Talking With Unbelievers: Conversation Not Conversion
By Alan Giles - Posted at The Heidelblog:
“Reformed evangelism.” I used to think this was an oxymoron, that Arminians ask people to choose, and that Calvinists let the Arminians do the work of the evangelists. I thought that the Calvinists would teach converts the doctrines of the faith once they have read their bible, left their Arminian church, and come to us for the real meat and potatoes of scripture. I am not saying those were correct assumptions, but these were the foundational assumptions from which I started for many years.
Then something happened. I began to question this set of assumptions. I began to ask God to give me a heart for those who have never tasted and seen the Kingdom of God. I began to intentionally build relationships with non-Christians, not for the sake of evangelizing them, but solely for the sake of getting to know them so that I could better pray for them and, perhaps, even someday, even minister to them.
What if our view of evangelism was not just about seeing conversions but about having conversations with non-Christians? Conversations that both reveal the idols of their heart (as well as ours), and help us know how to better pray for, and minister to them every day? By God’s grace, I have had the joy of putting this into practice quite a bit lately. Let me give you an example.
“You probably don’t…”
“You are probably offended by…”
“You probably wouldn’t ever…”
These are the types of questions I have begun to be asked by the non-Christians I am getting to know at a local club a joined. Typically, the final part of these questions reveals a view of me (and anyone else who claims to be a Christian) that says, “you are a Christian; therefore, you must be completely opposed to (fill in the blank).”
What I have found is that our response to these sorts of questions can either be the beginning of a new relationship or, tragically, the relationship before it has even begun.
Editor's Note: To further flesh this out, please read the comment section at The Heidelblog. I've always thought of this as planting seeds with those who don't know Christ. Evangelism is multi-faceted, IMO. I also believe in confronting sin and sharing the Gospel as in street ministry. - AW