panelarrow

Evangelism Gone Wrong, Part 1: Mistakes Were Made

| 55 Comments

Those unbelievers out there can be so darn difficult.

They don’t understand the Gospel message—or don’t care; they’ll try to get the evangelist off his game by ridicule, loud shouts of disapproval or verbal abuse; they’ll mock you and the God who made them, sometimes even blaspheming his name. And it’s possible they may even try to get you to stop preaching that message of eternal life by using force.

What’s a Christian to do? We’re called to be gracious, gentle, respectful, loving, kind, helpful and prayerful, especially to our enemies. But what happens when things go wrong—desperately wrong—and the witness for Christ is totally blown? And what about those other guys; you know, those who call themselves brothers but don’t represent Christ at all in action and attitude when witnessing about him? What should you do? What about Gospel tracts that don’t tell the full story of the Gospel, are imbalanced, giving a skewed picture of the Savior?

This is the first part of a series that will offer some perspective when evangelism goes wrong. I’ll be sharing a few missteps on my part in a moment, but first let’s read about what happened to Ray Comfort long ago:

He tells the story about a woman who was heckling him so badly, using filthy language and caustic comments, that he blew it. She asked him a question that went something like this: “I’m a lady, but I don’t agree at all with you about what you are saying about women.”

Ray flippantly responded with, “You may be a woman, Ma’am, but you certainly are no lady…”

He then explained how the “lady” proceeded to beat him up.

Every evangelist will screw it up at one time or another. In my evangelism class, the very first thing I teach the students is this motto:  “Go and make mistakes.” Here’s an excerpt from my article:

Go ahead, make that foolish error that offends someone.

Tell someone too harshly that they are going to Hell. Shake your finger in someone’s face. Get in the flesh once or twice.

Heck, turn the volume of your bullhorn up real loud. Accidentally.

The only way we learn and get better at something is to try. You can’t be Barry Bonds without striking out. Tiger Woods duffed many. And I’m sure that Beckham didn’t bend it with out biffing it one or two times.

You have my permission to muck it up, screw it up, and just plain blow it when sharing the Gospel. You will get better, I promise.

Nearly two years ago I was preaching atop a portable traffic sign with my friend “Righteous Richard” Chavarria when an unidentified man tried to stop me.

I ignored him.

He shouted again for me to stop.

I ignored him again.

He tugged on my shirt. I tried not to notice.

He pulled my shirt. I continued preaching.

Then he grabbed my shirt and pulled me down to the ground—a three foot drop!

As I was falling off the traffic signal, I “accidentally” bumped him in the shoulder with a hard thump.

I was stunned. No one had ever pulled me off a ledge before! “I told you to come down!” Mr. Unidentified man warned, unfazed by my improvised bump.

I thought I was pretty cool the way I sneakily enacted revenge on this man. After a few words were exchanged between the two of us, we shook hands, apologized to each other and parted ways. I was in the clear. Unfortunately, a recent graduate from my evangelism class was with us at the event…and he saw everything.

“Pastor Steve?” he meekly inquired. “When that big man pulled you down from there, did you mean to slam into his shoulder?”

I was caught—red shouldered.

“Yes, yes,” I guiltily admitted. “I shouldn’t have done it. I’m so sorry.”

And I was sorry—not just because a Newbie caught his teacher at his worst, but because it was a horrible witness for Christ. Big time. I was a lousy example. It would have been best for all had I just quit preaching.

Another time I thought I was being quite funny by provoking a Buddhist man to wrath at the Huntington Pier. He got so mad that he knocked over our microphone, called me a name and stormed off. Oh no, I did it again. When the encounter was posted to YouTube, I was doubly ashamed! (Thankfully, the man who downloaded it, Chad Williams, deleted it.)

There are other cases where I’ve messed up, but you get the point: Flesh happens; that is, the Sinful Nature is always there. I take full responsibility. Every time.

Will my mistakes stop me? Have my errors disqualified me?

No way.

God has actually put me to the test, again and again.

When an irate protester at an anti-war demonstration pulled down my loud speaker, I ignored him. As I preached to an unwitting outdoor beer garden audience, one dis-satisfied customer splashed me with a pitcher of water. I thanked him. When a drunk man tried to unplug my sound system at a football game, I let him do it (and called for help).

