"I wish I could find a Christian that would be willing to spend some time with me"

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Alex Guggenheim's picture

The list read like something a Christian would make-up in order to lecture other Christians based on what he (or she), himself, believes ate short-comings or as a list of guilt motivators.

One example of the survey is where he says that non Christians say that they don't want to go to a "legalistic church. Most non Christians don't use the expression legalistic church nor do they even have much of a frame of reference for that.

But being charitable maybe the author decided to put in his own words results of the survey but I think he did a poor job if that is the case.

Ron Bean's picture

I have heard comments like this from some of the non-Christian people that I work with. For example, yesterday I heard comments similar to numbers 2,3, and 4 from a devout Muslim friend. I heard comment number 1 from a non-Christian friend who had visited SI and read the exchange over Matt Olsen. We have people in our church who, before they came to Christ, were like comments 3, 4, and 5. And last week I encountered a number 7. The last number 6 I heard was years ago when a non-Christian was describing a Christian who was terminally ill and rejoicing about going to heaven.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

I've met people from each category over the years. The response I've heard the most is that, when speaking to Christians, they feel as if they are being 'sold' something, like Christianity is a product we are hawking like ShamWow. 

I'd say, like Bro. Peet, that they most likely get this feeling because the only time they experience any interaction with Christians is when we 'want' something from them- usually their keister in a pew on "Bring a Sinner to Church" Sunday so we can win a free Bible.

BryanBice's picture

Jim wrote:

Is it possible that our church schedules are so packed with activities that there is little time to spend with those outside of the church?

In some churches, absolutely. Perhaps a larger problem is we've so emphasized "separation from the world" that people in our churches won't spend time with them or simply don't know anyone to spend time with.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

I find it a bit ludicrous frankly to propose that Christians don't spend much time with non Christians. Most Christians work and they work right alongside of non Christians everyday and they interact with them so I don't buy this claim.

Ron Bean's picture

After thirty years of being in "full-time Christian service" (whatever that is) I find myself working in the real world where I'm working with non-Christians. I interact with them when I talk about sports, politics or work. I engage them when I talk about Christ. (BTW, I've realized that I am always in full-time Christian service---especially now.)

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

rogercarlson's picture

Alex,

 

Your post shows that you have never really interacted in traditional Fundamental circles.  For a long time, we were discouraged from interacting with the lost.  At work, it was to be done on a very cautious level, but never meaningfully.  Evangelism was to take place on Tuesday nights and Saturday mornings.  But to build redemptive relationships was not encouraged until the mid to late 90's, and even then only in a small pocket of the movement.  So your assertion is mistaken at best.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Your use of "we" shows you presume to speak for fundamentalists. You can only speak of your experiences, knowledge and observations which is minute compared to the whole. There are many fundamentalists who have had experiences outside of yours and very engaging over the last 40 years with non Christians.

I do not use the identity of fundamentalist now but much of my life was engaging as one with fundamentalists and non Christians quite freely.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
I find it a bit ludicrous frankly to propose that Christians don't spend much time with non Christians. Most Christians work and they work right alongside of non Christians everyday and they interact with them so I don't buy this claim.

I would venture to say that most workplace relationships don't lend themselves to meaningful interaction. Just occupying the same space isn't 'spending time'.

Also, there are perceptions such as:

1. Christians are against more things than they are for. "It just seems to me that Christians are mad at the world and mad at each other. They are so negative that they seem unhappy. I have no desire to be like them and stay upset all the time."

There are many Christians who seem to marinate in despair, or they are consistently snide and disparaging. If, as Christ proposed, one of our defining characteristics should be love toward the brethren, generally speaking I'd say we are sadly lacking in perpetuating that ideal.

My experiences echo Bro. Carlson's. It was OK to hand a lost person a tract, but becoming 'involved' on any level was verboten.

BryanBice's picture

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
I find it a bit ludicrous frankly to propose that Christians don't spend much time with non Christians. Most Christians work and they work right alongside of non Christians everyday and they interact with them so I don't buy this claim.

Not asking you to spend anything--don't have to buy the claim-- but there's a difference between "spending time" with someone and spending time with them. In the fundamental churches/circle I've been a part of a good portion of my 50+ years, most church members don't want to and/or don't know how to spend time with the unbelievers they "spend time" with at work. In other words, the superficial work relationship involves communication about work, weather, sports, maybe simple family stuff. As far as really spending time with unbelievers to discover their hurts, fears, idols, etc., etc. so they can minister the gospel in a non-canned way? Doesn't happen much.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Sorry that a few of you have jobs which do not afford meaningful interaction. Many vocational environments do. Not all but many such as medical and healthcare, law enforcement, business, and the military. In fact I would say that many people would testify to the witness of integrity in a job and other virtues in a Christian that led them to listen to the gospel witness from that person and be saved. So while a few can say the have not formed personal relationship ships via work I believe many more would say they have.

Lee's picture

It is folly for an individual or an organization to set its' agenda according to the dictates of its detractors. 

Meet these 7 statements there will be  more.

 

Just get in the Book and do what's right today.

