Reflecting Christ in the Workplace

“Jesse James used a gun.”
“…I’m sorry, what?”
“JESSE. JAMES. USED. A GUN.”
“………..”
Points to coffee menu: “Jesse James used a gun to rob people. You just use this little sign.”

Just another day at the cafe. Another customer who “can get coffee way cheaper at the 7-Eleven across the street.” Another bit of polite laughter, another fake smile to hide the fact that I truly wish he would go bless the good people of 7-Eleven with his presence. In the small cafe where I work I meet all sorts of people. Some are a little more trying than others, and some days are easier than others. But each person who walks through the door and into my world is a unique soul who brings with him an opportunity to share the love of Christ.

Christ in the Workplace

The workplace is one of the most accessible places to share the gospel. Ironically, it’s also one of the hardest and most overlooked places to witness. We tend to separate our work lives from our ‘real lives.’ We go to work, do our job, clock out, do life for a few hours, and the next morning we start it all over again. So many opportunities are wasted as one person after another walks into our lives and then back out again without gaining anything from their short interaction with us. We’re so busy ‘just doing our jobs’ that we neglect the Kingdom work to which we’ve been called.

So how do we use our jobs to do Christ’s work? Although I’m writing this article, I don’t claim to be an expert. My job experience is limited at best, as I’ve only done the typical Mennonite bakery and cafe gigs. But hopefully the things I’ve learned can apply to a wider spectrum of careers.

Just Say Something

Coworkers: these are the people we see every day, the people we have some kind of relationship with. They see our attitudes and the way we react to challenges; the good, the bad, and the ugly. This group is both the easiest and the hardest to witness to at work. They are easier because there is a relationship. You can build up respect and trust. Witnessing can be a more gradual process because you will see them day after day.

Yet they are hard for that very reason. If I share with them and they shut me down and reject my message, I have to see them again tomorrow. Things might be awkward.

And so we sit around and wait for the “right time” to talk to them, a time when the conversation naturally leads to our faith, when we know exactly what to say. But that time rarely comes. Even if they open the conversation to religion, we are afraid to go there. What if I say the wrong thing? What if they ask a question I can’t answer?

When I was 19 and working my first ‘real’ job I had a coworker who liked to talk about anything and everything. One day something led him to declare “Well, I’m a Christ-ian.” Someone asked him what he meant by that and he replied, “I believe in the words of Christ, but not the rest of the Bible. It’s pro-slavery and anti-adultery.” I remember standing there thinking what a ridiculous statement that was. It didn’t even make sense.

But I didn’t say anything. I didn’t take that opportunity to open a discussion about Christianity. I was shy and scared and I didn’t know what to say. And I still regret that. Don’t wait for the perfect time, because it probably won’t come.

Working with Joy

We can also reflect Christ in the way that we work. One thing I’ve noticed in my experience is that selfishness runs rampant in the workplace. Even when you’re working with Christians. Everybody wants to get their job done so they can move on to real life. We get so caught up in our little worlds, in the importance of our own agendas, that we sacrifice our coworkers. We say, “Well so-and-so slacked on that one thing last week, so he can pick up for me today. After all, I was planning to study my Sunday School lesson this evening after I go out with my friends, and if I don’t get off early enough then I won’t have time to study. It’s my Christian duty to slack a little.” This kind of attitude only breeds frustration and strife.

“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.”1 Are these things present in your workplace? Rather than taking shortcuts, we should be willing to go the extra mile. To stay a little late to help someone who is behind on their work, to risk being taken advantage of. To give up our own leisure time for the sake of others. We should do our own jobs to the very best of our ability, with joy rather than complaining, because there is joy in knowing that we are following the example of Christ.

Bless and Do Not Curse

We can also show Christ to the people that we are serving — customers, clients, students, patients, etc. Many of the people that we serve through our jobs are unbelievers. What do they see during their brief interactions with us? When things are overwhelming and we’re feeling stressed do they see Christ? How do we react when they are being really difficult or rude?