In fact, it’s been a long time since I’ve muffed it, and by God’s grace, I won’t ever again. I hope to never get angry at an unbeliever again; after all, they are blind and without wisdom.

Nope. I am resolved to love my atheist/agnostic/provocateur neighbor as myself.

Especially when I blow it.

**Click here to read about another HUGE MISTAKE in Part 2**

(Homer image from semsamurai.com/page/2/,
Ray Comfort photo from Chris Yarsab)

55 Comments

  1. Thanks for posting this Steve, its good to know I am not the only on that blows it.

  2. You never had an answer for Nohm’s question, did you?

  3. Thanks for posting this, Steve – this type of message is reassuring, especially coming from a leader like yourself. 🙂

  4. No, not the DMV. Not sure what you heard about that, but it was definitely not a mistake. But I have made others though.

  5. Steve’s answer to my question is Matthew 11:25

    At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.

    My question was:

    Now, again, what makes Christianity more special than Islam in this? Why is being saved by believing in a man more special than being saved by taking the Shahada?

    Maybe I’m dense, but I don’t see how Matthew 11:25 is an answer to that question. I’m completely serious; I just don’t see the connection. Please explain.

    Are you claiming that Muslims are the “wise and learned”? I don’t get it.

  6. Nohm,

    You are a pretty smrt guy for an atheist; yet if you haven’t figured out by this time, with all the Christian blogs you visit, all the Christian info you’ve perused, all the apologetics you’ve read… if you can’t discern what the difference is between Christianity and Islam, there is nothing else I can say. If you don’t understand the significance of “the man” Jesus, then the truth has indeed been hidden from you, a wise and learned man.

    Cheers!

  7. You are a pretty smrt guy for an atheist; yet if you haven’t figured out by this time, with all the Christian blogs you visit, all the Christian info you’ve perused, all the apologetics you’ve read… if you can’t discern what the difference is between Christianity and Islam, there is nothing else I can say. If you don’t understand the significance of “the man” Jesus, then the truth has indeed been hidden from you, a wise and learned man.

    Maybe because, just like you did above, they also just danced around the question, tossing a bunch of word salad, without actually giving a direct answer.

    A Muslim could say to you:

    Steve, if you don’t understand the significance of the Shahada, then the truth has indeed been hidden from you.

    When you understand why you’re unable to take that seriously, you’ll understand my feelings on your “answer”.

  8. You are a pretty smrt guy for an atheist; yet if you haven’t figured out by this time, with all the Christian blogs you visit, all the Christian info you’ve perused, all the apologetics you’ve read… if you can’t discern what the difference is between Christianity and Islam, there is nothing else I can say

    Actually, I just thought of something. Imagine that I know absolutely nothing about Christianity. Imagine I’m a Muslim who is completely ignorant about Christianity.

    How would you then answer my question?

    Why is being saved by believing in a man more special than being saved by taking the Shahada?

    • Nohm wrote: Actually, I just thought of something. Imagine that I know absolutely nothing about Christianity. Imagine I’m a Muslim who is completely ignorant about Christianity.

      How would you then answer my question?

      Why is being saved by believing in a man more special than being saved by taking the Shahada?

      I would say these things to you. It would then become very clear.

  9. Steve – what’s the connection between your post and atheism? You cite some rude and belligerent people, but there’s nothing to indicate they were atheists. In your world, is anybody who doesn’t share your particular belief about the Jesus considered an atheist? Or only the rude ones?

    I also like the passive-aggressive way you highlight these rude people by insisting the post is about mistakes made by evangelists.

    Was the story about Ray Comfort supposed to highlight a mistake or was it supposed to be funny? Would you have told this story if he wasn’t ‘beat up’?

    “Another time I thought I was being quite funny by provoking a Buddhist man to wrath at the Huntington Pier.”

    I respect you for admitting that. When Ray tells his story about the woman, it sounds more like a joke and a way to get sympathy than an admittance of wrong doing on his part. However, I actually think you like to get into people’s faces, you like the confrontation, and that this is why you evangelize. It also explains why you choose sites like beer gardens.

