Why I Stopped Listening to Francis

As a Christian when the topic of evangelism comes up what does that mean? In my experience, people usually end up with one basic assumption about sharing their faith.

“All you have to do is live a good life and it’ll speak for itself.” ~ average church goer

First of all, it’s quite a jump to assume that anybody can actually live a good life, don’t you think?

I mean, check out Romans 3:10-11:

10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.

If that doesn’t convince you, a man comes up to Jesus in Mark 10 and says,

“Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. (Mark 10:17-18, NIV)

Not only is Jesus claiming to be God here, but he’s making it really clear that nobody is good except for him!

Any who, this is the side-show to the main event here, so let’s step on up to the plate here and get to it.

Let’s assume that when camp 2 says, “Good life” they just mean if you live a visible, godly life, then people will, just by watching you, understand everything they need to know about God.

Ok. Let’s follow it down this rabbit hole.

Let’s say someone puts a Mormon, a Christian, and a Muslim together and tells you to follow each one around for a week. Each goes to a place every week and sits among like-minded folks, each person prays, and each person treats you with respect. Each loves his family, is honest with his money, and is basically a nice person. So which God do you pick based on just watching their life? Who’s right? How do you know? What do you compare unless they tell you why they do what they do? Therefore, hither unto, talking, it seems, becomes critical.

No doubt nature reveals a lot about God, but, how do you know exactly what He requires of you? How do you know who He really is and what His ultimate plan is without some kind of specific revelation from Him? I mean, how could you know if your mom wanted you paint the left wall of the garage red if it wasn’t specifically communicated to you in some way, usually by writing a note or speaking to you?

So then, what did God deem the best way to communicate the specifics He wanted us to understand? Did He sent porpoises to do a modern interpretive dance to a Red Hot Chili Peppers Song? Did He write a cool message out of clouds?

No.

To communicate precisely God spoke, He wrote a note.

How would we know that God created the heavens and the earth in six days, or that Adam and Eve were created in a perfect world, but their rebellion brought sin and death into the world? Or that it’s the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ that saves us? How would you know that Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected from the grave?

How would you know any detail about God’s plain if nobody told you? You wouldn’t. You couldn’t. And that’s why you’ve gotta tell people things.

You just can’t hope people will catch on by watching you live a so-called good life; it’s just not enough. Ultimately you’ve gotta tell them why you live that way!

But don’t just take my word for it – let’s look at Romans 10:

But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? (Rom. 10:14, MSG)

So this idea about just having to live a good life to reach people…is has now been officially de-bunked.

So we have to tell people about Jesus.  We also have to “live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”

It’s camp one.

I used to be a big proponent of the quote by Francis of Assisi,

“Preach the gospel at all times.  Use words if necessary.”

But I’ve learned through rough and hard experience this one thing: Words are always necessary.

So go – use your words.  Tell your story.  Change the world in Jesus’ name.

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