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Feb 09, 2009

The Command to Witness

I get a kick out of how we Christians actually believe that our superior morality will fascinate and charm the world into wanting a relationship with God. I've heard a million stories from Christians about how one of their unsaved friends noticed that they didn't swear or drink alcohol, and they were supposedly so intrigued by that, that they opened their heart to Jesus right then and there.

We were taught in our church that our testimony was our shining good behavior. If a group of friends were going to happy hour after work and one of them invited us, we would turn down the invitation as a testimony to them that we had found "something better." After rejecting their friendly invitations over and over, they would eventually see that we don't drink and they'd be forced to look at the ugly truth that they do. The end result would be that they would come running to church with us, begging and pleading to know our God so they wouldn't have to go to happy hour ever again.

In the church, we were taught that people who drank any form of alcohol were always doing so because they were unhappy and seeking answers. If someone smoked cigarettes, it was because they were desperately attempting to find fulfillment in their pathetic, away-from-God lives. People cussed because they were inherently angry and unfulfilled in life, and our "not cussing" was just the thing they needed to spark their interest in God. This is also why people had pre-marital sex. They were just so dejected, depressed, and downhearted that they were willing to try anything to give them a moment of relief. They didn't really enjoy sex, it was just a way of covering up their lonely and wretched spiritual state. If we could show them that there was "A better way," they would gladly come running from that terrible sex and join our church. Once they met the God we knew, all feelings of wanting to have sex would leave them.  

If we happen to slip up and utter a swear word in the middle of a basketball game or if someone at work catches us having a beer at a local restaurant; we were taught that we will have "blown our witness" to that person forever! Christianity was always about being on our best behavior while in front of people. One slip-up could inadvertently send another lost, sex-having, cigarette-smoking, cussing alcoholic to hell. If we could just prove to them that these things weren't fun, they would surely want what we have.

We had the manual for life. We were gifted with a book of special information that the world didn't have. God had given us the answers ahead of time, so life always turned out better for us and worse for them. The purpose of our "manual" was to help us live a clean life so we could prove God to the world. This is also why we encouraged others to read it.  

It wasn't until I got a little older and moved out of my parents' home and left Christianity that I began to see the ridiculousness of this notion. When my friends and I downed a twelve-pack of beer and caught a nice buzz, we weren't miserable lostlings looking for wholeness. We were a bunch of guys having a great time. When I sang in a rock-n-roll band for ten years in Hollywood, I don't recall a time when I slept with a groupie girl and woke up the next morning wishing I had power to never do that again.  

People who didn't drink or smoke had no effect on me. I never once wished I could have what they had. Not once! Their morals meant nothing to me. If anything, I thought they were fools. I didn't envy, covet, yearn for or crave a single thing in their lives. Silver-lined morality is not the least bit alluring to people in the world and it isn't a witness of anything or anyone.

The other Christian definition of witnessing was a little more in your face, but just as silly. Our pastor in the church I grew up in would always rile us about witnessing. It seemed that every Sunday we were brought up on charges for "not being a good witness for Jesus." They planned outreaches for us and inevitably only two or three people showed up. The following Sunday we were all blasted again from the pulpit for not doing what Jesus commanded.  

I have found that it is human nature to tell others when you have actually witnessed something worth telling. In fact, it's darn near impossible to keep quiet about it. Even Jesus Himself couldn't get people to shut up after He healed them, though He diligently tried. When people have experienced the power of God, nothing can stop them from spouting their mouths off to the world. The very fact that Christians have to encourage each other to witness is conclusive evidence that they have not witnessed anything. You don't plan a Saturday outreach when you've witnessed something spectacular. You tell the world today. You don't tell them because it's your job. You tell them because it's always on your mind and you can't stop yourself from doing so. It's just natural.

Witnessing cannot be and is not a command. It's NOT up to us to witness. If we witness something, however, it IS up to us to let someone know what we witnessed. The command to witness in an impossible one to fulfill. It's a man-maid command. Can you imagine commanding someone to witness a burglary or a murder? How is that in their control? If they happen to be in the right place at the right time when one of these things take place, that's a different story. It then becomes their responsibility to stand as a witness.