    • Perdita wrote: Steve – what’s the connection between your post and atheism?
      Me: The connection is Tuesday. And there are unbelievers in the story. Also, this is a multi-part series and I needed to start on Tuesday. I thought atheists would enjoy these particular Tuesday posts.

      You cite some rude and belligerent people, but there’s nothing to indicate they were atheists. In your world, is anybody who doesn’t share your particular belief about the Jesus considered an atheist?Or only the rude ones?

      No. The focus was on unbelievers in general which may include atheists and the mistakes we make when dealing with them.

      Was the story about Ray Comfort supposed to highlight a mistake or was it supposed to be funny?

      Both. Did you smile? I did.

      Would you have told this story if he wasn’t ‘beat up’?

      Don’t know. Probably. It was a mistake.

  10. Nohm asks..”Now, again, what makes Christianity more special than Islam in this? Why is being saved by believing in a man more special than being saved by taking the Shahada?”

    The difference is that if the Bible is true, and the claims of Jesus are true, and Jesus Christ is in fact almighty God, then one can only be saved through faith in His name. One cannot be saved by taking the Shahada. So the ultimate question becomes “Is the Bible the word of God?”.

    Do you know what the scientific method is? In the scientific method, one makes an obeservation, formulates a hypothetical conclusion, and then performs tests to DIS- prove the conclusion. Even science acknowledges that man cannot ultimately “prove” any truth claim. There are only claims that are exteremly difficult to dis-prove.

    So, the challenge to you is to demonstrably dis-prove the claim that the You will say to me, ” No, the burden of proof is on the one making the claim.” That would be true in a legal sense, but as I’ve pointed out, that is not the scientific method. If you want to be scientific, then you dis-prove the hypothesis.

  11. This is a great subject to talk about! I can relate I have made my fair share of mistakes when witnessing. I also am enjoying the debates going on, of course that is just how the “Stone the Preacher” website operates though and that’s a good thing. God bless Pastor Steve!

  12. The difference is that if the Bible is true, and the claims of Jesus are true, and Jesus Christ is in fact almighty God, then one can only be saved through faith in His name. One cannot be saved by taking the Shahada. So the ultimate question becomes “Is the Bible the word of God?”

    Actually, the difference is that if the Quran is true, and the claims of Allah are true, and Allah is in fact almighty God, then one can only be saved through faith in His name and taking the Shahada. One cannot be saved by accepting Jesus, a prophet, as his “Savior” because Allah has no partners… that’s the first words of the Shahada right there. So the ultimate question becomes “Is the Quran the word of Allah?”

    How does that work for you?

    Do you know what the scientific method is?

    Please try not to condescend too much.

    In the scientific method, one makes an obeservation, formulates a hypothetical conclusion, and then performs tests to DIS- prove the conclusion.

    Okay, so please describe all the steps you used to form your hypothetical conclusion. Until you do, I cannot even attempt to “disprove” it, since I don’t know what it is.

    You will say to me, ” No, the burden of proof is on the one making the claim.” That would be true in a legal sense, but as I’ve pointed out, that is not the scientific method.

    No, it’s still part of the scientific method. If you make a claim, you first have to show how you support it. Then I can “disprove” it.

    So… please, make your claim, and show how you created a hypothetical conclusion. In detail. Because the scientific method does NOT work like this:

    You: “Radio works by telepathic communications of tiny pixies! Now disprove that!”

    I need detailed steps.

  13. I wrote:

    Actually, I just thought of something. Imagine that I know absolutely nothing about Christianity. Imagine I’m a Muslim who is completely ignorant about Christianity.

    How would you then answer my question?

    Why is being saved by believing in a man more special than being saved by taking the Shahada?

    Steve replied with:

    I would [give you the good person test]. It would then become very clear.

    So, I’ll go more into detail about the problems with giving a knowledgable Muslim the “Good Person Test” later (I’m leaving for lunch at the moment), but I’m curious… have you ever given the “Good Person Test” to a Muslim? What was their reaction? What happened when you got to the part where your axioms are drastically different from theirs?

    Do you understand how Muslims, in their view, achieve forgiveness from Allah? That is, when you ask “have you ever stolen something”, do you understand how a Muslim would answer that?