The conversation at the beginning of this article sticks in my memory as one of the most frustrating experiences I’ve had with a customer. This man began griping about prices the moment he walked in and then proceeded to try to convince me to buy his coffee for him, ask how much money I make, and flat out refuse to pay the posted price. He got more obnoxious with each passing minute and by the time I finally pried the correct amount of money out of his fingers, the friendly smile and indulgent chuckles had long faded along with my patience. I made a snippy comment, stared at him without a hint of warmth and said a robotic “have a nice day,” then turned on my heel and marched away. I was not feeling very Christ-like and it showed.

I’m pretty sure that man didn’t walk away thinking, “Wow, that girl really had a kind smile and a good attitude. Something seems different about her. She’s obviously religious — Amish, I think — maybe that’s where her sense of peace and joy comes from. I could use some of that in my life….” That was a great opportunity to find joy in the midst of suffering and to share Christ with my persecutor, and I missed it. It’s so tempting to give in to frustration and anger in those moments, but those are the times it’s most important that we don’t. Our reactions to aggravating situations speak volumes to the world.

To the Glory of God

So who are you reflecting at you job? Do the people you work with and for see Christ through you? The workplace is an incredible mission field that many believers completely ignore. God has called each one of us to represent and glorify Him in everything that we do, even our mundane jobs. I obviously fail way too often, yet God gives me new opportunities every day. Let’s seize those opportunities and allow Christ to work in the workplace.

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”2

Carmen Carmen Yoder lives in New Paris, Indiana. She works part-time at a cafe, where she enjoys making messes (which she cleans) and chatting with “the regulars.” Her spare time is usually spent reading, entertaining her siblings, adventuring, drinking coffee, or criticizing [she means proofreading] Radi-Call articles. She loves beauty, especially that of God’s creation, different cultures, fellowship, music, and laughter. She desires to live life to the fullest and serve God in any way He calls her.

Sources Used

1 Peter 3:8, ESV
1 Corinthians 10:31

10 thoughts on “Reflecting Christ in the Workplace

  1. AMEN! we spend tremendous time with our Co workers and spend very little time thinking about the Gospel at work. I work in a corporate environment that is becoming more and more complex to navigate. With ever increasing policies for “inclusion and diversity” , which sounds great and is when your talking male and female inequality and race inequality, but the real elephant in the constant push to “accept” sin not mearly work along side etc with those who choose a sinful life.

    The Christian is becoming less loved in the world each day…

    Are we ready to sacrifice our worldly job and money if need be as our the early Anabaptist sacrificed their lives for the Kingdom of God and His will?

    These issues are not only effecting corporate workers but also private self employed business such as those bakeries who have been ran out of business etc… so no Christian who is living out their faith is immune.

    Are we ready to forsake all and follow Him ?

    Because if we take our faith seriously as you have stated in this article we should be sharing our faith every chance we get everywhere and that will bring ridicule, persecution, suffering, etc.

    Let us not deny our Lord before men…

    I bless you in your walk and encourage you to continue to evaluate your daily life for the glory of the Kingdom of God!

    Like

  2. >>The workplace is one of the most accessible places to share
    >>the gospel.

    >> We’re so busy ‘just doing our jobs’ that we neglect the
    >>Kingdom work to which we’ve been called.

    Hi Carmen. I enjoyed your article and admire your zeal to share the Faith once delivered to the saints. But I do wonder if the workplace really is an appropriate setting to lead out in sharing the Gospel.

    Can you think of some Scripture where the apostles exhort the churches to be active in sharing their faith? Are there texts you can point to that encourage personal evangelistic effort? Did Paul call upon the Corinthians or Galatians or Philippians to do the work of evangelism? Where do we find in any of the epistles an apostolic call for congregational evangelism?

    I actually don’t believe the NT places responsibility for Kingdom evangelism upon individual congregants.

    Rather, what we find in the NT is this, “Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you…(1 Peter 3:15).”

    Being ready to give a defense of your convictions when challenged to do so is much different than feeling a responsibility to initiate a Gospel conversation.

    Your thoughts?

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  3. “Can you think of some Scripture where the apostles exhort the churches to be active in sharing their faith? Are there texts you can point to that encourage personal evangelistic effort? Did Paul call upon the Corinthians or Galatians or Philippians to do the work of evangelism? Where do we find in any of the epistles an apostolic call for congregational evangelism?”

