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But Seriously Folks… About my Evangelistic Wardrobe

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(This is the conclusion of my 8 part series on the Martin Luther King Jr. Parade controversy. Start at part 1 here!) )

Here is my apologetic for wearing what I wear to our various evangelistic venues. It’s not perfect, but I think adequately explains why I do what I do as an evangelist. I look forward to your gracious and tactful responses to my “in a nutshell” explanation.

This is a response to some comments from the post, “What I’ll Wear to the Chinese New Year Parade.” :

******I pretty much post whatever is commented on, and allow the readers to “fight my battles” so to speak. I don’t expect everyone to agree with my methods, but please, if the reader disagrees, be gracious. We all come from different backgrounds and different approaches. I try different things all the time, some don’t work, and others do. My way is not the only correct way; you are free to preach and witness any way you like. Sometimes, though, we will just have to disagree.

My Scripture for wearing the Obama shirt in part 1 of this series comes from 1 Corinthians 9:20-23:  “To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”

Paul writes, “To the Jews I became a Jew… to win those who are under the Law.”

John MacArthur writes, “Because Jews were still under the Law, Paul would himself act as under the Law when he worked among them. He did not believe, teach, or give the least suggestion that following the Law was of any spiritual benefit… but it was a way of opening doors to work among the Jews.” (From MacArthur’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians)

Paul writes, “To those who are without law, as without law.”

MacArthur again, “To keep from being misunderstood, he makes it clear that he is not talking about ignoring or violating God’s Moral Law. “…In other than moral matters, however, Paul identified as closely as possible with Gentile customs. He ate what they ate, went where they went, and dressed as they dressed. The purpose was to win the Gentiles to Christ.” (From MacArthur’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians

Paul writes, “To the weak I became weak.”

MacArthur, “When among those who were weak he acted weak. He stooped to their level of comprehension.”
(From MacArthur’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians)

Folks, if you disagree with me, I’m okay with that. Really. I offer suggestion and techniques that you may want to use, but you don’t have to. And please, I want you to smile and laugh and have a good time when reading this blog. I try to make fun of myself when I make mistakes, and want this site to be enjoyed. It is not my way or the highway.

I want to answer this comment from my brother, Chad:

A shirt with Buddha is wrong due to people thinking you would be Buddhist. Yet a shirt with “The year of the Ox” is related to the Chinese Horoscope. Its better for them to think you are into chinese astrology than Buddha? Unbelievable Steve……….Promotion of the gods of astrology is better than the promotion of Buddha? I know, I know I must be totally off base here so go ahead set me straight………What am I missing here?

To Chad: Thank you brother for your support and earnest desire to understand. Let me explain why I would not wear a Buddhist shirt and why I would wear a “Year of the Ox” shirt.

Buddhism is a religion. To wear a Buddha would imply that I ascribe to that religion, which, of course, I don’t.

“The Year of the Ox” shirt is more cultural, like our Independence Day (and yes, I do know that it is from their Zodiac). An analogy I would use is a British person visiting America on the Fourth of July. Would it be wrong for him to wear an American Independence Day shirt, even though our forefathers founded our country on rebellion? (I admit that it is not the best analogy.)

That’s my take, anyway. My conscience says it’s okay; yours may not. I’m okay with that. We’re brothers. I would not make you wear the shirt if you joined us on an evangelism outing, and if you felt that strongly if you did join us, I probably wouldn’t wear it out of Christian love.

To the few who disagree with my shirt-wearing, please understand that I just want you to understand why I’m doing it; I’m not trying to be right. This falls, I believe, into that gray area. For some of you, it may be black and white; that’s okay, too.

God bless you. I appreciate you. Keep fishin’,

Pastor Steve

Now read what happened at the 2009 Golden Dragon Parade in Chinatown by clicking here!

8 Comments

  1. Thank You , Brother Steve. Very graciously said. I think the way you responded was an answer to prayer. You allowed God to work. Please keep praying, studying and serving. You’re a blessing to me, brother. You’re blog is the reason I passed out tracts (MDB’s) at a local parade.

  2. Wow! That’s wonderful! I’m very thankful to be able to pass on what I’m learning. Keep on praying…

    Steve

  3. I haven’t commented before about this topic.. because I found the controversy slightly ridiculous.

    I believed that wearing an Obama IS President shirt was exercising wisdom…. now if you wore a shirt that claimed support of abortion or homosexuality, that would be an entirely different story.

    For me–who lives in Penn State University area… wisdom is wearing a PSU shirt while passing out tracts. Stupidity is wearing an Ohio State shirt while passing out tracts.

    Great job, Steve!

  4. Better an apologetic than an apology. Grace well bestowed, Steve.

  5. Naomi- FYI Barack Obama revoked President Reagan’s policy preventing
    our tax dollars from funding overseas abortions.

    This came at the end of his first week in office during which he
    launched the most radical anti-family, anti-life agenda in the
    history of the U.S. Presidency. That agenda includes:

    Repealing the Defense of Marriage Act…

    Granting full rights (including adoption) to not only
    lesbians and homosexuals but bisexuals and transsexuals…

    Giving special workplace protection based on sexual
    orientation and even the wide-open category of “gender
    identity” that will stifle Christian businesses, religious
    organizations… and possibly even your church!

