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Discussion in 'Evangelism, Missions and the Persecuted Church' started by Pergamum, Aug 18, 2015.
Those 1 1/2" hole punchers are only $10 at Walmart and skips having to buy rubber bands.
You are very welcome, Earl. It is always a pastor's privilege and pleasure to be an helper of your joy, though it is in the painful awareness that he is not sufficient of himself. Blessings!
I say that we should use any means necessary to further the Gospel. We shouldn't be afraid of offending. We shouldn't care if we look like fools. We are the scum of the world. The love of Christ should control us.
Without reading too much into your previous statement
Perhaps we should also be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
Looking foolish just for the sake of it falls into the unwise category.
I couldn't agree more. As long as it is a biblical approach (Law, Gospel, Count the Cost). My point was that anytime we open our mouths to proclaim the Gospel, we will look like fools to the unbelievers, because the natural man cannot comprehend spiritual things. We serve a big God with a big Gospel, who will save His elect through us and in spite of us.
As noted by Rev. Winzer and perhaps others, the effectiveness of door to door can vary greatly depending on location.
I've never engaged in door to door evangelism or ministry. But from my sales career, I've learned that there are some general patterns, at least in my state. Rural areas are typically better than urban. Small towns are generally better than large cities. (Thus, Backwoods Presbyterian is likely to get a better reception than someone in a larger city, especially in the suburbs. Small town folks are also more likely to know their neighbors and others in the town.) Those in lower income neighborhoods tend to be more receptive than those in higher income areas. (The higher in income you go, the more you run into the "My home is my castle, leave me alone" mentality that Pergamum described.) Older neighborhoods can be better than suburbs. One Southern Baptist church planter of my acquaintance has been very effective in lower income apartment complexes and trailer parks that are populated by whites as well as minorities. He says he likes to go "where the church isn't." (He is comfortable doing that. Others from a different background might be less so.) He has also been involved in prison ministry and has had family members of prisoners visit his church. Due to fears about crime, some may not open the door.
These are broad generalizations. There are exceptions to be sure.
I haven't regularly gone door to door in over 10 years. I'm guessing that people in general are less receptive but the above is probably still generally true. There may also be regional differences. My experience is in the Deep South. I suspect that there may be differences on the West Coast, the Northeast, the Midwest and so on.
Door hangers can be effective also, but a good many will end up in the trash without being looked at. A bag with goodies that you can hang on a door is a little more effective but also more expensive. Most people love pens.
Investing in a good website (which isn't that expensive) and being active on social media, especially FB, is more likely to be effective. YouTube might be worth looking into as well. Posting sermons online (including podcasting) is also highly recommended.
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When will an unregenerate person want to hear the Gospel? Furthermore, when would a unregenerate person seek the Gospel out?
It is agreeable that we should rethink and possibly consider alternate ways of evangelism to avoid imposing, but the aforementioned quote might lead us to laziness. Fundamentally, this "con" is biblically refutable. If we only share the Gospel when someone (unregenerate) wants to hear it, then we might never share it. Also, I think its unbiblical to wait for an unregenerate person to "seek it out outside their homes." Perhaps if they have already been regenerated, this might be a possible conclusion, but otherwise, this con is invalid.
I know "street preachers" who have bragged to me about getting on public buses and "trapping people" (their words, not mine) by sitting in the aisle while the "target" of evangelization was next to the window, unable to switch seats, and then preaching to them throughout their bus ride. This seemed coercive, but their rationale was the same as yours...unregenerate people don't willingly listen to the Word, so you must give it to them whether they like it or not.
Another preacher I know is aware of certain townships where the noise ordinances are lax and so he is able legally to blare his amplification system in a way that is bothersome to passers-by and local businesses. Some complain, but legally they cannot do anything and so the street-preacher carries on... In the name of Christ, he is turning people against the gospel everyday by obnoxious activities. His rationale, again, was the same as yours, plus the added rationale of, "I can't truly turn people anymore against the Lord than they already are, since they are already unregenerate..." But I disagree with this.
I believe in the past, people politely sat and listened to evangelists or even the cults, despite having their private space violated. However, now people often lash out at street preachers and those who invade their private space. Sadly, some smug street preachers often then use this response by people as further evidence that, "those people hate the gospel" when, in reality, they are just tired of rude people bothering them.
Whenever it comes to forms of evangelism where we intrude upon another person's property or personal space or break the peace of their silence (i.e., they are sitting alone or listening to an ipod with earbuds on a bus or engrossed in reading a book), I think we ought to rethink our methods to see if they are befitting a servant of the Lord who is to be gentle and speak with grace and serve others.