You cannot walk into the courthouse during a murder trial and take the stand unless you were actually there when the crime was being committed. You can't claim to have witnessed it just because you read about it in the paper. Even if you read about it in four different news publications, you still cannot call yourself a witness. If you have studied this crime and interviewed all the parties involved, your testimony still means absolutely nothing. This is precisely what Christianity has asked their people to do for hundreds of years.

The sad result is that we now have hundreds of people who haven't witnessed a darn thing, going door to door, making stuff up as they go. They'll quote a few sentences they memorized from a newspaper article (Bible) about the crime. They'll recite the testimony they heard of someone who was actually there and they'll tell it like it's their own. They'll even be on their best behavior and put a radiant smile on their face as though it's an after-glow from the actual experience. They do all this because we've made Darin Hufford blingwitnessing a "command" in modern-day Christianity. People are trying their best to please God and do the right thing.  

When I was in school, I studied the Vietnam war extensively. I read articles and books. I read the death and injury statistics. I watched every movie on that subject that I could get my hands on and spent hours thumbing through encyclopedias and history books in an effort to come as close to the actual experience as possible. People who were unfortunate enough to find themselves in a conversation with me about this war would tell me how they could see the passion in my eyes when I talked about it. My own father told me how impressed he was at how much I knew on the subject. There were times that I actually felt like I had been there.

One day I met a man who actually served in the Vietnam war. I was excited to be there with him and because of my studies, I felt uniquely qualified to converse with this man. I remember sitting up straight and leaning in to ask my first question. I asked, "What was it like?" This man's eyes went out of focus for a moment as if revisiting the jungles of Vietnam, and he quietly whispered, "It was terrible." He said nothing more.

The weight of this man's testimony was far heavier than all the books, articles, stories, and movies I had studied. There is something about a true witness that outweighs all the facts compiled. Three words from a man who had been there spoke a billion times more than the over three million words I had read and memorized on the subject.

Interestingly enough, this man only talked about the war when the subject came up and he was called upon to do so. I made a decision years ago that I would never approach a witness stand unless I'd witnessed something that was relevant to the subject matter at hand. I cannot stress this enough. Witnesses are traditionally "CALLED UPON." Our testimony of what we've actually witnessed is only valuable when it is within the parameters of the subject at hand.

In other words, if a group of people are talking about building a new house on the east side of town, it is NOT the time to step in and tell them about what you've witnessed Christ do in your life. If the topic of conversation is about the stock market or the economy, it's  not the appropriate time to approach the stand and give a testimony about what Jesus has done. Wait until you are called upon to approach the stand. This is another area that has been drastically affected by our belief that witnessing is a command from God. Because of the desperate nature of the "command" we feel God has given us, we often find ourselves having little or no tact at all. We appear to the world as though Christians only have a one-track mind.

In the end, it is not our moral lifestyle that will serve as a witness to people. It's not our eager willingness to foolishly blurt out a testimony at inappropriate times, or our accumulated knowledge based on a lifetime of study. In the end, the only real witness that the world will be unable to shoot down or explain away with logical thinking, will be the authentic love that we have for people after experiencing God firsthand. It is really the only way someone can know that we know Him, if we have love for one another.

I think it's interesting that this one fact has been the most overlooked, sidestepped and downplayed fact in all of modern-day Christianity and I am convinced that it's because no one has really witnessed Him. You'll know when people know him, not because they'll say all the theologically right things, but because they'll love. We don't see this love in the church today for the most part. I believe the reason is simple. We don't see it because people generally don't know Him personally. We all just read about Him and get together and tell stories about Him.