    Making the military an open forum for homosexuals…

    Supporting unlimited abortion as a fundamental “right.”

    This IS our president. People who see you wearing a Penn state shirt will see your loyalty to Penn State as a fan. Wearing an Obama shirt shows your loyalty to him as a fan, including his agenda above. Steve, this is not focussed to you since weve been down this road before. I thought I’d offer Naomi some facts about OUR President, we so quickly jump on board and support through our actions..

  6. Great article with the McArthor comments. I was wondering what the people being preached to thought of the shirt. “The white guy that supports [really just prays for] our new black president.” This is a blessing to see in every way! I think we can get so religious as Christians that we really just stop careing for people street level. There is no question that the shirt was affective to preach salvation at this event.

    Val

  7. To Paul Latour: Now that you mention it, let me apologize to anyone who I may have offended in standing up for my position. I love a vigorous debate, but I want to be even more careful in my tone and attitude when presenting my opinion because I value all of yours as well.

    God bless you all.

    And thanks for praying for me!

  8. Being new to this web site, I don’t know if my comments here will still be significant since the post is already 7+ months old.

    With regards to witnessing or sharing the Gospel in an Ozzie concert, or a Playboy convention, (if there ever be one here in the Philippines) or a Gay parade (no we don’t have that here but we have Gay Pageant contests), I would present myself to them in a godly and honorable way that is pleasing to God and not to the masses. I am an ambassador of Jesus Christ and I will present myself as one representing His Kingdom and not the world’s kingdom.

    In the same way where I will not allow my wife to wear a Madonna T-shirt on or a Hustler T-shirt on just so she could fit to the crowd in order to hand out Gospel tracts or witness to someone the Glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    So, as a brother and servant of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I appeal to you Pastor Steve to do the same. Romans 12:1,2.

    With regards to Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 9:22-23; the following is a Q&A taken from the 2003 Shepherds’ Conference, a ministry of Grace Community Church. I pray that you consider this since Pastors & Ministers who speak on this conferences are reliable and faithful in The Word of God and The Gospel.

    Q. It appears that you have taken some of Rick Warren’s comments in his book out of context. Have you read his book? Have you gone to his conference? Have you approached him or his staff to get clarification by what he means by these things, especially in light of what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:19 and following?

    A. “I haven’t read the entire book, but I have read probably about 80% of it, and I’ve read the portions where the quotes were taken out of. I don’t think they are taken out of context. I am not sure how we could negotiate this, but I would say, regardless of that, I would stand and perhaps I have some areas that I am missing a little bit here, but I would stand and say that the quotes that I have taken are representative of the movement and I would even say they are representative of Rick Warren’s thinking. I think the quotes stand on their own, but they are certainly representative in terms of what’s been flushed out in terms of how the ministry has developed and the focus and everything that surrounds it.

    In terms of the conferences. No, I haven’t gone to any of the conferences, although two of our pastors did go to a conference at Willow Creek. Willow Creek and Saddleback are different, although I think that there are many similarities. I am not sure if I should report back what they said, but let me just summarize it this way: They said, “That the Word of God was used more as a prop than actually being taught from at this entire conference they went too.” That’s their subjective experience, and I am just reporting it so you can take that as you wish.

    Regarding 1 Corinthians 9, I believe that is where Paul said, “I became all things to all men…” Now, what’s the topic of 1 Corinthians 8, 9, and 10? It’s Christian liberty. In 1 Corinthians 8-10, what Paul is talking about is Christian liberty, and Paul, when he writes in 1 Corinthians 9:19 and forward, “Though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, though not being myself under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law.” And then in verse 22, he says he became all things to all men, that he might by all means save some.”

    What Paul is talking about here, and I appreciate you asking that question, because this is a passage that is often, I would say, misused by people that would support this. Paul is talking about his surrender of Christian liberty. So Paul in 1 Corinthians 8-10, and the same thing as in Romans 14, talks about Christian liberty, and says that the Christian should take the high road. If there is something that will make a weaker brother stumble—don’t do it. Be willing to sacrifice your Christian liberty. So when Paul talks about living under the law, when he is with those who are under the law, and as without the law for those without the law, he’s not talking about remarketing or packaging or trying to do something to improve the clear message that God has given him. He makes that very clear in the first two chapters as we have said before. What he is saying that a believer should be willing to sacrifice his liberty.

    In chapter 10, Paul gets into discussion of food sacrificed to idols, and he says that if you are a brother and you go to a pagan’s household and they offer you food that was sacrificed to idols—go ahead and eat it, and if that tweaks you conscience don’t worry about it because an idol is nothing, so go ahead and eat that meat, which is clean, for the benefit of the unsaved person. But he also says, but if you go to a situation, where you are at an unsaved person’s house and they offer you up food that was sacrificed to idols, but wait, you have got a weaker brother over here, that maybe just came out of this pagan meat sacrificing system, and it is going to tweak his conscience, then give priority to him and don’t eat the meat. So even in that chapter, Paul is saying that the priority for a believer is his ministry to other believers and not to this unsaved person. So that’s the context of this passage. It doesn’t have anything to do with remarketing it.” http://www.biblebb.com/files/MAC/SC03-1029.htm

    Thank you for considering my comments with regards to this months old blog post.

    Hoping and awaiting for your ‘serious’ response. God bless you Pastor Steve.

    in Christ,
    gerry 🙂

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