Too Hasty

          Finally, in evangelism, we tend to be too hasty asking people to make a decision for Christ. When a person is showing some positive response to our sharing of the gospel, we tend to over-react and cannot wait to announce that he is saved and born again. Such reaction could lead to some adverse consequences:

         1. The person maybe flattered, not knowing what it really means to follow Christ. As a result, he might think that being a follower of Christ is just a way of thinking.

         2.  Later, when you invite him to be baptised or disciplep, he may run away immediately; because his "faith" has no root. Even if he doesn't run away, he may become a lukewarm Christian.

         Rather than pushing for a premature commitment, we better hold off our enthusiasm and make more accurate assessment before launching the move. After all, new converts have to rely on us Christians to show them the way. There are three signs we should watch for:

         1. Intellectual Agreement. After hearing the gospel message and testimonials from Christians, the person has adequate understanding of the faith and shows interest and endorsement. He has no objection to Jesus' divinity, resurrection, atonement, teaching, man's sin, and the last judgment. Basically, he agrees Christianity is a good value system. If everyone adheres to it, the world will be a peaceful place to live in. But agreeing is not the same as believing.

         2. Emotional Association. If the person continues to show interest and maintains regular contact with Christians, that means he wants to be part of this new found religion. His degree of association may vary from words of support to acts of defense when Christianity is under attack. This is a good change of attitude. However, this is still not believing, but a show of goodwill to the Gospel. Too often, we mistake this for the sign of conversion.

         3. Willful Commitment. When a person begins to make personal sacrifices to maintain his association with the Jesus, and Jesus’ teaching, the Holy Spirit has surely worked in him. At this point, he is not looking at the Gospel as a doctrine, but a gift of life. He is ready to take possession of it. At this stage he may ask Christians many difficult questions; because he wants to make sure what we taught him is the truth. This serious attitude may sometimes be misunderstood by us as a malicious push. We need to make the discernment. Jesus used two parables to illustrate this phenomenon:

         44 "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. " (Matthew 13:44-46). 

           操之過急

             最後,我發現基督徒傳道時,常犯一個「操之過急」的毛病:福音對象稍有些正面回應,就迫不及待的認爲他「信主啦」、「決志啦」。這樣的舉動,往往造成不良後果。

              一、 對方受寵若驚。這就是「信主啦」?「決志啦」?我還沒搞清楚呢!

              二、 日後你想引導他參加洗禮或門訓,他就馬上跑了;因他根本沒有「信」。就算他不跑掉,或勉強洗禮,日後也會可能成爲不冷不熱的老油條。

              與其令福音對象誤解何謂信,我們倒不如認真地分辨一下,「信」會有什麼特徵。我們可以用三個階段作爲參考,作出比較準確的衡量;免得大家表錯情。

              一、 認同。經過基督徒的講解、見證,福音對象對福音信息有所瞭解,表示認同。他們對耶穌的神性、復活、代贖、教訓,以及人的罪、末後審判等都不存異議。基本上,他們認爲基督教的教義非常好,值得依附。世人若都遵行,會天下太平。但理念上的認同,不等同相信。

              二、 相合。人從認同福音的道理到願意與福音站同一立場,是個好轉變。他對福音已經產生好感。這表示他非但認同福音,而且刻意要維護福音。當然,這好感可以是輕者幾聲稱讚,到重者爲福音道理爭辯。不過,這依然不是相信,只是對福音有某個程度的好感罷了。很多時候,我們錯把這個立場看爲相信。

              三、 犧牲。人從與福音相合到爭取,是個奇妙的轉變;因爲他不甘心讓福音作爲一個身外存在的好道理,他要爭取、作出犧牲、據爲己有。在這個階段,他會向我們提出許多難纏的問題;目的是他要確保所領受的是真理、是真相。這認真的態度有時也會被我們誤解爲是不懷好意的擡槓。耶穌曾用兩個比喻說明這個現象:

              44「天國好像寶貝藏在地裡,人遇見了就把他藏起來,歡歡喜喜的去變賣一切所有的,買這塊地。45天國又好像買賣人尋找好珠子,46遇見一顆重價的珠子,就去變賣他一切所有的,買了這顆珠子。」(馬太福音 13:44-46)

            幸福小組傳福音的結果,也有這樣的現象:表示信耶穌的人多,實際要洗禮的人少。大有可能是我們表錯情,不能怪聽的人無常。


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