We are a generation of second, third and fourth-hand witnesses. We give ourselves away when we say things like, "It's not all about love," or "love is part of it, but there are a lot more things we need to focus on." When someone accuses us of acting like hippies or sounding "a little New Age," you can be relatively certain that they have never personally witnessed Him before. When people get angry because your testimony of what you actually saw doesn't follow the script that they've memorized, you know they haven't really seen Him themselves. Free Believers usually leave their church eventually because inevitably they end up never being "called upon" again. Once you're banned from the stand, you know that you've witnessed something that the institution can't explain.

Darin Hufford

 

 

 


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Comments

  1. Gravatar
    Jeff

    Great Post, unfortunately I feel that Jesus Christ himself would be denied membership in many churches today, he certainly would not make it through the evangelism class.

  2. Gravatar
    myso

    Here's an honest question - how and when would you give a non-Christian an opportunity to receive Christ for her/his own life? If it's not fear of hell, if it's not solution to all of her/his problems, if it's not super-spiritual turbo power, if it's not answers to all the questions what is it then? Is it love? Dope guys have love, buddhists have love. What makes real Christian love different then the two mentioned? What is your idea of getting disciples for Jesus - I mean practically - the offer to become one should come some way to the people. What about altar calls?

  3. Gravatar
    Jeff

    The paradox of Christ was that he was the holiest person to ever walk the planet yet people were drawn to him. His first miracle was changing water into wine and somehow he still remind sinless without compromising his holiness. In my opinion, when an unbeliever is truly in the presence of Christ there will be a conviction of sin and their condition without him AND a sense of his Love and the solution for them at the same time. I think the scripture makes a difference between true and false holiness. Somehow Jesus could drink wine in the presence of sinners and still be holier than any pharisee who condemned him for it. We have an image of holiness in our church today that for the most part can't be supported by the life that Christ lived.

  4. Gravatar
    Rich

    Myso, After being a believer 30 years now, I am seriously questioning the whole 'receive Christ as savior' thing myself. I am being honest here and quite vulnerable to criticism. Lately I have been pondering whether the kingdom of heaven is much bigger than the world of Christians. Can a Buddhist or drug user really love? Maybe they ARE part of the kingdom, but maybe they just don't know or yet acknowledge the King's name? I don't know. I see many non-christians doing the things that Jesus said we will be judged by...feeding & clothing the poor, helping the sick, widows, orphans, etc...maybe they know Jesus, but not His name yet? I don't know, but often the fruit of their actions seems better than the fruit grown by many christians I know.

  5. Gravatar
    AmyinSurprise

    Great post, Darin. Truly, Jesus never demanded, nor even liked the "spotlight." Why? Because He knew the Light would shine and Love could stand out on His own. The more we try to "push," "preach" or demand center stage, the more we push others away from Love and the Truth. Love, Grace and Truth is strong enough to speak for itself. We are simply to do, in quiet confience in Christ, what Father asks of us...all the while not seeking the spotlight, but rather pouring out Love unto others, without any expectations of anything in return.

  6. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Rich I think I have to agree with more of what you said then I would disagree. There is NO difference between our love and the love of people who don't claim to be Christian. The only difference is that we have made the decision that God is love and love is the way to live our lives. I think there will be many people who die and approach Jesus and fully recognize Him as someone they knew well while on earth but they never actually got his name. I think there will be others who were big time Christians who will stand in front of Jesus and have no idea who He is. It is ALL ABOUT LOVE. If you love, you know HIm. If you don't love, you don't know him nor have you ever seen him.

  7. Gravatar
    brian

    Myso, great questions. They are along the same lines of thinking I was having. But for me I ask what is the true nature of our relationship with God? Which then asks, Is it to save me from hell, is it to make my life easier, is it to make me a more moral person? I am learning the answer is yes and no to each one of those alone. Put these same question in the context of your mom and dad. How do you define what that connection is with your them? Is it love? Yes, but more than that. Is it to clothe, feed and house you? Yes, but way more than that. There is something about the connection of a parent to a child, and vice versa. What is the essence of that?How do you quantify and articulate that? Consider this in this context, Father sent His Son so that we might become sons/daughters. That ...

