Last Friday I posed these questions: Can someone be too forceful during an evangelistic encounter? Is it possible to “shove” salvation down someone’s throat? Where does one draw the line between tactful and tacky?
Unfortunately, readers of this blog chose not to answer, but I did ask this question to other evangelists and here is what they said:
One man said this:
According to Luke 14:22-23 (NASB) “And the slave said, ‘Master, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ “And the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled.”
We are to “compel” them to come in.
According to Websters, this is what compel means: to drive or urge with force, or irresistibly; to constrain; to oblige; to necessitate, either by physical or moral force.
If we are obedient to the command to “compel” them to come in, it sounds to me like we [should be] doing that. However I would dare not rob the influence of the Holy Spirit that does the “compelling” through us!
…I think that people should realize that reality is forced upon all of us. We have to eat, drink, exercise, etc., in order to function in society. Gravity, aerodynamics, electricity, and other physical laws are all forced realities. God’s existence and Hell’s existence are no different. Reality does not care what you think. If you ignore reality–in any situation–you pay a hefty price. Always.
And this from another guy:
In all reality, when open air preaching, I have heard people say something like this many times, “Stop forcing your beliefs on us!” I usually respond like this, “No one is forcing anything on you! If you don’t like what I am saying, you have all the freedom in the world not to listen or to walk away.” Funny thing is they usually don’t walk away and are usually silent the rest of the time. I do think there is a time to be silent with family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. after you have shared with them many times. I believe there is a point in time (which is different for each person) to stop talking to them and start praying. We just need to use discernment…
One woman wrote:
Can you “force Christ” on people? Sure, if you hold a gun to someone’s head and say, “Convert or die!”, or if you have an unbelieving child and say, “Follow Christ or I’ll disown you!” Obviously, to follow such tactics would be the way of the Muslims, and would not result in genuine conversion.
And this is what I think:
Matthew 11:12 says: “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” (King James Version)
“…and violent men take it by force.” (New American Standard Bible)
“…and forceful men lay hold of it.” (New International Version)
“…and wimpy men are intimidated and say ‘God loves you,’ then run away.” (The Girly-Men Bible)
Ray Comfort says that we shouldn’t be pushy, but pully—“…pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”
Jude 23 (KJV)