Does Conversation Lead Inevitably To Compromise?
Conversational Evangelism Series: Part 5
Todd Hunter, Board Member and Consultant, Alpha USA, and noted speaker on evangelism and culture writes:
Maybe you’ve heard this concern, or had the same unease yourself: “doesn’t conversation, by definition mean a two-way exchange?” This question is often asked rhetorically.
The expected answer is: “Yes it does.”
But it is the following logic that is the usually the real point: “Why would a Christian meeting give place for people to describe their non-Christian world view, give false witness, misquote the Bible or talk about another religion?”
I can see why someone would have that worry. Here is the way I have worked it out. God is not surprised by anything a seeker might say. Second, we have nothing to fear. There is no God but God. Everything else is “not there”. For us to fear these conversations is little different than a child fearing the monster that is “not there” in the closet. The danger only exists in our minds.
Someone might argue back, “Well, a new believer who has just come to help on the course might be set back in their faith, or get confused.” I think you’ll agree with me that there are plenty of wells from which one could drink confusion: Amazon, Google, Wikipedia, neighbors, work, school, friends with which we share hobbies, etc. The list is almost endless. But, all of those places are springs of truth too. We cannot hide people from possible spiritual warfare. This is one reason we cover the topic on the Alpha Course. I’d rather someone get tripped-up momentarily while on the Alpha Course—at least there we have a tremendous safety net comprised of the local Alpha team.
All evangelism for all time has had risk inherent in it. In Billy Graham’s early days he had lots of detractors who thought he was compromising. So did Robert Schuller, Bill Hybels and Rick Warren. Listening to others stories and their view points, not just “telling them the truth” is a risk we simply must take today for the sake of the Gospel.
God will protect us as we do so. 1 John 4:4 says, “Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.”
Saying this, John meant to encourage his hearers that they were safe in the midst of false teachers whom John says were empowered by the spirit of the anti-Christ. Sounds pretty scary compared to a little Alpha group doesn’t it? But, listen to the encouragement again, this time from The Message:
“My dear children, you come from God and belong to God. You have already won a big victory over those false teachers, for the Spirit in you is far stronger than anything in the world.”
Here is an equally true, peace-filling vision for contemporary evangelism. God is not just greater in you, he is also greater in the world. Think of it this way:
Greater is He that is in the world, than he that is in the world…!
That means God is greater than any force happening in a conversation. God, the Master Potter, can take the most lopsided conversations and shape them into a moment of finding faith...while making sure the flying mud causes no permanent stains on those apprentices working with him in his pottery shop.