    The theme through the whole new testament is “come, and follow me”. Following or becoming disciples of Jesus our example and King. Protestant theology, on the other hand, tends to say “We follow Paul’s teaching”, so I can understand your question. But if you take the actual theme of the new covenant, following Jesus, the picture looks entirely different. “I will make you fishers of men”, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” You see a life spent living out among people, pointing them to the Kingdom. You see a life consumed with speaking into other lives.

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    1. Adisciple writes:

      >>The theme through the whole new testament is
      >>“come, and follow me”.

      >>Protestant theology, on the other hand, tends to say
      >>“We follow Paul’s teaching”,

      How can you OPPOSE “the theme [of] the whole new testament”
      to “Paul’s teaching” when Paul himself wrote almost HALF of the NT 🙂
      Paul wrote 13 of the 27 NT books!

      >>“Go and make disciples of all nations.”

      >>You see a life spent living out among people, pointing them to
      >>the Kingdom. You see a life consumed with speaking into other lives.

      Not so fast, my friend. Listen to Paul, Paul the apostle, Paul inspired by
      the Holy Spirit, Paul who wrote almost half of the entire NT:

      “But we exhort you, brethren, … to aspire to live quietly, to mind
      your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we charged you;”
      – 1 Thessalonians 4:10-11

      Does that sound like Paul expected the Thessalonians to be out there
      fulfilling the Great Commission? No, it plainly does not.

      Who then was to preach the Gospel?

      “And how can men preach unless they are sent?” Romans 10:15

      “Now in the church at Antioch….While they were worshiping the
      Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas
      and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
      – Acts 13:1-2

      Not everyone is set apart to preach the Gospel, my friend.
      Not everyone is a sent one.

      I know that’s very un-democratic, un-egalitarian, even un-American!

      But…

      It is God’s Word.

      Like

      1. Kevin,
        Thanks for your comments. I would like to kindly counter your idea that Gospel proclamation is reserved for certain “appointed ones.” The Scripture is not vague on this topic.

        First of all, let us consider the Great Commission Jesus gave to His disciples right before ascending into heaven. Matt. 28:19-20, Mark 16:15-16, Luke 24:47
        If we obey the other commands of Jesus, we cannot overlook this clear commission. Just look at how His followers responded to His clear command: “And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through accompanying signs. Amen” (Mark 16:20). May we follow suit.

        As new creations in Christ, we are His ambassadors. 2 Cor. 5:17-21 Some might say ambassadors are a select few. However, this passage is clearly talking about anyone who is in Christ (vs. 17).
        1. We are a new creation; the old has passed away (vs. 17).
        2. We are reconciled to God; therefore we have the ministry of reconciliation (vs. 18).
        3. What does that ministry look like? We are ambassadors (advocates) for Christ, pleading–imploring–that people be reconciled to God.
        4. Why do we do this ministry? Because we have become the righteousness of God through Christ! (vs. 21) This is WONDERFUL NEWS! And what do we do with AMAZING NEWS? We tell others about it!!! This Good News, the Gospel, is not reserved for a select few. It abounds in the life of every true believer.

        This Good News must shine forth from every Christian, as stated in the Sermon on the Mount.
        Jesus says, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matt. 5:14).
        One might argue that the light is not proclamation, but simply our good works shining forth. After all, that’s what verse 16 says, right? “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).
        However, when paired with Romans 10:14, we know this is not the case. Our works are not enough for the Gospel to shine into people’s lives. Listen: “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom. 10:14) Notice that one cannot believe in the Gospel without hearing. The life of Jesus only confirms this. No Christian can out-live Jesus in holiness and good works. Yet that was not enough for the Good News to transform those around Him. He needed to proclaim the Good News which explained the Good Works. Good works without the Good News will only cause people to think we are good people. And that is not going to change their lives.

        We must look at the history of the church. The book of Acts reveals lay people–not just the ordained–proclaiming the Gospel as a lifestyle. Steven was appointed to serve the widows, not as an evangelist. Yet he was martyred for proclaiming the Gospel! (Acts 6-7)
        Saul was vehemently persecuting the church, which resulted in the scattering of the church. And what happened? “Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). These were not just an elect few.
        Apollos, an eloquent man, mighty in the Scriptures, was proclaiming the word all across Asia. And he was never ordained or appointed, that we can see in Scripture (Acts 18:24-28).

