8.23.2005

Thoughts on evangelism, continued

Evangelism is tricky because it is not just a socially unpopular practice. It is wholly wrapped up in very particular theologies. Most people who are evangelical share their faith because they believe that persons who do not accept Jesus as their personal savior are damned to hell. Given that kind of theology, it would almost be insulting not to be the recipient of some good Christian coercion, wouldn't it?

Here's the thing. I don't believe in hell. I vehemently disagree with the whole concept of hell; I think it is completely contradictory to a belief in a loving and creating God who is gracious and merciful. In my mind, hell is the ultimate scare tactic, and the Source of all Being is surely above using fear to manipulate. God's love - that enormous, unfathomable, unconditional love - is enough.

So I do not feel called to share my faith because I think other people are going to hell. I do not even think I have any sort of ultimate truth. I simply have an experience of God that challenges me to be gracious and joyful. So my call to be an evangelist is inextricably linked to a call to be a humble listener, open to other paths of grace and joy.

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