Monday, December 24, 2012

Weirdness and the Gospel

Today our family was walking around the historic district here in Savannah. We were having a great time until we saw a man strolling around holding up a sign on a stick. I didn't get to read exactly what the sign said, but the gist of it was that Jesus is the abundant life and Satan is the abundant death. This, of course, is true. The problem was not the man's message per se, but rather his method of presenting it.

The man was walking around yelling "Jesus is Lord!" He may have said some other things, but I couldn't understand him. He didn't approach anybody but instead just wandered around with his sign yelling out about Jesus. It was just plain weird. The result was sadly predictable. Everyone who saw him moved away from him, laughing at his bizarre behavior.

I write about this because we must make sure that our presentations of the gospel are not socially weird. We want to ensure that if people reject Christ, they do it because of Christ's claims and not because we are social misfits. The gospel is full of radical truths. For example, Jesus demands each individual's full allegiance. He claims to have risen from the dead. He says that Hell is a real place. These claims fly in the face of modern thought. If people are going to reject these truths, there is nothing we can do about that. However, let's strive to present these truths in a manner in which being weird does not get in the way.

I don't doubt that this man had good intentions. However, the end result was that his efforts did more damage than good. What could he have done differently? Instead of holding up a sign, he might have done much better to simply try to engage folks in basic conversations. For example, Savannah has many tourists. If he is a local, which he probably is, he could have helped people with directions. This might have led to opportunities to share the gospel.

To sum up, if unbelievers are going to reject Jesus, let's be sure it is him they are rejecting and not our own weirdness.


Richard Swartz said...

Not all suffering is "for the sake of the gospel." There is a religiousness that can develop into a "martyr" syndrom, where the person is no longer open to correction and view any criticism as part of "the price to pay for having the truth."

I reiterate again, just because you're suffering, doesn't mean it is for the sake of the gospel.

Hope you had a Merry Christmas Eric.

Eric said...


Thanks for commenting. I agree completely with you. We must be careful to live in a way that we can communicate the gospel to unbelievers. Let's be sure that if they reject Christ, they are in fact rejecting Him and not our own personal oddness.