I’m currently reading a book on evangelism called, Questioning Evangelism, by Randy Newman. I highly recommend it. It’s mainly about how we can improve how we engage the unbeliever in evangelistic encounters through questions. Throughout the book, Randy also provides many examples of conversations which he has had, or has recreated, in order to help demonstrate for us how to better handle some common challenges when evangelizing. One chapter he titles as…
“Why are Christians so homophobic?”
(It’s a rhetorical play on words, not a presumption of the Christian perspective.)
Here’s Randy on page 148 from that chapter, talking to us (Christians)…
“Regardless of whether we realize it, the topic of homosexuality might be lurking behind many evangelistic conversations. If the people to whom we’re talking are not gay themselves, they know someone who is, or have a relative, coworker, or neighbor who is, and they refuse to be hateful toward them. They will not even consider our faith if it will turn them into bigots.”
Randy is correct. Much of the people that I have engaged in spiritual conversations during my walk have had their guard up and are resistive to Christianity because of this topic. Several years ago I experienced this first hand. I then wrote a blog about how I had handled a specific conversation when I was challenged with concerns regarding homosexuals while evangelizing. Just click here to read Teleology and the Gospel.
On the next page, Randy then provides a helpful tip when we are challenged with being labeled as “homophobic” as we share the Gospel…
“So when someone asks us if we’re homophobic, we might shake up their thinking by responding, ‘I’m not afraid of homosexuals, but I am afraid for them.’ Our explanation could bring some light to a topic that usually generates only heat.”
Did you catch that?
‘I’m not afraid of homosexuals, but I am afraid for them.’
This is a very important thing to grasp. Randy has touched upon the essence as to, or the motive behind, why we evangelize. We care about the lost. We rejoice when people are saved. Jesus captures this very point at the end of The Parable of the Lost Sheep…
Luke 15:7 (HCSB)
“…there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who don’t need repentance.”
Being labeled as “homophobic” can be hard to take. It can easily lead to unfruitful dialogue. It can even hurt. However, there is a proper way to respond which can turn the conversation back to where it should go. If we just stop and slow down, and take a sober look at the challenges before us… we can then vastly improve how we navigate our evangelical encounters for the glory of Christ and the salvation of the lost. Such difficulty is nothing new. Paul had to even encourage Timothy with regards to dealing with passionate resistance when sharing the Gospel. We are in good company…
2 Timothy 4:2a (HCSB)
“Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not…”
Godspeed, to the brethren!
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