By David W. Daniels
Should I give someone a tract and walk him or her through it to the point of praying to receive Jesus? Or should I wait until I have made close friends and "earned the right" to bring up such a sensitive subject as "faith" or "religion"? A number of articles in Christian media say tract evangelism is dead. Is "friendship evangelism" the godly alternative?
First of all, Jesus did not say to make friends before sharing the gospel. Here's what Jesus commanded:
Mark 16:15: And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Matthew 28:19-20: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
The US has been encouraging friendship evangelism for a couple decades. As a result, higher percentages are not hearing the gospel. Why? Look at the obvious flaws with this approach:
A. Nobody knows when he or she has gotten to be friends enough to evangelize. As a result, they don't do it.
B. Many times people won't evangelize after they become friends, because they are afraid of losing their friend, and begin instead to rationalize that it's "more loving" not to cause them distress than to save their souls from hell, get their sins forgiven and open the way to Christ as their living Saviour and God the Father as their own adoptive Father.
C. Some few who do finally talk to their friend, after holding back previously, may find their friend feels "used," just becoming friends in order to evangelize them. The answer is to offer salvation and forgiveness to everyone we can, knowing that some will be open and many won't. But they may at least appreciate our honesty. I've had people befriend me because they wanted to make me Catholic. People feel used that way.
We also need to teach and preach a gospel that is actually in the Bible. We are saved by faith in the shed blood of God's only begotten Son, Jesus, to pay for our sins. We are not saved by works, no matter how good, religious or spiritual they look. God's holy words are what He said and what He inspired to have written. They are not up for opinion or committee vote.
Many modern Bibles have changed the Great Commission from "preach" or "teach" to "make disciples." This is a different concept. When you preach or teach the word of God, you are presenting information so the person can make a choice.
We preach and teach. God makes people disciples. These changed words made people think Jesus was commanding lifestyle evangelism in the Great Commission! As a result, people backed away from witnessing. This created the mess we're in: the Great Omission. It sounds like something Satan would do, doesn't it? You need the right gospel, and the right Bible.
I have well over 200 videos on these topics, to aid your faith and your witnessing. You are free to watch them any time at YouTube.com/c/chicktracts.
And by the way, do you know how I got saved? A guy I met only once in my life gave me a Chick tract.