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Dear Evangelical, If the Christian Gospel is True

sharing the gospel

Dear Evangelical,

I have some questions for you.

  • Do you believe the Bible is the Word of God?
  • Do you believe the Bible is true? Inerrant? Infallible?
  • Do you believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life; that no man comes to the Father except through him?
  • Do you believe salvation is found in and through Jesus alone?
  • Do you believe a person must put their faith and trust in Jesus to be saved?
  • Do you believe a person must put their faith and trust in Jesus to go to Heaven after they die?
  • Do you believe the non-Christians will go to Hell when they die?
  • Do you believe death could happen at any moment?
  • Do you believe this life is preparation for the life to come?
  • Do you believe the church has the obligation to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature (person)?
  • Do you believe you can tell what a person believes is important by how they spend their time and how they spend their money?

Pretty straightforward questions. Not much room to wiggle, debate, or excuse.

Most Evangelicals would say yes to most, if not all, of these questions.

Now, if I  really believed that Hell was real, death was certain, and Jesus was the only hope for humanity, I would spend every waking hour telling this to others. I would live simply and spend my money on making sure this message got out to the world. I would not waste one moment of my time with the frivolous things of this world, using that time to witness to others.

Surely, if what Evangelicals say they believe is true, the message JESUS SAVES is the most important message ever given to humanity.

Easter is the Christian proclamation that Jesus, the son of God, died on the cross for human sin and on the third day rose again from the dead conquering death and Hell. Truly there is VICTORY IN JESUS.

And all the people said, Amen.

So, explain something to me. Be honest.

Why is it that most Evangelicals LIVE like what I wrote above is a complete falsehood?

Most Evangelicals never share their faith with anyone.

Many churches go years without adding one new convert to their membership.

Most Evangelicals live, behave, and die just like their non-Christian neighbors, family, and friends.

It seems that Evangelicals don’t really believe what they are preaching.

I am not pointing a finger at you.

I am just asking for you to be honest.

If Jesus is the answer to all life’s questions.

If Jesus satisfies every deepest longing of every person.

If Jesus will clean up and change sinners.

If Hell is real.

If Heaven is real.

If death is certain.

Why do you live like none of this is true?

How many people did you share the gospel with last week? Last month? Last year? Since you have been a Christian?

How about your pastor? For all his talk about the gospel, how many people has he personally witnessed to this week? Last month? Last year? Since he entered the ministry?

How many new members have joined your church because they were witnessed to by a member of your congregation (transfers from other churches don’t count)?

How many new convert baptisms took place at your church last year?

My point in this little exercise is this: talk is cheap.

You want others to become a Christian.

You want others to follow Jesus.

Why should they?

If you don’t really believe the gospel, why should you expect anyone else to?

Here is my take on that matter.

Religion is a personal matter.

Even though the Bible says it is not, you live like it is, so you must believe it is.

Since it is a personal matter, each of us should be free to worship or not worship.

One thing we all agree on . . .

We all are going to die.

Let’s agree to leave the afterlife to the afterlife.

I am willing to settle up with God, if he exists, after I die.

Life would be so much better for everyone if each of us had the liberty to live life freely without being evangelized or coerced into making a religious profession (and let’s be honest, a lot of the evangelistic techniques used by Evangelicals are coercive).

This does not mean we can’t talk about religion. This doesn’t mean we can’t talk about the Bible.

But, let’s talk as fellow citizens of earth. Let’s talk as people who have in common shared humanity.

If we do this, you are relieved of the burden of witnessing and I am relieved of being an evangelistic target.

Let’s just be you and me.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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  1. Avatar
    Gene Stephens

    I remember from my mid-teens thinking that I was unacceptable to God and doomed to hell. I would look at other Christian kids going to movies, going skiing in winter and water skiing in summer and otherwise having fun. I always thought it was something wrong with me that I couldn’t reconcile their having fun with the need to evangelize the lost and keep them from hell. In my case, Christianity was a constant reminder of how awful I was.

  2. Avatar
    Appalachian Agnostic

    Speaking of coercion, I caught a snippet of a radio preacher’s sermon yesterday who said he did not need to beg for money because those who are right with God will give witout being asked. That’s not even subtle.

  3. Avatar

    ‘…relieved of the burden of witnessing…’ Me too. It was one of those ‘lightbulb moments’ for me when, shortly after deconversion, I read a comment about witnessing. On an atheist blog, an ex-fundy said he realised he shied away from witnessing because, secretly, he was worried that the heathen person he was bible-bashing could well have better counter-arguments about the absurdity of the x-tian faith. God was supposed to turn up and give him those killer arguments that would make his mark fall on his knees and beg to know how to get saved. But he saw, god was, as always, conspicuous by his absence and no one he’d encountered had ever been miraculously led to him, by the holy ghost in order to find salvation. I realised that I too did as little personal witnessing as possible for fear of failure and having weak and in some cases, implausible and even silly arguments. Like god killing himself for my ‘sins’ for example.

  4. Avatar

    As a teen and young 20-something I worked in a university biochemistry lab with some highly educated, smart, humorous, kind, awesome people from a variety of backgrounds. Nobody was evangelical, though there were some mainline Christians. Of course, to young evangelical me they weren’t real Christians. But I was confused by how kind and compassionate and involved in the community many of these folks were. Also, deep down,I felt that evangelicalism was anti-intellectual, so there was no way I felt comfortable witnessing to anyone. The 2 years that I visited Bob Jones University for the American Association of Christian Schools national competition some of the folks were cautiously feeling me out to see if I was considering going to college there. I assured them I had exactly zero interest in that school, and they were relieved.

    My husband stated one time that if my brother and sister-in-law really think we’re going to hell, why haven’t they tried to say something?

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Bruce Gerencser