwar2@gmail.com

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by Jim Gordon

Growing up in church, we were always told it was our job to go out and convert others to our faith. We were often threatened with the statement, if we do not convert others their blood will be on our hands.

Looking back on it, is this really what God expects of us? Is it our job as followers of Christ to convert the unsaved? Are we to force our views and beliefs on others so that they might come to God?

Today, my answer would be a definite no. It is our job to follow Christ and love others, and the Holy Spirit’s job to convict and lead people to the Father.

We cannot convert others; we cannot make them come to Christ by forcing our views and beliefs on them. Only the Holy Spirit can convict the world of sin and lead them to repentance.

Jesus said in 1 John 3:23 – ‘And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us’. Apart from that, we have nothing more to do than to be available to Him and allow the Spirit to work and love through us.

Also, we are told in 1 Peter 3:15 – ‘But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear’. To me, this says we are to live a life of love and service to others so that they will notice a difference in our lives. When they ask, we should be ready to tell them that it is the love of God within us.

We are called to make disciples, but disciples would be those who already have a relationship with Christ. The dictionary describes a disciple as a professed follower of Christ. We are to be there to encourage and help one another into maturity in their walk following Jesus. This is done by regular fellowship (read more about fellowship here) and getting to know one another so that we can encourage, build up, and lead by example.

We are also told to go into all the world and preach the gospel. The gospel being the good news that God loves us, has provided freedom from our sinful nature and has restored fellowship with us. Again, this is done by loving God and loving others on a daily basis. It is showing God’s love by example. It is not by being judgmental, pointing fingers, using guilt and other means that are sometimes used to try to force others to accept Christ.

When we show the love of God to others and accept them as they are, people will be drawn to Christ through love rather than by using condemning and threatening ways. This does not mean we have to agree with everyone or say you can live anyway you want with no consequences, but we can show the love of Christ to non-believers and accept them without expecting them to change and start acting like we think they should. God accepted us as we were before we came to Him, we should do the same.

Share the good news of God’s love to those you meet by loving them. Encourage and make disciples out of those who have come to Christ by loving them. Stop trying to force salvation on non-believers out of obligation, guilt and condemnation. Just love them. Love is the answer. God is love.

Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: jimgordon731@gmail.com

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Is it our job as Christians to convert the unsaved?

Are we to force our views and beliefs on others so that they might come to God?

My answer would be no. It is our job to follow Christ and love others, and the Holy Spirit’s job to convict and lead people to the Father.

We cannot convert others; we cannot make them come to Christ by forcing our views and beliefs on them. Only the Holy Spirit can convict the world of sin and lead them to repentance.

Jesus said in 1 John 3:23 that we are to accept Him and love others. Apart from that, we have nothing more to do than to be available to Him and allow the Spirit to work and love through us.

LoveGodandothers

We are called to make disciples, but disciples would be those who already have a relationship with Christ. The dictionary describes a disciple as ‘a professed follower of Christ’. We are to be there to encourage and help one another into maturity in our fellowship with Him.

We are also told to go into all the world and preach the gospel. The gospel being the good news that God loves us, He has provided freedom from our sinful nature and has restored fellowship with us. Again, this is done by loving God and loving others not by being judgmental, pointing fingers, threatening and other means we sometimes use to force others to accept Christ.

When we show the love of God to others and accept them as they are people will be be drawn to Christ easier than through condemning and threatening ways. This does not mean we have to agree with everyone or say you can live anyway you want with no consequences, but we can show the love of Christ to non-believers and accept them without expecting them to change and start acting like we think they should. God accepted us as we were before we came to Him we should do the same.

In love, tell the good news to those you meet that God loves them, encourage and make disciples out of those who know Christ and stop trying to force salvation on non-believers through ‘holier than thou’ attitudes, guilt and condemnation. Love is the answer. God is love.

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