  8. Gravatar
    brian

    ...at least identifies the type of relationship we are talking about.

  9. Gravatar
    Rich

    Darin, what you said reminds me of a homeless man I met a year ago. It was very cold and I had a few minutes to blow so I started talking with this man laying on the sidewalk in a sleeping bag. He seemed to know me and I seemed to know him. He was so at peace. He needed to go somewhere so I gave him a ride, while I was driving and we were talking I felt a great peace and tried not to weep, when I thanked him for talking with me he said these words: "The love of God in you recognized the love of God in me and drew you to me because He wanted to be one together"...I burst out balling as I was driving...he directed my driving me 'cause I couldn't see through the tears and rain in the dark. When I invited him for dinner he said "No thank you, I've got to be about my fathers business".

  10. Gravatar
    Stephanie

    This is my kind of article and my kind of posts. Just love it. After being what we are now calling a free believer for over 20 years, I finally see we are coming to terms with the fact that Jesus knows OUR names and that's what matters. Our only commission is to Love. I have friends of all kinds of belief systems but when it gets down to it..we all believe we have the same God and that is absolute heresy in the I.C. I choose to call myself a believer because Jesus has all the Love I have ever been looking for in my whole life and if the opportunity ever presents itself for me to talk about how I believe..that is all I say and I believe that God can do the rest. It IS all about the Love and there is a saying I embrace..you cannot give away what you do not have..some days that is me..human.

  11. Gravatar
    gettingbetter

    Lately I've noticed how much distaste I feel when listening to Christians who are obviously trying to work in references to Jesus or God every breath they draw to be a good 'witness.' It sounds fake and contrived to me whether they mean it that way or not. I notice I like being around Christians who are kind and laid-back, and really don't talk directly about "God is good" very much, but when they do it sounds so natural and genuine.

  12. Gravatar
    Mary

    Rich said: "I am seriously questioning the whole 'receive Christ as savior' thing..."

    Where in the Bible does it say "receive Christ as savior"? I haven't seen it. What I do read is that Jesus came to redeem the world. And He said it was "finished". This I believe.

  13. Gravatar
    debsfree

    The saying 'live and let live' keeps coming to mind.

  14. Gravatar
    John Fincher

    Darin,

    Holy crap, that was good. Lately, I've wondered the same thing. What part of NOT doing something is actually supposed to attract non-believers?

    I heard my mother's preacher say recently, that the world is attracted to what they offer. Yes, they are successful in man's estimation, but I don't see a stampede to join that church.

    As to the subject of wine, I former pastor said that it was "new" wine and therefore non-alcoholic. Yeah, right. Even in my most devout days, I never "drank" THAT "coolaid".

  15. Gravatar
    John

    GREAT POST DARIN! I was discussing this with a friend, and we thought about the rich young ruler who asked what he must do to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus had the perfect opportunity to present the "four spiritual laws", sing 25 verses of "Just As I Am", give an altar call, and lead him in the "sinner's prayer" -- and He blew it! He tells him to sell his possessions and give to the poor. The love of Jesus deals with matters of the heart, while religion white-washes the outside and ignores the core problems. Today the rich young ruler would be "led to Christ", dunked in the appropriate manner, and made a member in "good standing", but his heart of greed would never be dealt with. Only a genuine revelation of our Father's love can displace the sin that lies deep within.

  16. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Thanks so much John. What a great word. You're awesome!

  17. Gravatar
    gettingbetter

    Oh man, John, that IS really good. This blog is like the double-edged sword that Scripture refers to itself as being. It exposes the truth and it hurts. I've been one of the brain-dead, mostly heartless pew-dwelling mannequins for years. Now at least I'm out of the pew, but realize that I have little to 'witness' about to this day. I believe in Christ, but I'm still mostly just a sad excuse for a follower of Jesus. Trying to get to what there is to be so incredibly joyous and excited about. Wondering if I'll ever have the overflowing love I wish I had. Go on telling the truth, Darin, it hurts but it has to be a great start to fully realizing and laying our hands on what Father meant for us to have - abundant life in Him...

