If you have ever wondered how the world responds to forceful evangelism, you may be interested in what Mike Morefield has to say. In his article, “What wouldn’t Jesus do? Bully dissenters,”Morefield expresses his displeasure with a group of street preachers who visited the University of Arizona. Because of their comments about sodomy, abortion, and the Muslim religion, Morefield concluded that “fire-and-brimstone evangelists reduce Christianity to a mockery, and in so doing pay a great disservice to their religion. Instead of aiding the Christian faith, they are causing it irreparable harm.”
After reading the article, I have conflicting thoughts. A Christian should preach the word whether or not it is acceptable (2 Tim. 4:2). And godly Christians should expect persecution (2 Tim. 3:12) and mocking (2 Pet. 3:3-4). The apostles proclaimed the gospel despite the opposition that came to them. So, a bad response should not hinder our efforts to evangelize the lost.
On the other hand, I have known some Christians who were an embarrassment because of their forceful attempts to “win” someone to Christ. I think of one person who placed his foot in the door of a home and berated the family for not wanting to hear about Christ. Another group who was ministering at a jail seemed very antagonistic toward the sinful prisoners and then called for them to repeat a prayer for salvation. He seemed to hate the people he was trying to win. These methods do detract from the message of hope found exclusively in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).
An unregenerated man will not appreciate any type of confrontation about his sin. And preaching about the cross will also seem foolish to him (1 Cor. 1:18). So, I have mixed emotions about Morefield’s article. But if I understand his experience correctly, he was more offended with the attitude of the preachers than the content of their message. If so, I hope they will reconsider their methods and “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15).