 

Lee

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

I don't think we should seem to be dismissive about those to whom we wish to minister, since they aren't commenting about the Scriptures themselves, but about their perceptions of the ways Christian act in accordance (or not) with what they claim to believe. The author of the article states:

I'm not celebrating their absence of faith in Christ. My joy comes from listening to those who don't believe as I do, so that I might be better equipped to witness to them.

I personally don't see unregenerate souls as 'detractors'. They are unbelievers, and Christ has commanded us to show them compassion and share the Gospel. Knowing how to do that better in our society, especially if you are loaded with inaccurate theological baggage, can be helpful. 

 

JobK's picture

For all the talk about how we Christians are supposed to relate to the world, the Bible doesn't say much about the matter. Whether the Old Testament saints or the New Testament church, the vast majority of attention is given to A) how we relate to God and Cool how we relate to each other. When time is given to the relationship between the faithful and the faithless, most of it consists of being separate from the world, not trying to woo it or improve its opinion of us. 

Of course, there is the great commission imperative, but points 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 really have precious little to do with evangelism. As a matter of fact, the old canard of point 1 is anti-evangelistic. Point 3:  how about you repent of your sins and believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ first, and THEN learn about the Bible, ok? If they were serious about their peril, about the reality of sin and hell and the holy God that is Lord and judge, they wouldn't want to be catered to at Starbucks, or critical of the flaws of people who, whatever their shortcomings, won't spend forever in unspeakable torment. And so on. 

"Do you see the pattern? Non-Christians want to interact with Christians. They want to see Christians' actions match their beliefs. They want Christians to be real."

Yeah, sure, fine, whatever. You know what? I could care less about what non-Christians think or want. Why? Because non-Christians are sinners. They are dead. They lack wisdom and knowledge concerning spiritual things, and instead possess the opposite: false ideas and strange imaginations that reflect their fallen condition. Why should we care about the judgment of Pharisees, Sadducees, Caesar and Pontius Pilate? We should care about what God wants and thinks, and what our fellowservants in the faith want and think (and even then only because our fellow Christians are indwelled by God, and God therefore sanctifies their ideas and affections) and all other considerations are worth less than what is adhering to the bottom of my shoe at any given moment in time. 

Yes, we are to care about our witness to the world ... being salt and light, showing the love of Christ, and being blameless without even the appearance of wrong. But we are not supposed to do this in order to make the world like us better, and we are certainly not supposed to get the utterly false idea that getting the world to like us better will win converts. Instead, we are supposed to do this only because God commanded us to. And the converts? They will come as a result of our faithfulness to God. It is God who converts people, not us. 

Also, stuff like this is the opposite of evangelism. This is giving the unsaved what they want according to their flesh. It is filling the desires - not needs mind you but superficial, carnal, capricious desires - of spiritually dead hearts whose natural inclination is all sorts of abominations, which they mask with human self-righteousness that has a form of godliness but denies the power of God. Well if you are going to spend all your time giving spiritually dead people their wants that arise from their condition of spiritual deadness, then when are you ever going to get around to telling them that they are spiritually dead? And is it that you think that getting them to carnally like you is going to make the job of telling them that they are spiritually dead any easier? That they are going to be more likely to listen to you? Can anyone tell me when in the history of the church has this approach ever worked? 

Solo Christo, Soli Deo Gloria, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Sola Scriptura
http://healtheland.wordpress.com

rogercarlson's picture

Job,

 

The only caveat that I would put on what you say is that we are commanded to go out in to the world.  1 Corinthians 5 tells us to build redemptive relationships.  Notice, I am commenting on what you are saying, not so much the article itself.  This is not about making the world like us, that won't happen.  It's about us building contacts for the sake of His name.  So I think you and I actually agree, at least in principle.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Kirk Mellen's picture

Roger, curious as to where you find a commandment to "build redemptive relationships" in 1 Corinthians 5.

Larry's picture

Moderator

Wow ...

Greg Long's picture

I'm going to guess that Larry was "wow"-ing at Job's post, which was my reaction as well.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

JobK,

Your post appears to be responding to points that the article isn't attempting to make. No one is suggesting we attempt to 'woo' Pontius Pilate or his modern equivalent, although I venture to say that Christ loves the Pilates of the world as much as He loves anyone else, and is not willing for them to perish. 

If we are discussing how we can best display compassionate interest, burden-bearing, and charity to others, how is that appealing to carnal desires? If we were talking about lotteries and raffles, offering hot air balloon rides, hosting carnivals, etc... then I'd say we were catering to the flesh. Being available and accessible? Not so much.

Yes- those who are lost do not see things with spiritual eyes. True- we don't do the 'converting', the Holy Spirit does that. But God has chosen to use us as vessels to bear His message and His name. Whether or not we are doing that from the standpoint of a lost person is a question worthy of consideration. Christians, IMO, do too much in the way self congratulation, and don't step back to see their actions from a different perspective. There is no threat to the Gospel message, sound doctrine, personal purity, or Biblical evangelism there. 

Whatever one's vocation, I think it is within our realm of responsibility to try to develop more meaningful relationships with the lost, instead of the occasional arms-length water cooler chat.