  14. Like Ray says, “find yourself a sinner and experiment on him.” I’ve heard courage likened to a muscle- The more you use it, the stronger it gets.

  15. You will say to me, ” No, the burden of proof is on the one making the claim.” That would be true in a legal sense, but as I’ve pointed out, that is not the scientific method.

    Here’s the other major problem with this idea of yours:

    I say, “My hypothetical conclusion is that you, Revulayshun, are lying when you say that you believe in God. Disprove my conclusion!”

    Or I say, “My hypothetical conclusion is that God is a figment of your imagination. Disprove my conclusion!”

    Do you see that, if your understanding of the scientific method was correct, that it would devolve into circles?

  16. What strikes me is you promote confrontation (“Heck, turn the volume of your bullhorn up real loud. Accidentally“; “unwitting outdoor beer garden audience”) and that 1) bad reaction to this sort of confrontation supports an ‘us v them’ mentality and 2) ‘them’ don’t exist as real people for you. You say you love the atheist/agnostic/provocateur neighbor as yourself, but you show that you really don’t. They’re just sinners you can ‘experiment’ on, cattle standing in line at the DMV that you can preach to, the ‘blind’ that you can sanctimoniously pity.

  17. Was the story about Ray Comfort supposed to highlight a mistake or was it supposed to be funny?

    Both. Did you smile? I did.

    Was the story about you purposely falling on the man and trying to get the Buddhist angry also supposed to make me smile?

    • Was the story about you purposely falling on the man and trying to get the Buddhist angry also supposed to make me smile?

      Of course not. It was there to show you how badly I biffed it.

  18. Steve,

    Have you ever given the Good Person test to a Muslim?

    Do you understand how Muslims repent and receive forgiveness?

    • Nohm,

      I have. No matter what they say or believe it will not get them to Heaven, unless of course, they trust Christ. Remember, I’m responsible, the evangelist is responsible, to get out the message. Understanding of the message, repentance and faith all come from the Lord. I’m called to water and plant the seed; God causes it to grow. (1 Cor.)

      For further info on the seed and it’s soil (hearers), read Matthew 13.

      This is why I’m not terribly upset when someone doesn’t respond positively to the Gospel; the results are in God’s hands. Of course I’m saddened when they don’t believe because of their ultimate destination as an unsaved sinner, don’t get me wrong there.

      But all this quibbling over words, founding fathers, questions, and minutiae are all beside the point. And it bores me quite frankly; that’s why I don’t respond to most of your/other atheist’s questions. The bottom line: Unless you repent you, too, will perish.

      I know, I know, you don’t care… (Oooops, there I go with that mind-reading again.) 🙂

  19. In this comment Steve explains that, if I was a Muslim, he would walk me through the Good Person test.

    Let’s see how that would work out…

    Steve: Are you a good person… by God’s standards?

    Muslim: Yes.

    S: And if so… are you good enough to go to heaven?

    M: I think you mean Jannah, or Paradise, but yes, I am good enough to go there.

    S: Have you ever told a lie?

    M: Yes, and so I repented and asked Allah for forgiveness, which He granted me. Alhamdulillah.

    S: Have you given money to charity?

    M: Of course! Zagat is one of the pillars of Islam!

    S: Have you gone to church regularly?

    M: Church? I go to the mosque, and I pray five at least times a day, just as Allah requests. Why would I go to a “church”? Allah says nothing about going to a “church”.

    S: Have you ever stolen anything?

    M: Yes, and so I repented and asked Allah for forgiveness, which He granted me. Alhamdulillah.

    S: Have you ever used “God,” “Jesus,” or “Christ,” as a curse word?

    M: First of all, the prophet’s name is “Isa”, and I don’t know what this “Christ” word is, so I’ve never used that word period. But yes, I have cursed before, and so I repented and asked Allah for forgiveness, which He granted me. Alhamdulillah.

    S: Have you made it a practice to read the Bible regularly?

    M: No! Why would I spend my time with such a corrupted book? I read the Holy Quran, of course! Don’t you?

    S: Have you ever looked at someone and had lustful thoughts?

