Pushing Christ

Let’s get one thing straight right now. It’s probably something that was worth saying the first day I posted on this blog. But since I didn’t do it then, now’s as good a time as ever.

This blog won’t save a single soul.


If it were to run a hundred years and be read by a million people a day, not one damned thing I do or say here will ever, ever save the soul of anyone on this planet.

But then again, no Christian saves any souls. No writings by theologians rescue anyone from the fires of Hell. The Bible itself has no power to redeem anyone. Those words may bring a feeling of dismay to some of the Christians who visit here. Some people will see my words as defeatism. They will think that I have lost my will and given into despair. Those are exactly the people who most need to read today’s post, because they are the ones most confused about what the hell evangelism is supposed to be about.

It isn’t about saving anyone.

It’s about letting them know how they can be saved.

My father-in-law, a pastor, has been very good over the years about chatting up Jesus with people he meets, and letting them know that to not have Jesus is to have death and to have him is to have life. He does this very smoothly, very conversationally. And sometimes, if he has had a really good and productive talk with a some lost soul about the gospel, he will not only encourage that person to seek Jesus, but he will also do something else. He will tell that person that if he or she should embrace Christ, don’t come back to thank him. Don’t even feel obliged to go to the trouble of tracking him down to tell him that they have become born again. And the reason is simple: It’s none of our business at that point.

That isn’t to say that we don’t want to hear about people becoming born again. But it should not be our goal to get a pat on the back or to have people return to us and thank us for saving them. Because that only stokes our egos, and it isn’t even true. No ones soul is saved until that person makes a sincere statement in his or her heart and with his or her mouth that Jesus is lord and savior, and then reaches out through Jesus to God the Father.

Jesus is the bridge, God writes the sins off the books, and the Holy Spirit can then fill the person up. The only mortal person involved in any person being saved is the one who asks for salvation and the forgiveness of their own sins—past, present and future.

I say this because a lot of Christians, particularly those who are really into church-based evangelism ministries, or who are relatively new to their faith, or otherwise very fired up for Christ…they start to think it is their job to push Jesus. They think it is their job to bring people to Christ.

People, we don’t bring anyone to Jesus. We point the way and we show by example why heading for Jesus is the right choice. But if we’re bringing the person to Jesus, that person isn’t likely getting saved. Because we cannot do it for them.

Mrs. Blue was telling me today about a mutual friend and sister in Christ who was describing how she had finally gotten a non-Christian couple she and her husband knew to attend their church. And Mrs. Blue told me how proud this friend of ours was (we’ll call her Mrs. Eager). Mrs. Eager told Mrs. Blue how it was so great to finally get this couple to go to their church and how she and Mr. Eager just had to keep “working on” this couple to get them to Christ.

Working on them? What are we, pushers? Are we trying to hook people on Jesus? Get them a taste and then try to make Christianity a habit?

We don’t need to hammer on people about how great Jesus is. The more we push someone, the less likely it is that the person will make the right choice. Sure, we can get them to come to church and wonder and maybe even fret about their souls, but the more we pressure them, the more we are distracting them from Jesus. Yes, we should share with the the wonder of the gospel. Yes, we should be there to answer their questions if they have any. Yes, we should let the light of Christ shine through our own actions.

But it is not now and should never be our task to herd people into churches thinking that sitting in a pew and hearing a pastor and singing some hymns is the formula for saving anyone.

God don’t need pushers. Jesus don’t need pushers. The Holy Spirit don’t need pushers. They need ambassadors.


6 Responses to “Pushing Christ”

  1. May 2, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    Good Breakdown.

    Have you done a post on the proper way to present God and the drawbacks of aggressive faith?

    It’s something I think about often. You know, what’s the best way to tell people about God.

  2. May 3, 2008 at 8:46 am

    I’ve mentioned as side notes in various posts about the drawbacks of aggressive faith but I don’t think I’ve yet done a post on that specifically.

    As for the proper way to present God…man, there’s a tough one. I’ve thought about it often but I don’t know if there is a good answer to that one. Something for me to ponder though as to whether I can say anything truly useful or intelligent about that one day soon.

  3. July 12, 2008 at 9:09 am

    The proper way to present God? Andy Stanley gives a presentation on a survey questionnaire they handed out at his church, asking that it only be filled out by people who were there on one of their 1st five visits. He was basically reporting the findings to his congregation, letting them know how they were doing…The Data came back to show that the 18 to mid-thirties age groups of “Unchurched” attendees found Christianity homophobic, and irrelevant, but that they liked Jesus. what do you do with that? What does it say, when the public relations volunteer corps of the Body, are viewed by the public as yucky, and distanced from the supposed Head? evangelizing a brokenhearted crack whore is a far different proposition from handing a zippo and a few wasabi peas to someone in a remote jungle location, and telling him you know things he doesn’t know, and if he doesn’t believe what you tell him to, the God who loves him will let him burn up for eternity. He’s inclined to believe you because you tote miracles, I guess
    The best way to present an invisible God, who I have not an cannot figure out? The One who views everything differently from me? I don’t present him, often. I generally evangelize at the request of the target. Kinda wimpy, huh?

  4. 4 Deacon Blue
    July 12, 2008 at 11:53 am

    Evangelism is an interesting thing. There are those who can come right out, uninvited, and do a GOOD job of evangelizing, but that’s not the experience of most of us. I think the best thing for a follower of Christ to do is look for an opening, when a person is expressing interest or curiosity or is having spiritual doubts about life, and be there for that person. Not pushing Jesus on them but just sharing a casual testimonial or something.

    For me, I’ve never been much good at the one-on-one thing, which is why, I think, the Spirit has moved me toward this forum.

    Don’t think of yourself as having a wimpy approach. But let the light in you shine through in what you do and don’t be afraid to speak of Christ when the moment calls for it. We all have our strengths, and not all of us are good at super-serious evangelizing…and many of those who think they ARE good at it are probably actually coming across as jerks a lot of the time. 😉

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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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