And anyone, regardless of who they are, should very careful about trying to guide people to the truth that are deep in sin, lest you find that you have a weak spot during your contact with them that Satan will exploit and cause you to stumble into sin. You cross a line, however, when you go into the presence of wicked people and hold back on the truth, ignoring their sin and refusing to say anything about it, especially when their sin is actively harming people. Jesus certainly did go into the homes of sinners, but he went into homes of people who were receptive to truth, and He confronted them to convict them of sin and lead them into His kingdom, the promise of which he would fulfill later on the cross. He went into homes with fertile hearts. God is always concerned with the heart, with the intentions and motivations there.
I was personally impacted by this worldly evangelical faction when we attended a church in the late 90s in Opelika, Alabama. The pastor seemed to be doctrinally correct, but I had a real disquiet in my spirit about the man. He was one of those pastors that would brook no challenge to his authority and would run rough-shod over anyone that tried to question him. This just did not seem to be the humble character you would expect of a man of God. At one point while we attended the church, the pastor and the deacons started pushing a church-wide study program that was built around a book titled Contagious Christianity. I’m not sure who wrote this book because I tried to research it for this blog and found numerous books with those words in their title, so without examining them all, I couldn’t be sure which one was the one we used. In any case, the book we were using and its methods left me very uneasy in my spirit. The gist of it was a slick sales program built around worldly methods to get people to buy into our religion. But it seemed woefully short of truth and power. It relied on the same sales methods that one might use to push any product to customers.
The book advocated not using “churchy” words as this could be a turn-off to potential prospects. This was a red flag to me right away. There are certain words that may not be recognized among people of the world, but those words are part of our faith, so we should never apologize for them. If you water down the truth, then it is no longer truth. But what disturbed me most about this approach is that I knew from my Bible study and from witnessing programs I had been through that the Holy Spirit is central to all spiritual work. It allows them and us to understand spiritual truth; hence the churchy words are no stumbling block. Moreover, the book completely left out the leadership of the Holy Spirit in developing your Christian character so that you would always be in service to people, thus opening up the opportunities to witness. Instead, the book relied on sales tactics of constant contacts to prospective customers, treating them as objects in your sales pitch rather than human beings with feelings and needs. Also, it left out the requirement to be led by the Spirit in knowing who to witness to, when to witness to them, and what to say. We can certainly use these business methods, but there will be no power in them, and our witness will have no effect if we are not guided by the Holy Spirit who knows all things and knows when someone’s heart is fertile and what message they may need at that particular time.