    M: Yes, and so I repented and asked Allah for forgiveness, which He granted me. Alhamdulillah.

    S: Have you ever broken the first Commandment?

    M: What do you mean by “commandment”? I follow the pillars of Islam, of course. Don’t you? Wait, are you talking about the various groupings… three, I think… of commandments in that corrupted book called “the Bible”? Why would I read a book that has been corrupted over the past two thousand years? It even claims that Isa is partners with Allah! Can you imagine that?!

    S: So, you’re a lying, thieving, adulterous….

    M: Yes, yes, but I repented and asked Allah for forgiveness, which he granted me. Alhamdulillah. So, I don’t really understand your point.

    S: If God was to judge you by the 10 Commandments, would you be guilty or innocent?

    M: You again reference a corrupt book, instead of the Holy Quran, so I’m confused. But if you’re asking if I’m guilty of sinning, the answer is yes. But, as a pious Muslim, I dutifully repented and asked Allah for forgiveness, which he granted me. Alhamdulillah. Therefore, I will be in Paradise after I die. Alhamdulillah. The real question is have you followed Allah’s commandments? Zagat? The Hajj? Ramadan? Do you obey the pillars of Islam, as Allah commanded? Are you guilty or innocent?

    ——————————–

    So, Steve, do you see the problem?

  20. (Wow, that’s embarrassing… I spelled “zakat” as “zagat”. The word is correctly spelled “zakat”. I apologize for this mistake above.)

  21. You’re suddenly very straight-forward with your Calvinist leanings, Steve. Makes me wonder why you squirmed around every time I pressed you on it.

  22. I guess I fail at rhetorical. No, I didn’t find Ray’s story funny because it was all about him and how he really was right: she was no lady ha! ha! It’s used to laugh at her and think well of Ray. He uses it as a joke, rather than a true ‘this was a mistake’ moment. But I’m glad you found it funny.

    You used humor in re-telling your story about ‘falling’ on the guy, but it was clear that you don’t consider it a joke.

  23. Steve I think what Nohm is getting at is that you are just speaking at people. You can see the same behaviour from Ryan and then Dennis.

    Would you be open to me doing a guest post on an example of atheist morality?

    That way it might give me enough space so that Ryan, Dennis and yourself will understand how atheists can and do have objective morals. It would also be an opportunity for you to give a good Christian critique rather than being on the defensive all the time.

    If you’re agreeable I would of course meet your posting guidelines and you would have end publishing rights, but I would request no editing is done to ensure I’m not misrepresented.

    Let me know what you think,
    Vagon

  24. Nohm- Actually is DOES work that way, Nohm. To use your example, I turn on a radio, I observe that there are voices coming from inside. So, I hypothesise that they are coming from pixies. But, as I listen to the voices, ( study the avaiable data) every so often they identify themselves, give the call letters of the station, and I’m able to track down the actual source and disprove the hypothesis. The voice that speaks through the Bible identifies Himself. He gives an accurate account of the world we see around us, and the condition of the human heart. Not only that, the Bible itself contains eyewitness accounts of the events described therein. Here’s one claim of the Bible: God created all the different kinds of living creatures at the same time, and that they reproduce only their own kind. Go ahead and disprove that.

  25. Nohm says: “I say, “My hypothetical conclusion is that you, Revulayshun, are lying when you say that you believe in God. Disprove my conclusion!”

    You’re comitting the logical fallacy of a non-falsifiable hypothesis. But, the things that I say, and the things that I do ought to lead you to the conclusion that I do believe in God.

    At midnight yesterday every clock in the world slowed down by ten minutes. That’s another non-falsifiable hypothesis. If every clock slowed down, there’s no way to verify, or disprove it.

  26. God created all the different kinds of living creatures at the same time, and that they reproduce only their own kind.

    Define the word “kind”.

  27. A few more things:

    1a. “The voice that speaks through the Bible identifies Himself.

    I’ve attempted this test many many times, and it has always failed. Therefore, it is not repeatable and, at best, subjective.

    1b. “He gives an accurate account of the world we see around us, and the condition of the human heart.

    ‘ve attempted this test many many times, and it has always failed. Therefore, it is not repeatable and, at best, subjective.