        Let us now turn to the early Anabaptists. They were bold proclaimers of the Word, not just a select few, but the lay people as well. Their doctrine spread like a cancer all throughout Europe. And how did it spread? Because they believed that every believer will be a Gospel-proclaimer, not just the clergy.
        Quoting the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia: “The Anabaptists were originally intensely evangelistic. Their only hope of expansion was by this method. Since they controlled no political units as the Reformers did, they had to win others. However, the main reason for their strong evangelistic program, as Franklin H. Littell has clearly shown, was their acceptance of the Great Commission of Christ as their action program. Kenneth S. Latourette has pointed out that the Anabaptists were the only group in the Reformation period to carry out the Great Commission, and that the Free Churches have always been in the forefront of missionary and evangelistic action. The Reformers were not evangelistic (in the strict sense), partly because they adopted the principle of the territorial state church, and the principle that the ruler determines the religion of his people. Thus they were immobilized by political boundaries and the state church concept, whereas the Anabaptists had full mobility.”
        I think you would find this article very interesting: http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Evangelism

        To conclude, I want to share my vision for Anabaptists today. Let us stand up and speak out! Not just a select few who go overseas to proclaim the Gospel, but the church as a whole. Not merely an activity we do but a lifestyle we live. We are the salt of the earth, the light of the world. We have an AMAZING MESSAGE to share. Let us not be silent! May we follow both early church precedent and early Anabaptist example. May the Good News of the Gospel so grip us, that we cannot help but share it with those around us! That is my heart’s cry for us, brothers and sisters!
        Ian
        PS-If we as blog members believed that Gospel-proclamation is for a select few, Radi-Call wouldn’t exist :-). None of us are ordained clergy or appointed evangelists. We are just ordinary Christians who feel compelled to share the Good News!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. >>Mr. Ian writes:

        >>As new creations in Christ, we are His ambassadors. 2 Cor. 5:17-21.

        >>… this passage is clearly talking about anyone who is in Christ (vs. 17).

        “Clearly,” you say. All Christians are “clearly” ambassadors for Christ.

        Let’s see about that.

        All introductions to 2 Corinthians recognize that one of Paul’s signal
        purposes in writing the letter was the defense of his apostolic
        ministry against those attempting to undermine his authority.

        I will cut and paste below several paragraphs from some online
        commentary to confirm this assertion:

        ………………………………………………………………………………………………

        “[Another] problem that we should mention was the rejection of Paul’s
        authority as an apostle. This was perhaps their greatest problem. As we
        have already read in 1 Corinthians 1:12, many in Corinth downplayed Paul’s authority by choosing rival figureheads for their factions. What we have
        yet to look at is the fact that in both letters Paul also had to defend his
        apostleship against those who sought to discredit him entirely.

        For example, in 1 Corinthians 9:1-3, he wrote:

        Am I not an apostle?… Even though I may not be an apostle to others,
        surely I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
        This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me (1 Corinthians 9:1-3).

        And in 2 Corinthians 12:11-12, he insisted:

        I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to
        the “super-apostles”… The things that mark an apostle — signs, wonders and miracles — were done among you with great perseverance (2 Corinthians 12:11-12).

        Some of the Corinthians had become so full of themselves that they actually
        denied the authority of the very apostle who had converted them. And in his
        place, they looked to so-called “super-apostles” who were really not apostles
        at all.

        Paul refuted these con-men in extremely strong language…. 🙂

        http://elearning.thirdmill.org/theme/standard_thirdmill/lessons/HPT4text.html

        …………………………………………………………………………………………………….

        Now, let us trace Paul’s defense of his ministry through portions of 2 Corinthians,
        paying particular attention to his use of PRONOUNS.

        After all, we are endeavoring to understand the meaning of Paul’s use of “WE”
        and “US” in 2 Cor 5:20. Here is that text:

        “So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.”

        We begin:

        1:1 “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother.”

        1:6 “If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation;”

        The we? Paul and Timothy. The your? The Corinthians

        1:8 “For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren….”

