“Why do Christians insist on shoving their religion down everyone’s throats?”
This complaint is so common that many simply expect every Christian to try and recruit them as if they are in some kind of pyramid scheme and need to build up a base for the sake of their position. “No thanks, I’ve had plenty of Amway and Herbalife in my life!”
Unfortunately, it seems as if evangelism has become one of the practices most negatively associated with the Christian Church; and I fear this is not just to those outside the church, but also within the very body of Christians themselves. This mentality, that somehow sharing your faith is rude, annoying, or even offensive to others has caused many Christians to shrink back from any action that might even seem like evangelism. And so, many Christians find themselves being asked by one side to keep their faith private, and by the other, the Church, to share it. What are they to do?
To answer that question, and the first question posed above, we need to understand the basic tenets of Christianity. (The description may fall short here, but hopefully be enough to get the gist.) The core of Christianity is this: Mankind has been separated from God by sin and has no power to change that; but because of His love for us, God created a means of reconciliation through Jesus Christ for anyone who would believe Him and receive this. This is it! This is the most basic tenet of Christianity, and if this is not true, then neither is anything else about Christianity. But if this is true—and it is—then it means that it applies to every person who ever has, currently does, or ever will exist upon the earth. It is, in fact, a truth for everyone, regardless of whether they choose to believe it or not.
If someone is made aware of a danger that others are in but do not see and cannot understand, then we would argue that he is morally obligated to warn others and to try and persuade them to get away from the danger. And if a person claims to have love for another, then that love would demand that they be relentless in trying to save the person. This is the burden of every true Christian—to know a truth that others often don’t want to hear, but that literally means the difference between life and death.
No person can call themselves a loving Christian and not persistently try to share that truth with others—and this always in love with the desire that they would be enlightened, not compelled. The reality is, that for a person to refuse to share the gospel with others, or to hide behind ridiculous postmodern philosophies such as “relative truth” or “all paths lead to god” can mean only that a person does not actually believe what they profess as Christians, or worse, they do not love others as Jesus does. (For the record, Jesus loved people so much that He insisted that they understand the truth, that He is the ONLY way to the Father; the ONLY means of salvation for any person.)
The apostle Paul was a great missionary, sharing the gospel of God everywhere he could. He led many to a life-giving relationship with Jesus. He was persecuted for his zeal, which was caused by his love for God and all of God’s creation. He wrote in his letter to the Ephesians, “I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power” (3:7 NIV). Paul considered evangelism—the sharing of the gospel—to be something God gave him out of grace. “Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” (v 8).
The theologian N.T. Wright says, “Worship and mission are conjoined twins. They share a heart: the heart that loves God the triune creator and that loves, for his sake, the world he made and (particularly) the creatures that bear his image.”
If people love God and thus His creation, then the reason they share their faith with you is simply because they truly love you and want you to know the hope and love that is God. What is a Christian to do? Love others, love them as Jesus does, by doing whatever it takes for them to know that God does not want them to perish and that Jesus is the only means of salvation.
I pray the world may know Him today and live. I pray that the Church may love His creation enough to simply share the Good News.
Please come join us as we fix our eyes on Jesus. We meet Sundays at 9 a.m. for Sunday school and 10 a.m. for worship. Everyone is welcome