    Seriously, when you’re dealing with talking snakes and donkeys, an ark surviving a world-wide flood, and 500 people jumping out of their graves and walking around, I question how you define the word “accurate”.

    1c. “Not only that, the Bible itself contains eyewitness accounts of the events described therein.

    It claims eyewitness accounts. The problem there is that “eyewitness accounts” are subjective and non-repeatable, and can easily be incorrect or misunderstood.

    Do you take the eyewitness accounts in the Quran seriously? If not, then why should I take those in the Bible seriously?

    2. “God created all the different kinds of living creatures at the same time, and that they reproduce only their own kind.

    Please describe a test that would falsify this claim.

    3. “But, as I listen to the voices, ( study the avaiable data) every so often they identify themselves, give the call letters of the station, and I’m able to track down the actual source

    That’s just what the pixies want you to think. 😉

  28. Actually, I completely forgot to respond to the following:

    Revulayshun wrote:

    So, the challenge to you is to demonstrably dis-prove the claim that the You will say to me, ” No, the burden of proof is on the one making the claim.” That would be true in a legal sense, but as I’ve pointed out, that is not the scientific method. If you want to be scientific, then you dis-prove the hypothesis.

    Until you bring forth a scientific hypothesis, I’m much more interested in logic. And trying to put the burden of proof on me, when you’re the one making the claim, is a logical fallacy. So, not just “in a legal sense”.

    So please, what objective, testable, falsifiable evidence do you have that your God objectively exists?

  29. Nohm, The Bible itself IS the hypothesis. Go ahead and falsify any claim of the Bible.

  30. I think Nohm would reply, that the Koran itself IS the hypothesis. Go ahead and falsify any claim of the Koran.

  31. The Bible claims that a snake and a donkey can talk in a language understood by humans.

    Snakes and donkeys cannot talk in a language understood by humans.

    Falsified.

    Romans 1 says that I believe in God.

    I do not believe in God.

    Falsified.

    You’re not even really trying here, are you, revulayshun? Poe?

  32. revulayshun, I’ll ask again:

    What objective, testable, falsifiable evidence do you have that your God objectively exists?

  33. revulayshun, The Quran itself IS the hypothesis. Go ahead and waste your time falsify any claim of the Bible.

  34. (Please delete my previous comment and replace it with this one)

    revulayshun, The Quran itself IS the hypothesis. Go ahead and waste your time falsify any claim of the Bible.

  35. (and I messed it up again… last try)

    evulayshun, The Quran itself IS the hypothesis. Go ahead and waste your time falsify any claim of the Quran.

  36. Awesome, let me cook something up..

  37. The Bible’s estimates of the Earth’s age are false when compared to the actual dated samples of various elements that make up the Earth.

    Well, that was fun.

    So, now that the whole Bible thing is dealt with, anyone want to play some Dungeons and Dragons?

  38. Hmmmm Garrett brings up a point, I’ve chatted with my more Christian co-workers about science v. religion and they’re sort of all over the map. On Tuesday we got into a discussion over whether Noah’s Ark was real or not. One went off on a tangent about it, the other tried to look up facts on the net but only was able to bring up pages without any science citations in them that put forth all sorts of odd claims. My response was that it was allegorical and that it couldn’t have happened in real life. Every time I’d bring up a logical point one of the more vehement defenders would make up reasons on the fly for how it could have happened, ie. The lions ate hay and then afterwards they started eating meat. The point I’d ask is Steve or others do you doubt the dating methods science uses to establish the age of things, such as radiometric dating?

  39. Revelayshun wrote the following: At midnight yesterday every clock in the world slowed down by ten minutes. That’s another non-falsifiable hypothesis. If every clock slowed down, there’s no way to verify, or disprove it..

    Incorrect. If clocks slowed by 10 minutes, you would see the results in the billions of databases around the world. Most databases include timestamps for certain values, and some of these values drive other processes. A slowing of clocks could be seen in this data; a web site that normally got 600 hits per hour could be seen to get 700 hits for that hour the slowdown occurred in.

    In fact, this “blip” in the data would then be able to be found for every website around the world. Healthcare and banking systems which are required to operate according the very specific time schemes would be thrown off for this period. Cardiac pumps would endanger their patients’ lives for that 10 minute period.

