A Perspective on Simple and Sincere Evangelism
by Mr. Sheehy
Since I was the only nonbeliever in the group, people took turns urging me to remove my worries and submit myself to God. The simplicity and sincerity in their offerings touched me. They believed that faith was a valuable gift, and they wanted to share this spiritual awakening with a guest.
Those sentences come from Liao Yiwu’s God Is Red, a wonderful book profiling a handful of Christians who outlasted atheist communism in China. On the one hand, I wish more non-Christians in our own culture would understand the perspective of Christ’s disciples as well as Liao comprehends this fellowship of believers in China. He sees the sharing of faith as a sincere offering from one person to another of what is most cherished in life, not a manipulative power-play or show of intolerance. Inherent in his comment is the understanding that a conversion, when it takes place, involves the decision of an autonomous being, not the hand-cuffed manipulation of a victim.
Yet the comment also reveals the quality of the evangelism taking place in that particular fellowship (and the reported flourishing of the Christian faith in China suggests such evangelism is common in China). We Western Christians could learn a lot from these Chinese Christians. Perhaps instead of worrying ourselves too much over apologetics or evangelism strategies and approaches, we should be more simple and sincere in how we discuss and share our faith. Instead of crafting effective rhetorical constructs (ie: Way of the Master), perhaps we could simply share our experiences and invite others to come along with us? Of course, in a culture always suspicious of a lurking irony–witness the skepticism towards Tim Tebow–this wouldn’t always be accepted, but simplicity seems to be a better approach than to do something where the irony is actually present and the sincerity is not.
Thanks for reading.
- China Inland Mission. Rev. J. Hudson Taylor & Wife, with Group of Christians on Flickr by Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library