Monday, July 09, 2007

Terrifying Evangelism

More thoughts on the original.......

I am still looking for one of the pages I unearthed, which says that basically RCs are not "saved" and need to be shown the error of their ways no matter how much pain it causes them.

So I think it is safe to say the adherents of that particular mindset would consider we Orthodox are probably not "saved" either, even if they don`t know the Orthodox exist......

I think God will indeed be gracious and merciful to those who have not heard the true message of the Gospel, whether in heathen lands or at home, but I also believe that all those of us who consider ourselves Christian will have to explain to God exactly why we did not spread the Good News about Christ more openly and effectively, whether by actual word or by the example of a truly transfigured, Christ-centred life.

I am just not convinced that telling people they will definitely go to Hell is the best evangelistic tool. I think that God would prefer we come to Him out of free will, and out of love and gratitude for what He has done for us, and not only say the Sinner`s prayer out of cringeing , gibbering terror and a desire to escape Hell......

Wandering around the links from some extremely useful Protestant Christian home-making sites this evening, I came upon this in someone`s sidebar........


150,000 People
Will Die Today

The counter to the side is ticking off the number of people who have died since you opened this webpage. The vast majority of those people are entering Hell. Christ commanded his followers to share the Gospel with those who are perishing... who have you shared with today?



And in the little box was a real-time counter which logged up 64 deaths in the one minute I observed it. In their Protestant evangelical opinion, most of those folk were undoubtedly going to Hell because they weren`t the right brand of Christian.

I am glad to be Orthodox and able to leave the question of the destination of someone`s soul after they die to the loving benevolence of our God. I am not denigrating the urgent need to preach the Gospel to those folk who do not really know or understand it, but I do doubt that these guilt trip inducing tactics are the best way to go about it.

Your mileage may vary, of course. Please feel free to comment accordingly.
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Philippa said...

In Protestant circles, this type belief system is called "fire insurance." Meaning: people "accept Jesus as Lord and Savior" just keep them out of hell.

A popular sermon theme especially among some of the most fundamental denominations.

Dave said...

You don't have a link to the site, so I can't comment on whether they think folks are going to Hell because they aren't the right brand of Christian or just because they aren't Christians at all.

I don't think you have to hold to a fire insurance soteriology take an exclusivist view with regard to St Peter's words to the Sanhedrin, "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

I'm not convinced the Orthodox tendency to avoid evangelism because of apophatic theology is the best approach. Nowhere in Scripture do I see the approach that preaching the Gospel is okay, but God will probably take care of the heathen anyway. I think Orthodoxy has a tendency to become navel-gazing, so busy working out our own salvation that we don't see mission of the Church to bring the message that Christ gave Himself up for the life of the world.

I'm afraid I tend to agree with the quote you have provided.