    It’s a fact that the slowing of clocks would be easily verifiable.

  40. Regardless, if you make the hypothesis then YOU do the experiment. If your results confirm the hypothesis, THEN you show us so we can try and replicate your outcome.

  41. Thank you so much for posting this Pastor Steve! This is a wonderful encouragement to me and very appropriately timed due to one of my more recent witnessing encounters. Thank you for allowing yourself to be put under the public spotlight for the edification of other believers! God bless you!

  42. Telling people who are evangelizing they are making mistakes is wrong. NO ONE makes a mistake who shares Jesus Christ with the lost. When we share Jesus we plant a seed, even if the result of that sharing is not what WE hope, it is EXACTLY what Jesus wants. We plant a seed for Jesus to use.

    To tell someone they are making mistakes is saying Jesus is making a mistake, and we KNOW Jesus makes NO mistakes.

  43. No, to tell someone they are making mistakes is to say that they are making mistakes. Even assuming that Jesus can use anything you say to His benefit, it doesn’t follow that what you are saying is exactly what He wants – you may be keeping Him busy correcting your mistakes. Assuming that you are claiming that it is impossible for you to act in a way contrary to what Jesus wants means you don’t believe you have free will – or you’re confusing yourself with Jesus. This may be your position – I don’t know.

    Unless you are claiming that each Christian is omniscient, there is no way to know with 100% certainty that you have the message right. Even assuming that God is powerful enough to let you know something with 100% accuracy, you still don’t have the means to determine between what you think God is telling you and what your flesh is telling you. You would need omniscience for that. But you may be claiming this – I don’t know.

    And I think you understand this. I think you know of people, or groups of people, that sincerely believe they are doing God’s work even though you think they are not. What I’m going to say is something that you will reject, but it is quite possible that you are as misguided as those others. And if you turn on the echo-chamber because you’re absolutely convinced that you could not possibly have it wrong, you’ll never know this.

    Unless they’re completely narcissistic or deeply delusional, most people understand the benefit of constructive criticism.

  44. You know – scratch all that.

    It occurred to me that if you look at things through some sort of Calvinistic lens, you are right. Because God has already chosen and if you’re not part of the elect you’ll never be part of the elect and the elect will never need correction, because, you know, they’re elect.

    It doesn’t mean that you, Rev William Mills, aren’t deluded. It just means that it would be a waste of time to correct you if you were. Because if you’re already going down a wrong path, that you’re on a wrong path at all means you were never one of the elect and if you were never one of the elect you might as well keep your delusions for as long as you can.

  45. I know, I know, I don’t have a dog in this hunt, or however that saying goes. This is an issue for you theists to hash over, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. Back in the day when I was a Christian (I know, false Christian to you), it irked me when people wouldn’t take a stand against Christian bad behavior. ‘Saying they’re making mistakes is saying Jesus is making mistakes’ hit that long sleeping nerve.

    Now, I’m very cautious about commending any theists here for fear someone will think, “Oh, no! If that bad, wicked atheist thinks it’s right, it must be wrong!” So, I won’t.

    My quibble with your linked post is the “accidentally” because it seems like you’re endorsing wink-wink-nudge-nudge-of-course-I-didn’t-mean-to-turn-it-up-that-loud. It’s one thing to make mistakes and assure people that mistakes are part of the learning curve, it’s another to encourage people to hijack an unsuspecting audience and make purposeful ‘mistakes’ in order to see how far you can push the envelope. I hope what you are trying to do is the former and not the later, but that particular line is iffy to me.

    • The reason I am writing these articles is for people like you, perdita. We don’t/I don’t want to be offensive with our/my behavior; the Gospel is offensive enough.

      In regard to the “Mistakes” article, I am just saying that we shouldn’t feel guilty and condemned when we make them, even if we turn up the volume too loud. I wanted to say it in a funny way.

      Good points though. I appreciate you thinking these things over.

  46. Steve thanks for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ! I only wish i had enough courage. Do not worry when people speak bad about you; remember the prophets, apostles, christians throughout history and even the Blessed Lord himself.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.