church faith question and response

Good News for All

Last week I posted on Christianity and Other Religions and included my thoughts about how to best respond to someone of another faith. I want to follow up on some of the conversation that I have had via the comments and emails on my assertion that it is more important to share the good news of Christ with non and nominally religious persons rather than persons of other religions.

I have received some excellent critiques that it is the responsibility of all Christians to share the good news with others – regardless of whether they adhere to a particular faith tradition. I agree. I do think that it is important to tell the story of Jesus to all persons in a way that tells of life transformation and gives the opportunity and calls for a response.

I did not intend to assert that Christians should not share their faith with those of other religions. I do believe that this is important. In regard to a relationship with Christ I do not make a distinction between someone who is non-religious and someone with who is faithful to another religion. In the collective, it is important to share the good news with all.

I would like to stay with my original assertion that given the choice of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with an individual of faith and with someone without any faith I believe that I would pursue the relationship with the person without faith. However, I recognize the validity of the counterpoint that someone with some sort of faith structure may have a familiarity with shaping her or his life around a life of faith and thus may be more willing to shift

As you can likely tell, I am still working this out and have appreciated the comments which help sharpen my thoughts. So here is a question about which I am not clear – Which of the following do you think would be someone that would be more willing to respond to the good news of Jesus Christ?

  • A person who faithfully practices a faith tradition other than Christianity?
  • Or

  • A person who does not practice any religion?

I am clear that it is important for Christians to share their faith with each of these groups. What do you think?

By Andrew Conard

Christian, husband, son, brother, homeowner

2 replies on “Good News for All”

I’ll play Devil’s advocate (Ironic I Know).

Some of the most amazing Christians I know were people who grew up in Animistic, Hindu, or Muslim traditions. These folks make amazing Christians because – quite frankly – their traditions avoid the sacred/secular split that characterizes western Christendom. Their commitment to discipleship is often unsurpassed post conversion. One brings to mind Paul’s conversion on the Damascus road.

Second, To the extent that I believe that the Gospel is superior in every regard to the other Major World religions – my conscience should burn with the desire to help lift the oppressiveness of those burdens, and replace them with the privilege and honor of following the only True God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (wanted to sound like Paul there).

Third, To convert one member of another World Religion – likely will lead to the conversion of others – because in cross cultural faith sharing we know Natives are more effective than “Missionaries”. So from a purely strategic perspective – the time invested seems to make more sense.

Bottom line, us Methodists believe that people living outside of the Grace of Christ are in serious eternal danger. I know thats not a popular modern notion, it seems quaint, anachronistic, and unenlightened – but it lies at the heart of the Churches historical proclamation, and It flows directly from the Teachings of Jesus. (Plus its in the Book of Discipline :))

All of that said – Its most likely that I will commonly encounter Non and Nominal Christians since they make up some 85 percent of our population. The key is that we be ready when the Holy Spirit prompts us to rise up out of our comfort Zones and live out the Great Commission.

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