  18. Gravatar
    Vicki

    If it does not matter whether people actually call on Jesus' name for salvation, why are the writers of the New Testament so outspoken on this issue?
    Acts 16:30,31 And he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household."
    Romans 8:9,10 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach):
    that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

    Note that this does not merely say to love everyone and you will be saved. It requires knowledge of Jesus' death and resurrection and a conscious decision to have a relationship with Him.

  19. Gravatar
    Vicki

    God wants to have a relationship with each of us, but He made the rules. The only way to the Father is through the Son.
    Stephanie said,"I have friends of all kinds of belief systems but when it gets down to it..we all believe we have the same God..." You might believe you have the same God, but that is not true. Look at Judges 2:13 "They forsook the LORD and served Baal and the Ashtoreths." The Lord and Baal are not the same. The God of the Bible and the gods of Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. are not the same. It is not love to ignore this fact. It is not love to just "live and let live." Love will speak the truth even when it is hard to hear. Love will confront, correct and reprove because love knows the consequences are too great not to speak out. That doesn't mean we are harsh or religious.

  20. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Vicki, Stephanie never said that "she" believed we all had the same God. She said that all those people believe that. Also, what you are overlooking is the essence of what is being said here. We are talking about the ESSENCE of Christ and you are talking about the name of Christ. What if I closed my eyes and said, "I believe that Jesus is the Son of God and he died and rose again for my sins," but when I was saying that, I was picturing the Mexican dish washer named "Jesus" in the restaurant I used to work in? Am I still saved because I said the right words, and verbally pronounced the correct name even though I was imagining the wrong Jesus? It's NOT about knowing the right name. It's about knowing the person!!! That's what we are discussing.

  21. Gravatar
    Stephanie

    Thank you Darin...exactly.

  22. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    I think for most people it's easy to listen to us talk and wonder if we aren't "getting off" or even denying Christ in some New Age way. I'll admit that there was a time where I would have flipped my lid listening to conversations like these because they cause red flags to raise at every turn. I will always maintain that as Free Believers we must remove all those religious "speaking boundaries" if we ever want to know HIm. Even if people get the wrong idea. Vicki IS one of us. She is a Free Believer to her very core. Like us, she is still slowly learning to step out of her trained behavior and explore the possibilities. As much as we all desire freedom, it's still good to anchor ourselves to truth and I think that's Vicki's main point. It's a good one:) Thanks Vicki.

  23. Gravatar
    Stephanie

    I think that is true Darin. I wonder if Peter thought the Holy Spirit had flipped when he was shown the vision in Acts of all the unclean animals and then given an invitation to kill and eat any of them....he must have flipped his devout Jew mind. He was quite perplexed. I like the way he tells Cornelius in Acts chapter 10 verse 28 what the vision meant..(The Living Bible) "God has shown me in vision that I should never think of anyone as inferior." This is where I am coming from. As we go forth as a witness we should practice the same tact that the Holy Spirit taught the Apostles in the Book of Acts. Even the Apostles were learning and so are we.

  24. Gravatar
    Rich

    I like how Paul handled it in Athens:
    "Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.
    "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands."

    A friend of mine likes to say that "Jesus is the only way, but there are many ways to Jesus" :>)

  25. Gravatar
    Stephanie

    I know this isn't a forum. I just love this topic so much. I like that story too Rich. I have found great comfort in that strange book of Acts filled with folks embarking on a new and different territory.

  26. Gravatar
    Anthony in Tucson

    Isnt the point of the young rich ruler the 'do'
    part of the equation if I could. I don't know too many people who would sell all they had to gain their reward of salvation if I may.very important to stay away from moralism. Moralism is not the "Good News" and has no place in the plan of redemption. Isn't the "Good News" the acceptance of who Christ is and what He has done for us. Not what we do in any form. He has provided the Way. He is the Truth and Life. Accept or Deny. I like to keep it simple.