Scripture supports the idea that we can't truly turn people against God more than they are. The unbelievers are DEAD (Ephesians 2:1). They can't be dead more than they already are.
Do you have any Scripture to support your disagreement? I'm not saying that all reason must come from explicit verses, but I'm just wondering if I'm missing something.
Again, I am in agreement with you that we should be respectful.
My rationale and overarching point was as follows:
I think we need to be careful expecting unregenerate people to seek us out for the Gospel, and that is why I think that particular "con" is not valid. There is certainly a right and wrong way, but respectfully approaching a person with the purpose of sharing the Gospel should not be avoided.
I suppose one cannot be made two-fold the son of hell, then, as Matthew 23 purports?
Yes, I agree.
Can you define "respectfully" then? That is the vital question now, isn't it? I support evangelism....that is respectfully done. Many will say that it must be done, whether respectful or not. Or they will play with words and say, "It is most disrespectful to let the sinner go to hell unwarned..." as a justification for rude actions.
It seems to me that door to door evangelism/outreach and open air preaching (especially with amplifiers) are two different things that shouldn't necessarily be equated.
I don't see how that passage would apply to Christians that evangelize. I see this passage giving warning to unbelievers who are hypocrites.
Pergamum is simply using that text as confirmation of the fact that people can be hardened even more than they already are. There are varying degrees of spiritual deadness. We are all totally depraved, but some are more hardened than others. This is due to various factors (e.g. varying level of conviction of conscience) that ultimately stem from God's common grace.
I'm certainly not trying to be argumentative, but can we find anywhere in Scripture that says there are 'varying degrees of spiritual deadness'? There might be, but I don't know of any.
If there isn't, then it would dangerous to insert foreign details in our doctrines. We shouldn't make doctrine out of our experiences, but out of the Word of God alone. I'm not accusing you of doing that, but just throwing that out there for others that are reading this.
We could use Hebrews 3:7-11 (Ps. 95 quoted) as a scriptural confirmation of this, where we read in verse 8, "do not harden your hearts." Or in the case of Pharaoh in which his heart was hardened. We are all spiritually dead, but we can be further hardened. Even experience shows that some are more receptive to the Gospel than others. The difference lies not in the default nature of those people, but in the work of God in them. Some have their conscience excited more, some are convicted by the Holy Spirit more, while others are hardened (grow more stubborn). In hell there will be no such work of God in the souls of men, but not here on earth. Therefore, the rationale that people cannot be more "dead" is unwarranted in the light of the fact that people can be more hardened than they already are. We must be wise and prudent in our methods of evangelism. I hope I was able to convey my thoughts clearly and biblically.
It seems that (1) some unbelievers can be hardened, (2) some can be made two-fold the sons of hell, and (3) the sins of some groups can become worse than Sodom, such that the guilt of all is not equal.
These 3 points can all be proven by Scripture. It also seems that (4) one of the reasons for this hardening is an ill-response to the light of the Gospel. The more light rejected, the greater the guilt. This can also be proved.
I believe yelling at folks through a megaphone on a busy street might cause the unbeliever's mind to be more prejudiced against the Gospel due to the real or perceived rudeness of the messengers of the Gospel. People may build a wall in their hearts. While some street screechers may claim, "It's not my fault they hate God!"...at least in a sense, yes, it is their fault for giving them a false view of what the Gospel demands.
Regarding door-to-door evangelism, I believe there are good practices to cultivate and bad practices to avoid.
You've not addressed another group - believers who may be brought to ill thoughts or violence due to obnoxious street evangalists.
I was reading this:
Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.
(Acts 5:41-42 ESV)
This was after the apostles were beaten for preaching Christ. Door to Door is in fact biblical and apostolic. We cannot make someone dead on floor more dead. All preaching is effective, but some of it adds to their condemnation. Should people partake of street "screeching"? No. Most aren't sent by a church either. But men like Tony Miano are sent by their local church and preach the biblical gospel to scores of people who would never have heard it and, if we are reformed and believe our bibles, then we know that the Gospel is the power of God for salvation and that it is more powerful than my potential to be socially awkward or deemed irrelevant.
Dead sinners hate God and his people. The gospel message is one of death to those who are perishing. Obviously we shouldn't go out to offend--the offence should only be that of the gospel message--but this doesn't mean we have to ask their permission to share the gospel. Paul was involved in open air preaching and it routinely involved him running for his life. It seems more that our proclamation of the gospel should be suspect if we DON'T fear for our lives.
I'm not a keyboard commando. I'm entirely deficit in more areas than I can count, and this in no way is to say that I am obedient in these areas, but let's not talk people out of sharing the true, pure, lovely gospel even if they are doing it in a way that we personally wouldn't.
With much respect,