We have been discussing that the church is God’s plan to implement His purposes for this time before Christ’s return. It should function efficiently with love and act consistently with God’s word. The last few weeks we covered scriptural methods to recognize true and non-true believers (tares) in the church.
This week let’s think how we might help the church-attending non-believer. It can be a tough sell! How can we bring a non-believer’s attention to their own unbelief? Next week we’ll provide a few suggestions about how to share your faith with a non-believer.
What makes helping a non-believer difficult is if you ask a non-believer if they are a Christian, they most always would respond “yes.” Are they being dishonest? Consider that there are several levels of Christianity accepted in our culture.
- Christian Seeker – These are typically new church attendees who may not recognize that they are not a true believer because they are interested in learning about Christianity. Generally, they are comfortable in the social setting of the church (which often is designed expressly for that purpose). A seeker may say they are a Christian. However, they may be more willing to admit they do not yet believe as their motivation for church attendance may be to seek a solution to their needs, which might be spiritual.
- Social Christian – These are individuals, most likely church members or attendees, perhaps longstanding, who would readily indicate they are a Christian. However, when asked to explain their Christian beliefs in specific terms they might be unable to express the gospel, even with prompting. Unfortunately, since they typically are tied to the church and its social structure, they would be embarrassed to admit they are not truly a believing Christian; this would likely affect their self-esteem and social standing. Non-believers would fall into this group.
- Evangelical, born-again Christian – These Christians identify as saved by grace, by faith alone in the forgiveness provided by Jesus Christ‘s death on the cross (Ephesians 2:8-9).
What’s the problem? The first two groups are accepted socially and are comfortable within the typical evangelical church setting. Consequently, to confront them regarding salvation may (almost assuredly) produce a defensive posture and perhaps a damaged friendship.
How then can we bring these important church members to be willing to evaluate their own salvation in an objective way? Good question! We don’t yet know from research how to best approach them. Further, the method will likely differ per the individual. Consequently, we must cling to scripture where God reminds us to try to bring the gospel to all people. How to do this? We will discuss this interesting topic in the next blog! Thanks for joining me today. I look forward to seeing you again next week!