  27. Gravatar
    myso

    Anthony, I think there are at least two ways to interpret the rich guy story. The wrong one is to say, that Jesus wants everyone to give away all the money they have and be a monk with nothing but sandals. This looks very holy in human "works point of view" but is far away from from truth. Since God is not about performance but about heart and relationship, only a heart interpretation makes sense. And that is - Jesus was speaking the Truth to heal that young man from the bondage caused by his attitude to money. Jesus wanted to heal him and give him freedom. I believe this is what John was talking about in his comment. Religion kills the story, because it creates a performacne based rule that makes no sense at all out of it. Jesus was a heart person and gave freedom to everyone individually

  28. Gravatar
    myso

    Lately I've been thinking about Vicki's point concerning love and correction. I just want to say, that very very much of the hurts, pain and destruction I've seen among Christians has always been excused by the "Love always corrects" mentality. I'm not trying to say that we should overlook sin. However, anytime these people who destroy and have no love come across something that is different to them, that they have problem to accept, that takes control out of their hands they just excuse their incapability to love by "Love always corrects". Did Paul mention this one in his letter to Corinthians? I believe love loves, love doesn't correct. The correction is a natural consequence of a loving love. If the pearl we give to people is real we won't have to force them to burst out with joy.

  29. Gravatar
    John

    Thank you myso, you interpreted my post on the "rich guy" exactly. Sometimes my sarcasm is misunderstood.

    Darin's article also reminded me of the false teaching which says, "If you won't, God can't".
    As if God is solely dependent on our evangelistic efforts. Jesus said, "If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me", He didn't say His disciples would draw them. (Or drag them, or coerce, or manipulate, ect.) No one comes to the Father unless the Spirit draws them. As followers of Christ we have not been commanded to witness, but rather to love, and by His love all will know we are His disciples. But you cannot give something unless you first receive it. If one has not witnessed the love of God first hand, how can one live it out, how can it be shared? We must live loved unconditionally.

  30. Gravatar
    Stephanie

    The Rich Young Ruler who had never broken a commandment thought that this would be enough. His works would be enough. Jesus response, This one thing you lack..sell all you have. Fast forward to the criminal dieing on the cross within ear shot of Jesus. Jesus wasn't preaching or teaching on the cross yet somehow his essence got through to the criminal in a twinkling of an eye. Jesus even made a solemn promise to him,"this day you will be with me in paradise." To me, religion is a one size fits all mentality. Clearly Jesus dealt with folks one on one and all differently to get the heart of the matter. As John said above Jesus did not get down off the cross with a set of rules and a baptismal ready for the man dieing near him. It was an instant recognition of Gods essence and it was enough.

  31. Gravatar
    David Joseph Brncik

    Cool post Darin. When all is said and done its are essence that will be left behind.

  32. Gravatar
    Corey

    The most powerful witness I have ever experienced is what I call uncommon love, because you rarely ever see it, or experience it. It's a type of love that world does not know or understand, because it goes against nature. When you experience it, it changes you forever. You cannot contain it. When my dad showed compassion towards a man who had stolen a lot of money from him, inviting him to our Christmas Dinner one year, I didn't understand it at the time, but it impacted me. But when my Dad showed me love when I had stolen money from him, I was changed. When I came to the realization that Christ had died for all my sins, I could not help but share it. No one told me, "Go and share this". I just did it. But when you stay up all night with a friend who has just been dumped by his

  33. Gravatar
    Corey

    girl, you are being a true witness. Thanks Darin

  34. Gravatar
    Per

    Sorry to respond to a post within a blog post. RICH, you've experienced further what I have when mostly, I guess in SF talking with randomly, the street people and in amazement their understanding of Love...kinda baffling; but at the same time I felt a connection with most of them I chatted with. Thanks for sharing that experience as I live back in northern cal again, now! Mr. Darin, you definitely have this free nature to share whats on your mind...this one hit home as I always love to witness but know it is something I can't conjure up; it just happens.

