As one of the longest surviving evangelicals at LDS.net, evangelism--how it is we "win souls," continues to tumble around in my mind. We see the evangelical storm troopers come in here from time to time. They are loaded to the gills with superficial factoids from Christian Apologetics Research Ministry (CARM) or Christian Research Institute (CRI--founded by Walter Martin). They run a few strings, argue with a few posters, and then either leave, or get banned. Perhaps some have wondered why prisonchaplain does not help them out, cool them down, give them a few "how to survive tips?" Frankly, in most cases, such folk are looking for easy conversions, and have no interest in on-going dialogue, or the mild rumninations of a middle-aged prison chaplain who seems suspiciously comfortable here, despite his evangelical credentials.
We know that for the most part, it doesn't work. Hardshell, aggressive, "you're wrong, ignorant, foolish, don't know your own religion," evangelism doesn't work. Likewise, those LDS who've traveled evangelical cyberspace, to defend their beliefs, and perhaps win a few converts of their own, probably find that telling us that the Trinity is pagan, that Constantine was an evil, non-Christian who saddled Christianity with corrupted Greek philosophy, and why on earth don't you silly evangelicals/catholics/protestants know this???--doesn't work either.
So what does work? St. Francis of Assisi once quipped that we should spread the gospel by all means--and if necessary, use words. While a bit exaggerated, his point is sound. Jesus great evangelistic program is found in Matthew 22:37-40. The short version: Love God, and love your neighbor!
By the way, Jesus' full gospel mission program was not limited to teaching. He also healed the sick and cast out demons. We do so by healing prayer, by impassioned intecessory prayer against spiritual darkness, by sponsoring schools, hospitals, medical missions, short-term feeding programs, emergency relief responses, faith-based addiction recovery programs, alternative crisis pregnancy counseling centers, and yes, programs to help those caught up in compulsions to sin that may be based both in physiology and spiritual darkness.
Faith vs. works was never intended as a battle or a dichotamy. It's both and. We get saved at conversion, and we grow and strengthen our salvation through faith-empowered works of righteousness--all to God's glory. If we lift up the name of Jesus, in deed and in word, all men will be drawn unto Him.
Tags: Evangelical Evangelism Witness Works Share Faith Conversion Love