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« Jesus Didn't Mince Words | Main | Christian Public Service »

January 29, 2008

Comments

Good post Melinda. I have a couple of good buddies that I work with that are atheists... in a very studied, academic, ready-to-give-answers-of-their-own sense. Being around these guys and talking with them has turned out to be quite providential for me in that I read and study the Bible and other supplementary resources much more now that I have someone to challenge me than I did before.

I also agree with your notion that trust built through friendship is probably just as valuable if not moreso than a strong argument.

I understand what is being said but why does this rub me the wrong way to a certain extent?

I am surrounded 5 days a week with unbelievers at work. I write a blog defending the faith which causes me to dialog with unbelievers everyday. I have relatives that are unbelievers who I gather with at family events throughout the year. I go out on the road with my sisters ministry to bmx events to do ministry for the lost.

Why do I have to have close friends as unbelievers? I keep trying to see examples of where Jesus taught this principal in the bible? Am I missing something?

Are there any relationships that Jesus or Paul had that mirrored what is being addressed? I want friends who edify the body, edify God and edify one another. Is this selfish on my part?

By the way I was not at the event to hear the things being said so again I could be way off base.

Living proof of a loving God to a watching world.

Jesus did eat and drink with sinners. He also said that one of the twelve was a devil.
I thing there are plenty of examples of "being in the world but not of it" in scripture. We are the salt of the earth and if the salt has lost it's savor, it is good for nothing.
I don't think a recovering alcoholic sould go to a bar, God gives us wisdom and discernment in how we should minister. I have friends that I love very much that are not believers (yet). If i dump them how would Christ look to them? My two cents.

Great points Wes. Before I became a Christian nearly all my close friends were far from being Christian. I tried to remain friends with them after becoming a Christian thinking I could influence them. Instead I found them influencing me more so. I knew if I stayed close friends with those non Christians it would only hinder my walk and testimony as a Christian. That is not to say you can't be friendly with non Christians and interact with them but to be really close and hanging out on weekends could end up in disaster from my experience.

Also, how are we to look at this in light of verses such as:

2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

1 Corinthians 5:9-13 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. 12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

Hey Wes,

This is Dan. I was not suggesting we exclusively hang out with non-Christians as we need Christian community, prayer, encouragement etc. The majority of our closest friends most likely will be Christians. But what I was suggesting is that in our culture, becoming a friend of someone outside the church to where trust is built, stories shared, lives are explored - happens when you intentionally are spending time with someone.


That is when people outside the church actually see how we respond to things, see and know our families, and trust is built so when talking about our faith it happens so much more naturally. When you are a friend with someone, they do ask questions about why you believe what you do.

Ministry where you go somewhere and then leave - is a lot different than truly getting to know someone and their thoughts, hearts etc.

I rasied that it is ironic that as the Spirit shapes and changes us through time and we become more salty and light and we mature in our faith - the primary people who experience the salt and light are the already Christians.

So, I was suggesting what one or two people do we build true friendships with as any missionary would.

Hope that makes sense!

It is true that having non-believers in your life can be a good opportunity for witnessing. But as someone who became a Christian after I was already married to an atheist, it isn't easy.
There are areas in my Christian life that are weak. My husband, , doesn't see a problem with doing the very things I try not to do right in front of me.
Have you ever tried NOT to do something that is constantly being done right in front of you?

This idea should have it's limits: For example if you are a recovering alcoholic do not hang out with people who drink like fish. And certainly don't get into a situation like mine, and have obligations to someone who doesn't share your moral compass.

But it does have it's rewards, when I first became a Christian 13 years ago my husband was a flaming atheist, I was convinced our marriage would soon be over.
Now he is allot more friendly to Christianity in general, and on some days he is an agnostic.


If we can make friends with nonbelievers simply with normal,day-to-day interaction, then I believe we should do so instead of being "official" with them and kind of holding ourselves back.

If however it involves anything compromizing, like C.S. Lewis said, being silent when we ought to speak and laughing when we
ought to be silent, then it is too great a price to pay.

Too many Christians I've rubbed shoulders with over the last 3 decades would have to clean up their act before they could make a lasting spiritual impression on those who haven't accepted Christ as Saviour.

It's a big responsibility and challenge to be a consistently good example. And human nature does what it does anyway despite best intentions.

Someone once likened a Christian to a cup that gets knocked every now and then - so what spills out? Christ-likeness? Will unbelievers understand if it isn't?

Not a chance.

Hi Wanda and others..

Yes, I fully agree with someone who may have areas of weakness to not be put in places of vulnerablity. At least for me, I find that meeting for coffee to talk, going to a concert etc. is not something that puts you in a bad place. It is nothing more than hanging out with Christian friends in the sense of going to movies etc.


It is true also, as someone said that being a bad example is not good. That is why if we see ourselves as missionaries we would be compelled to understand that so much more and not be complacent with our own walks with God.

Thank you for the discussion here, very enjoyable to interact with you.

Remember,

That we are called out to be the light of this dark-world, not to light our life.

That were called out to be the salt of this world, not to salt our life

To much salt, make us as dried fish

To much light, make us blind, can't see if there were so many lost peoples around us

Go light the world, not just our exclusive world

I think some good points have been made here, but I have another wrinkle of thought to add.

I have found that in spite of being pretty introverted, that I have come across two or three unbelievers, that despite their ways of life that I did not share, we shared a mutual self interest. For whatever reason, we got along and respected each others different points of views. And even though I did not go out and drink with them or I did not laugh when they told filthy kokes or what not, they knew where I stood and in the areas we agreed we had a lot of fun. Even more than that, having good times with them opened up times to share with them a little about my beliefs and they really gave them a lot of thought.

So all I am trying to say is that maybe we are not called to go searching for non-believer friends, but to make the most of those few encounters where we really "click" with people who do not hold our beliefs. By interacting with them and sharing what we can, they get to see that we are not just some insane converting machines with little substance or care for them other than notching our belt, but instead are people who care, who follow what we believe and that we actually take an interest in their lives.

To me that is far more fruitful and is conducive to better "seed laying" than a lot of evangelistic models I have known, at least for me.

Wanda: "Now he is allot more friendly to Christianity in general, and on some days he is an agnostic."

Keep it up! Maybe in future on some days he'll be a Christian. :)

[quote Brad]

"So all I am trying to say is that maybe we are not called to go searching for non-believer friends, but to make the most of those few encounters where we really "click" with people who do not hold our beliefs. By interacting with them and sharing what we can, they get to see that we are not just some insane converting machines with little substance or care for them other than notching our belt, but instead are people who care, who follow what we believe and that we actually take an interest in their lives."

[ end of quote]
Agree with you, at this point, we show who we are as a light as a salt, as Jesus' pupils.

By that, they will know that who we are, is.

This is an entry point

The rest is , Jesus will give us direction, or maybe Jesus just touch them directly

As we understand this concept of developing relationships to "embody the Gospel" to "attract them to the truth," how do we understand the role God plays in this scenario? How much are we practically and actually looking to and relying on ourselves to "convert" others?

Mark

As a preacher's kid who was raised with extreme amounts of legalism, hypocrisy, and religious abuse, I appreciate all that was said above. I also have much to comment. Too much. Those interested should check out an article I wrote called, "Churchianity ~ a rant." It is available on my blog/website, http://www.thewordslinger.com/

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