  35. Gravatar
    Brent

    Most people never think why the pastor is always commanding people to "witness." The bigger the church, the more prestige and (in some congregations) income the pastor has. If you want to glorify yourself as a Pastor, the quickest way to do it is to bind your congregation to living out of Law and religious obligation to you. It is no wonder that, in the book of Galatians, Paul says more than once that the reason the Judaizers were trying to bind free Christians to the Law of Moses was that doing so gave the Judaizers more glory.

  36. Gravatar
    jenny

    As a new Christian I was constantly pressured to witness to non-christians and bring them to church and was really bothered about this until I noticed that most of those doing the pressuring weren't witnessing and bringing new people themselves. Jesus said that we will be known as His disciples if we have love for one another that, not a moral and upstanding life, will attract people to Jesus. People will hate our morals. That doesn't mean we shouldn't have any, but we can't expect them to attract people.

  37. Gravatar
    ryan

    Reading these comments would do more to confuse believers and unbelievers alike than it would to clear up anything. Focus is being put on the word witness, which is fine, but the Great Commission doesn't even use the word witness, Matthew 28:19-20 tells us to make disciples and teach people to observe all that He has commanded us. The "Essence" of Christ is love and love WILL cause us to reach out to people and show the right way, even if that means saying their way is wrong. You wouldn't be rude in doing so, just as an boss or co-worker shouldn't treat an fellow employee rude in correcting them in their duties, they would still, however, correct them. We don't "witness" out of duty, we proclaim the gospel out of love. Paul was not very popular, but was extremely effective for the kingdom. There are very good points made in the blog, but some how things so easily turned into outs for us not to share the love of Christ. Don't excuse yourself, make disciples. He leaves us no out

  38. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    I don't think anyone here is looking for an "out" or a reason not to "share the love of Christ." Quite the opposite in fact. People here are wanting to authentically share His love in a way that is REAL and is focused on the benefit of the person they are loving rather than doing it to grow their church in numbers.

    Most people here have been put on the front lines of fulfilling the commission when they themselves haven't even had a chance to walk with Christ. It's not about trying to get out of anything. It's about wanting to experience Him first hand before telling others.

    Also, people here are sick and tired of being told that "sharing the love of Christ" means all the religious things we've been taught. Telling people about Jesus is NOT sharing the love of Christ. Telling people where they are wrong is also not "sharing his love." Inviting people to church isn't it either. Sharing the love of Christ is simply loving people with His love. It's becoming the love of Christ.

  39. Gravatar
    John

    This post ignores scripture, uses one man's rationalization to rebel against God's direct command to evangelize. Matthew 28:19-20 The argument in itself is flawed because if you are a Christian than you have witnessed/experienced salvation. Like Paul you should say "knowing this....we persuade men" II Corinthians 5. It isn't our responsibility to see people convert to Christianity. God has given us the ministry of reconciliation. II Corinthians 5. There is little of value in your post.

  40. Gravatar
    Robin

    Thanks Darin, awesome words! I think this last John dude needs help hey! (John from Dec 12, 2012)
    Thanks for making it clear that it's about knowing the essence of who Christ is and knowing Him personally.
    My life long experience of church was a struggle with the inner conflict with condemnation.
    Now I'm slowly but surely being set free to actually live a little.
    Once you've been stabbed in the back and had your youth pastor have an affair with your wife, had your good 'prayer friend' try his luck too, then stick around to make things in your marriage work and still get asked for a divorce you kinda think church is a little pathetic!
    Then scripture seems like a Marvel Comic or a tabloid, that's when all I've had to cling to is the person I have come to know in Jesus.
    He has taken me and pieced me back together again, not one person from my old 'church' bothers to call me or offer any form of support.
    A select few true friends and complete strangers have offered more.

  41. Gravatar
    Cudjoe Olegor Daniel

    I now know my stand U really cleared my doubt.God really bless u.am disciplined because of what u put there may his grace shower on u

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