Monday, August 30, 2010


Many of you remember when we added "Cludging" to the Roaring Shepherd dictionary of terms.    The time has come to add another word.  Let the lexical entrepreneurship begin!.  

Evangeveto (verb) 
--To forbid the evangelistic endeavors of another: The man evangevetoed the gospel presentation.
--To hinder or stop the evangelistic efforts of another: You shouldn't evangeveto evangevultures

Evangevetoer (noun)
--One who evangevetoes: The evangevetoer told the evangelist to quit feeding the hungry.  

Recently, I received the most affirming accusation of my life.  In what I thought was an unrelated discussion, someone told me that our church is too evangelistic!  That's right.  Too evangelistic.  Open Door has been evangevetoed.   I was taken aback.

I did my best to explain what I thought was obvious about Jesus' command to spread the gospel (Matthew 28:19-20).  I even tried to argue that we haven't been as effective as we need to be in the "soul-winning" department, but to no avail.  Flat disagreement.  It was like asking a baptist to speak in tongues.

I can hardly imagine someone not wanting to do everything possible to make sure that as many people as possible are given the opportunity to have the relationship with God they were created for.  Isn't that why we are here?  My initial response to the comment came before I had the time to react.  That's good news.  Had I been given the time to think about it, my responses would have been cutting.  So, here is what I'm glad I didn't say:

"I am so glad that this grave error has been brought to my attention.  Apparently we have exceeded our quota for redeemed souls and must now 'throw some back'.  I will not begin the process of deciding who we will go about revoking Kingdom of Heaven citizenship from.  Would you like to go first?"  

"Perhaps we should protest evangelism and all outreach, especially to the poor.  There's already a chant for that: Us four! No more!  Close the door! (This even works to contrast the name of our church.)"

"Did hell start an affirmative action initiative?" 

"We should probably give out evangelism hunting tags and have a limited season.  Maybe we could break up the season like with deer.  We could have tract season, street preaching season, relational season, etc.  We have to keep up the population of lost souls so that we can keep the sport going."  

"When exactly did we become too evangelistic?  Was it when we obeyed Matthew 25:31-46 by giving food to the hungry or when we obeyed James 1:27 when we helped children and single parents at the Family Fair?"

As I think of all these slice and dice responses, I'm struck by how much easier it is to come up with clever jabs than it is to speak the truth simply and plainly.  I can be funny.  I can be cruel.  Often, I can do both at the same time.  How painfully ironic that cruelty come out in my defense of evangelism.  Isn't that like "purity by way of fornication"? (Derek Webb Quote)

I think it would do me well to spend less time thinking of the best clever response and more time considering the character of Christ in such matters.  I've also included a few good quotes from Jesus:

Matthew 5:3-9
 3"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
      for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 4Blessed are those who mourn,
      for they will be comforted.
 5Blessed are the meek,
      for they will inherit the earth.
 6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
      for they will be filled.
 7Blessed are the merciful,
      for they will be shown mercy.
 8Blessed are the pure in heart,
      for they will see God.
 9Blessed are the peacemakers,
      for they will be called sons of God. 

When it's between Jesus' perfect law of love and my sarcastic slices, Jesus wins every time.  

Help me out.  Can you think of a specific time when someone tried to discourage Jesus from sharing the good news?  What did he do? (I am really asking)

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