10. Evangelism often is too dependent on proof-texting. Proof-texting is a lazy form of apologetics/argument. Cultic groups love it because almost any strange doctrine can be proof-texted if one rips a verse, sentence, or phrase from its context. I heard a preacher say on numerous occasions that one should not help the needy because Paul said that those who won’t work, should not eat. That passage was ripped out of one of Paul’s epistles and had nothing to do with caring for the needy. If it did, the Bible would be in severe conflict with itself. Evangelism is not a series of verses strung together, or a list of counter-argument verses. Over-reliance on proof-texts puts us into the same game as cultic groups sharing their faith. If our faith is truly the living out of God’s whole revelation, we don’t need to rely on proof-texting. <Yes… I understand that proof-texting has its place… but we should not be come dependent on it. We need to truly understand what we believe and why we believe it.>
11. Salvation is often falsely advertised. Jesus, Peter, and Paul say that following Christ can (and perhaps will enevitably) lead to suffering. We often describe salvation as the free gift of God (and it is). However, Jesus also says we need to count the cost of following Him. To place ourselves under the control of God, and recognizing Him as Lord of what we do and who we are… is no trivial decision. To suggest that salvation is all positive (or will lead to only good things happening to us) is deceptive. God is not the source of deception. We should not be either.
I believe that Evangelism needs to be:
-Holistic. It is the outpouring of our words, thoughts, and actions, both as individuals and as a community of faith.
-Loving. It is motivated by love for God and love for our fellow man.
-Hearer-focused. We share because we truly care.
-Respectiful. It is built from a foundation of understanding those around us and respecting them enough to hear what they have to say.
-Lived. It is not a thing we say but a life we live. The things we say are to be consistent with our lives.
-Knowledgeable. We are sharing God’s truth, and speaking of Christ’s love and faithfulness. This is not a series of verses, it is our own testimony in Christ.