[guess i am not pentecostal]
Disclaimer right away: I am not directly opposed to Pentecostal Christians. I just… don’t feel at home with some of the teachings and ways. But that’s MHO.
At the Church board meetings, we have been talking about evangelism. I usually kept quiet because for me, it is quite weird to come to someone on the street and start telling them “You need to be saved.” Yes, I believe there are moments when God is directing you to speak to someone and those are the so-called Divine Appointments. But to be honest… If someone strange whom I do not know would walk up to me and start talking about God… I’d walk away. *Shrug* I tend not to trust strangers, even when they are talking about God. If I know the person, however, I watch how they live and then compare it to what they say.
So based on my own experience, that’s also my way of sharing Christ. I try to live my life how He would want me to live it (yeah, I admit – I still stink at it quite often, but He’s helping to become better) and when people ask, that’s when I share… or if there is a situation when I feel like it’d be good to share something about God right now.
But, back to my friends at the Church. This weekend, the famous evangelist Reinhard Bonnke was in Kyiv. From what I saw on TV… I did not want to go there. My friends, however, talked me into it. So just out of curiosity (and they promised that Bonnke doesn’t yell, it’s the other guy who yells), I went.
I liked the beginning. They sang a few songs that I knew (Our God is an Awesome God, Amazing Grace, and something else). Then the preachers started talking. I was getting cold (it was outside and we were in the shade because a friend of ours did not want to sit in the sun) and bored.
Honestly? When I am told that 55 millions of people accepted Jesus as their Savior at Bonnke’s conferences and that he is the greatest evangelist who ever lived… I scowl. Call me a cynic, but that’s standard psychology – yell at people and tell them they are doomed – of course they would come at the altar call. The real question is – will they remain with Christ?
When I shared these musings with my friend, she told me “Well, people want a show these days.”
I retorted in angry whisper (since the discussion was taking place at Church during announcements), “Yeah, a show they get, but faith ain’t no show. People wanted miracles and divine signs throughout history. But faith is believing things we do not see, yet hope for.”
“Yeah, but still…”
“Mmm hmmm, and what if God decides NOT to heal that particular person? What then? Is He a genie from a bottle? Is He there just to do what we want Him to do? What’s the point of a God like that, then?”
She fell silent, knowing that I was in one of my moody moods. But although I wasn’t whispering audibly anymore, I was still arguing in my head.
Seriously. All those “shows” are based on someone getting healed or restored to life or people speaking in tongues, or whatever, right? That’s what you usually hear when someone’s telling of a conference like that. But what if there are no magical healings? What if the dead remain dead because God wanted them with Him? What if He chose the ultimate healing?
Why don’t people notice the other miracles? The daily kind? When you wake up early in the morning (and you WAKE UP, i.e. you’re alive) and you see the red sun hanging low over the horizon, warming everything with its gentle rays… When a thunderstorm passes by and you see the astounding lightnings and hear the thunder… When after the rain, there is a rainbow – which is produced with the help of transparent water and colorless light. Why don’t people notice those miracles? Just because science explained how it works doesn’t mean it ceased to be a miracle.
Why do people have to be yelled into confessing their sins instead of finally admitting to themselves what they’ve known for so long – that this life isn’t all and that there is God. Why do people find it so hard to believe there is God? (And I am not talking here about believing that God is good… that is a bit tougher in our world… but there are people who are trying to deny His existence altogether!)
HOW?! I simply don’t get it. What’s the point of life then? Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die? C’mon, we know better than that.
A few years ago I have read of a wonderful way of falling asleep. Instead of counting the sheep who merrily jump over the fence, try counting your blessings… just for one day. To be honest, I have always fallen asleep before I reached the end of the list.
The point of the post? There are other means of evangelism other than yelling at people and telling them that they are sinners in the hands of an angry God (to quote Jonathan Edwards).