I wish I wouldn’t have written my previous post. Is it because I think I was taking the verses of the Qur’an out of context? No. History and the Qur’an show that I didn’t. Is it because I don’t like negative feedback? No. I actually like to stir it up and engage others who want to battle it out a bit.
But ever since I wrote the article I’ve had a little check in my spirit. Just this morning I began to figure out what that internal check is all about. For the last few years we have been making a concerted move to focus on the power of the gospel more than the power of apologetics. We have been trying to take a more positive approach in sharing Jesus than just trying to show where other belief systems falter. I think the GOSPEL Journey Reality Series was the culmination of this philosophy of evangelism. I emphasized to the teenagers who participated in this reality series that my goal was to paint a picture that they could accept or reject. I also told them that I would accept them no matter how they responded to the gospel message I was sharing with them.
In my little Dare 2 Share book we have a whole section about what 14 of religions and belief systems hold on to when it comes to their spiritual views. The goal of sharing all these facts is not to find out where “they’re wrong” and “we’re right” but to gain common ground, find areas you can complement them on and understand the basics of what they believe.
Do I believe in apologetics? Yes! God made us not just relational but rational. We appeal to the rational when we get people to think and consider the validity of the Bible and the possibility they could be wrong in their views.
I also believe that we are relational. As people we get our feelings hurt when we feel attacked and our defenses go down when we feel loved. In other words, I believe that the biggest apologetic we have when sharing the gospel is our love for others. My last post didn’t have a whole lot of love.
Let me sum it up with a phrase from my grandpa, “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” While I stand by the purity of the vinegar (i.e. the facts) of my last post the last thing I would want to see someone do is use that vinegar to try to “reach out” to a Muslim.
No, I’d rather they use the honey of God’s love shared in a gentle and humble way. I’m reminded of the words of Paul in 2 Timothy 2:23-26,
“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”
Hmmmm. That last post wasn’t very Pauline of me. My goal should be to gently instruct (the rational part of evangelizing) and be kind to everyone as I speak the truth (the relational part of evangelizing).
I guess the check in my spirit came when I started imagining an internet surfing Muslim stumbling across my post. The last thing in the world I would want to do is needlessly offend a Muslim with my rant and harden his or her heart to Jesus…all because I read a book on Islam that got me fired up. The second to the last thing I would want to do is give a Christian teenager the idea that the way you witness to a Muslim is by bashing their founder.
So, while I stand by the facts of what I shared in the last post I apologize for writing it. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not afraid to speak the truth. I’ll continue to do it. But I want to speak the truth in love.
Please pray for me as I learn to do so more and more.