Monday, May 23, 2016

Evangelism: never the first word in a conversation?

Words of wisdom from the ABofC
speaking at a reception for leaders of other faiths in the garden of Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop insisted Christians should not actively “proselytise” non-Christians.

Asked where he drew the line between evangelism and proselytism, he said: “I draw the line in terms of respect for the other; in starting by listening before you speak; in terms of love that is unconditional and not conditional to one iota, to one single element on how the person responds to your own declaration of faith; and of not speaking about faith unless you are asked about faith.
“That’s a shorthand but I could go on.

“I draw a pretty sharp line, it is all based around loving the person you are dealing with which means you seek their well-being and you respect their identity and their integrity.”

Nothing there that you wouldn't find in 1 Peter chapter 3, or indeed in Stephen Coveys 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. There's an interesting contrast to the commentary on last years Talking Jesus survey, whose recommendations said a lot about talking but next to nothing about listening, despite the fact that far more people were put off becoming Christians by our efforts at evangelism than were attracted to it. 

Having said that, there's potential for a real double standard here. Imagine a world where people don't talk about football unless they're asked about football, or don't talk about their political views unless they're asked about them. How come that's fine (though pretty tedious) but starting a conversation about God isn't? 
PS sorry about the formatting, not quite sure what's happened there - you can read between the lines ;-) !

1 comment:

  1. As the Church loses 12 people for every one gained and only 2 out of 100 members were converted from outside the faith, Welby need hardly be worried about incommoding the multitudes passing into darkness.