        The we? Paul and Timothy. The you? The Corinthians

        1:18 “As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No.”

        The our? Paul and Timothy. The you? The Corinthians

        1:21 “But it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has
        commissioned us….”

        The us? Paul and Timothy. The you? The Corinthians

        2:17 “For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word; but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.”

        The we? Paul and Timothy.

        3:1 “Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you,”

        The we? Paul and Timothy. The you? The Corinthians

        3:2 “You yourselves are our letter of recommendation….”

        The you? The Corinthians. The our? Paul and Timothy

        3:3 “…you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us,”

        The you? The Corinthians. The us? Paul and Timothy

        3:5-6 “…our competence is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant…”

        The our? Paul and Timothy. The us? Paul and Timothy

        4:1-2 “Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.
        We have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways; we refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”

        The we? Paul and Timothy.

        4:8-9 “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed….”

        The we? Paul and Timothy.

        4:12 “So death is at work in us, but life in you.”

        The us? Paul and Timothy. The you? The Corinthians

        4:17 “For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison….”

        The us? Paul and Timothy

        5:11 “Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men:”

        The we? Paul and Timothy

        5:12 “We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to be proud of us….”

        The we? Paul and Timothy. The you? The Corinthians. The us? Paul & Timothy

        5:13 “For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind,
        it is for you.”

        The we? Paul and Timothy. The you? The Corinthians.

        5:18 “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;”

        The us? Paul and Timothy

        5:19 “…entrusting to us the message of reconciliation….”

        The us? Paul and Timothy

        5:20 “So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

        The we? Paul and Timothy. The us? Paul and Timothy. The you? The Corinthians.

        CONCLUSION:

        From an examination of letter as a whole, it is *CLEAR*, abundantly *CLEAR*,
        absolutely *CLEAR*, that Paul is -NOT- referring to all Christians as
        “ambassadors of Christ.” The apostle is defending his -OWN- ministry
        (along with that of Timothy) as an ambassador of Christ throughout this
        epistle. Paul’s use of PRONOUNS makes this conclusion DEFINITE,
        UNDENIABLE AND INDISPUTABLE.

        Clearly, you are wrong on this one, my friend 🙂

        Your zeal for the propagation of the Faith is admirable, Ian; but we must
        pursue the advancement of the Gospel on God’s terms and not our own,
        in God’s way and not ours.

        “Now in the church at Antioch…. While they were worshiping the
        Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas
        and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
        – Acts 13:1-2

        Not everyone is set apart to preach the Gospel, my friend.
        Not everyone is a sent one.

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  4. Ian wrote:

    >>First of all, let us consider the Great Commission….

    It is very common in Mennonite circles to assert that the Great Commission was given to all believers equally. We have all received the Great Commission, the Mennonites say; we all share the same responsibility to evangelize. That’s the Mennonite doctrine I’ve invariably encountered, in print or in person, and that’s the position you seem determined to defend, Ian.

    But does the NT actually teach that doctrine or belief? Does the NT support what you are so energetically espousing, Ian? 🙂

    No, it does not. How do we know it doesn’t?

    The Great Commission was given to the eleven Apostles in Galilee (the Twelve minus Judas). When it came time to replace Judas note what Peter says…

    “So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection (Acts 1:21-22).”

    *NOT* every disciple qualified to be a replacement for Judas. *NOT* every believer was a candidate to be a witness to Christ’s resurrection. The man who would join the eleven as a commissioned agent of the Gospel _MUST_ be one who had accompanied the Lord and the other eleven from the time of John’s baptism to the day of the Lord’s ascension. That qualification was EXCLUSIONARY. It eliminated the vast majority of believers from “this ministry and apostleship” (v25). The Great Commission, that Divine authority and responsibility to go forth to evangelize, teach and baptize in the Triune name, was not delivered to every believer. The Great Commission was delivered to EXCLUSIVELY to the Apostles.

    Furthermore, when the lot fell to Matthias what does the Word say of him?

    “…he was added to the eleven apostles (v26).”

    Matthias was added to the eleven sent ones. This was a unique, discrete and exclusive band of men. The Lord Jesus did not commission every believer to evangelize and baptize in His name. It’s simply NOT true that the Lord commissioned “everyone.”

