Monday, January 30, 2012

Six Objections to and Misconceptions about 'The Way of the Master' (Part 1)

A gentleman named David, from Victoria, Australia, recently emailed Living Waters.  His email was long, but well-worth the time it took to read.  I learned that David and I share a background in law enforcement.

For the purpose of brevity (not one of my strong suits), I will only share David's questions and then try to answer each one as best I can.  I will also address each objection/misconception in individual blog posts.
My exact questions:

How do I answer my minister;
How do I answer my church friends;
How do I answer the people I contact with this message(the good test);
-----When they say:

1. This is too confrontational
2. It scares people off
3. It makes YOU look like a fanatic
4. Living Waters (WOTM) says that this is THE ONLY way to preach the great commission.
5. Living Waters (WOTM) is anti pentecostal churches
6. Living Waters (WOTM) is just stuck in the Law and don't understand the teaching of Grace.
First, I would like to address how David or any other Christian faced with these objections should answer pastors, other Christians, or unbelievers. The answer is simple, really. Answer each person with kindness, respect, and love. Oh, it will be tempting at times to answer sarcastically, since objections such as these are often (but not always) presented sarcastically and self-righteously. But it is important that the adherent to biblical evangelism does not respond in kind.  Don't let your frustration get the better of you and lead you down the well-worn path of sinful talk and behavior.

Take it from someone who has blown it more times than he can count. Sarcasm born out of frustration regarding these issues does not make one's case stronger; nor does it endear one to your opponent. It often has the opposite affect, especially upon one who already carries the presupposition that biblical evangelism and those who practice it are "judgmental."

Objection #1 - This is too confrontational.

I highly recommend Jon Speed's book, Evangelism in the New Testament. Jon does an excellent job giving a very concise treatment of this common objection, by showing that the vast majority of Jesus' and the apostles' evangelism encounters were, by definition, confrontational.

This notion that biblical evangelism (presenting the Law of God to the proud and the grace of God to the humble; using the Law of God lawfully, as God intended--as a mirror to show the unrepentant sinner how they appear before a holy and just God; and then presenting Jesus Christ and Him crucified as the propitiation for those who God has caused to be born again, resulting in their repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ) is too confrontational, is a position and mindset held by some as a result of a fear of man.

If the evangelism employed and taught by Living Waters (Way of the Master) is consistent with the evangelism principles taught and/or described in Scripture, the the use of the adverb "too" with the word "confrontational" is inappropriate.  While it may be confrontational, if it is biblical it cannot be "too" confrontational.  Therefore, those who hold that the application of the biblical use of the Law prior to the biblical proclamation of the Gospel is too confrontational should better qualify such a position and statement this way: "It is too confrontational for me."

Many people, Christians included, are uncomfortable with confrontation.  This is not to say that those engaged in biblical evangelism should seek confrontation when confrontation is not necessary for the furtherance of the Gospel.  Confrontation for confrontation's sake is not evangelism.  It's a fight.  However, one's personal discomfort with confrontation does not in any way invalidate confrontation, when approached and engaged biblically,  as a means of helping a person to understand their sinfulness and their need for the Savior.

What is unbiblical is the avoidance of confrontation because of either a fear of man ("What will this person do to me or think about me?") or a desire to please man ("I won't confront this person because I want him to like me.")  Such an unbiblical avoidance of confrontation shows not only an unbiblical love of self, but also an unbiblical lack of love for God, His Gospel, and the lost.