I heard a quote recently that convicted me in regards to the way I look at evangelism.
This quote wasn’t from a well-known pastor like John Piper, some local lay leader in the church, or even a child in our youth group. On the contrary, it was from a VERY devout and vocal atheist named Penn Jillette, you may know him as one half of the comic-illusionist act Penn and Teller.
After someone politely shared their faith with him he had this to say, “…I’ve always said, you know, that I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and hell, and people could be going to hell, or not getting eternal life or whatever, and you think that, well, it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward…How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that? I mean, if I believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that a truck was coming at you, and you didn’t believe it, and that truck was bearing down on you, there is a certain point where I tackle you. And this is way more important than that…”
Mr. Jillette could obviously care less if we, as Christians, share our faith at all. But, we should care. Why? Because it is commanded of us. It’s our job to share the Gospel with the world. We have knowledge of the impending doom to come, the truck that’s on its way.
I would venture to say that I have as many friends that aren’t believers as those who are, and I love them both equally. I try to be a positive example of Christian living rather than being the “older brother” who judges and condemns them for their disbelief. There are many who I pray for, by name, daily. But, if I were honest with myself would I be able to say that I do an adequate job of verbally sharing the Gospel with them?
At what point do we start caring more about our “non-believing” friend’s spiritual well-being than what may or may not be an awkward conversation?
At what point are we willing to “tackle” them?