    After Matthias took the office of Judas, the Twelve appointed and authorized others, as many as were called and qualified, to carry on the Gospel work in the Triune Name. Later, the churches that were planted assumed the authority to appoint and send Gospel workers to the same end (Act 13).

    The Mennonites are wrong on this one.

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  5. Ian writes:

    >>If we as blog members believed that Gospel-proclamation
    >>is for a select few, Radi-Call wouldn’t exist. None of us are
    >>ordained clergy or appointed evangelists.

    I believe in what you are doing at Radi-Call. And I enthusiastically encourage
    you to continue your worthwhile efforts to RETHINK matters of vital
    interest to NT Christianity.

    Here’s why:

    The Mennonite church has failed you, both the Plain kind and the Liberal kind. Neither is able to pass on to you the flaming torch of authentic NT faith and practice. In other words, the Mennonite church has apostatized. You are left with no viable option, except that of starting over again. These are extraordinary times, as were the very beginnings of Anabaptism itself, when certain ecclesiological norms may be set aside. If there were genuine NT churches out there, then we should join them and support the ministers in their calling to evangelize. But in the absence of such churches, God calls forth volunteers to RENEW his people. That’s what I see as the value and purpose of Radi-Call. You are peforming the work that ordained ministers OUGHT to be doing, but since they have abandoned their true calling for the sake of Traditions (Plain ministers) and Politics (Liberal ministers), it falls to you younger ones, awakened by the Holy Spirit, to recover the NT faith and practice.

    One clarification:

    While I believe it is demonstrable from the NT that, ORDINARILY, only those who are ordained and sent by a legitimate NT church are CHARGED with preaching with Gospel, I do not mean to imply that it is WRONG for others to share their faith. Oh my, No! Let all who desire to speak of Christ do so! Everyone is free in the Lord to share his or her faith on a personal level.

    What I oppose is CHARGING all Christians to share their faith. What I resist is placing an OBLIGATION upon all Christians to find a way to share their faith. And I oppose this because the NT epistles do NOT place this charge and obligation upon the people of God. We do not find the letters of the Apostles imploring the churches to evangelize and preach the Gospel. It’s not there. It’s just not there.

    This is what we do find:

    “Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you….” 1 Peter 3:15

    That is as far as we can go in binding the conscience of a believer, relative to witnessing and sharing the Faith. Peter doesn’t say, Go out and preach to your neighbors. The Apostle does say, Be ready to share your Hope when called upon to do so. That is the extent of a believer’s obligation in the Lord. May the believer go beyond that and initiate a Gospel conversation? Absolutely! But is he charged to initiate by the Word of God? No, he isn’t.

    Christ the Lord speaks to us through His Word. Let us be careful and earnest in fulfilling ALL that He says. But let us be equally careful not to bind the consciences of fellow believers with words unfounded in the Word.

    Keep on, Ian. I’m cheering for you 🙂

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    1. Dear readership:
      This will probably be my last comment on this article :-). I do not intend to engage in a heated debate about this issue. However, for the sake of those reading these comments, I will make one final appeal to Jesus’ clear command at the end of Matthew 28.
      I will clearly state my case: If Matthew 28:18-20 is a command for all Christians everywhere, then every Christian is responsible to make disciples.

      First, let’s look at what this passage says.
      “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”
      This command rests on Christ’s universal authority. He has conquered death and is the Commander-in-Chief of His Mission–to proclaim His rulership.

      “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…”
      Based on His universal authority, He sends out His disciples to make disciples of all “ethne”…literally, every ethnicity.
      One must note that this mission has not been completed yet. When the mission has been completed, “then the end will come” (Matt. 24:14).

      “…baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…”
      Jesus clearly outlines the mission: to recruit more followers that obey all that He has commanded, using the symbol of baptism to designate those followers.

      “…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
      Along with the command, Jesus gives a comforting promise…He is with His disciples in this important mission. No matter which country we call home, no matter which century we live in, He is with us…in this mission.
      Please take careful note…He promises His presence…always…everywhere…to those who embrace this mission.

      And what is this mission? Multiplying His disciples everywhere. Why? Because He is Ruler! Isn’t this a worthy cause to be a part of?

      This is not merely one of Jesus’ many commands. It is His overarching, eternal mission…to muster a countless multitude of faithful disciples and worshipers (Rev. 7:9-10).

      This is not a last-minute command that He gave to a select few. This is a summary of His life mission, given to all followers across all ages.

      This is not just a command, it is an invitation to join Him in what He cares about most! Hallelujah!

      But let’s be real. If you’re like me, you probably have difficulty sharing this with those around you. Why is evangelism so hard, if it’s so exciting!?

      Because evangelism is proclaiming Christ as king, which automatically proclaims Satan as dethroned. And Satan does not like that. He will make every attempt to stop this message from going out. He will implant every doubt he can in your mind so that you will keep this Good News a personal secret. He will offer you every excuse that He can to keep this message from being proclaimed in every corner on the earth.

      And it isn’t popular these days to talk about sin and a need of a Savior. Who likes to be told they are lost? Who likes to be told they must submit to Jesus as Lord? Yet this must be shared in order to get to the Good News…that they can be forgiven and set free!

      This is not a burdensome command…this is an amazing privilege to join Jesus in His mission…reconciling men to Himself. We are His voices, His ambassadors, pleading for the cause that we live and die for (2 Cor. 5:17-21). And that cause is to see our Commander-in-Chief receive what is rightfully His…the souls of men from every ethnicity, which He bought on the cross!

      If you want to relegate this command to a select few, you are giving up the privilege to walk hand-in-hand with Christ in His mission. And you are giving up His promised presence…everywhere…all the time. Unless you believe you can claim His promise without obeying the command.
      Blessings to you readers as you seek to follow Him!
      Ian

      A FEW EXTRAS
      Have you heard stories from the Martyrs Mirror? Have you read stories about brave martyrs who died for Christ? I want to give you a simple secret on how to (most-likely) escape a martyr’s death: don’t evangelize. Yes, that’s it–don’t share the Gospel with others the rest of your life, and you’ll be pretty safe from dying a martyr’s death!

      If the early church Christians would have been silent, they would have been pretty safe. If the Anabaptists would have been quiet, they would have been pretty safe. If the Chinese church would just be quiet, they would be pretty safe. If Muslim-background believers would be quiet, they would be pretty safe. If Ian is quiet about his faith, he will be pretty safe…from dying a martyr’s death.

      The fact that Christians have been giving their lives across the centuries to spread this message is quite compelling. How can Ian be silent today in “the land of the free,” when Christians have not been silent across the centuries…in the face of death?

      Also, one must remember that the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7) was given to Jesus’ disciples as well. In fact, the majority of the “red-letter” script in Matthew was addressed to His disciples–His inner group. Matt. 5-7; 10; 13:10-23; 16:24-28; 18; 19:23-20:19; 24-25

      Therefore, if the Great Commission is only for Jesus’ inner group, then one must lay aside the vast majority of Jesus’ other clear commands. And then one can no longer consider himself a true Anabaptist.

      Are you wondering how this command should affect your life?
      1. First, it starts right where you are. Get to know your neighbors. Build friendships with unsaved people. The Gospel carries most impact when backed by true, loving friendship.
      2. Next, it goes way beyond your current location. Did you know that 81% of the US population lives in an urban setting? It is about the same for Canada as well. Maybe God will call you to give up the countryside for a city…because that’s where the people are.
      It is incredible how God is using immigration and the current refugee crisis to bring the world’s unreached people groups to our doorstep!
      3. It goes way beyond North America. Most of the world’s unreached people groups live in the 10/40 window. And those who have never heard the Gospel are usually unreached for a reason…they are hard to reach. Maybe God is calling you to go…across the ocean, far, far away from everything that is familiar to you.
      But it starts, right where you are…

      Like

  6. Kevin Brendler said:
    The Mennonite church has failed you, both the Plain kind and the Liberal kind. Neither is able to pass on to you the flaming torch of authentic NT faith and practice.

    Goodness, what a sweeping generalization! What is your basis for this astounding comment? And what are you going to do to fix this, since you say all Mennonites are all the wrong tangent? Evangelize to them too?

    Like

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