…This is sure to draw a bit of controversy but I feel like it’s extremely important that I go over this as many times as needed. This is coming from someone who is a big believer in the need for more Evangelism locally, nationally and internationally. Not the Americanized made for TV stuff our elected officials subscribe to and want everyone in America to. I mean REAL Evangelism that isn’t afraid to call out foolishness and doesn’t make excuses for morally bankrupt politicians. I’ll talk about this more in a separate blog post and won’t digress further.
Getting back on topic.
Now me, I live in Boston. For those who don’t know, it’s a major city in America and is east of New York.
Over the last two years, I’ve noticed Jehovah’s Witness Missionaries with pamplet carts stationed in some of the major MBTA stations as Downtown Crossing, Copley Square, Kenmore Square and even outside Fenway Park. They’re a friendly, alert bunch who eagerly engage curious passersby who stop to see what they’re about, Bibles ready.
Here’s a picture (not in Boston):
Jehovah’s Witnesses lead all the Christian denominations in America as far as Evangelism is concerned and by a VERY large margin. No one else comes close and at times it can be intimidating because of how passionate some can be.
…Of course, this is different from what I usually see at Dudley Square and a few other transit hubs in Boston that I frequent. What I usually see are elderly women from certain Christian denominations standing next to station entrances or walking subway platforms handing out pamplets to everyone in sight.
Mind you, there are also the…let’s call them “Well-intended” Evengelists. I mean folks like this:
Yes, I’m going there. I’ve heard the guys on bullhorns in Downtown Boston a few times. It’s a full-time job for them and I’m not knocking them for what they do. What’s the problem? They’re mostly wasting their time. Their methods are not only ineffective but in the case of the second picture, it’s quite dangerous: What’s more likely to happen is they will either get people to go along with their teachings out of fear or they will chase people away.
The Gospel is Good News. Telling people they’ll burn in hell if they don’t repent, get baptized and/or go to church…that should be considered a form a terroism. Plus it’s not true. I’ll explain why in more detail in a separate blog but for now I want to refer folks to John 3:17, which reads:
I’m going to assume everyone knows the verse before it, John 3:16 (For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.). It’s extremely important for Evengelists and Missionaries that they keep John 3:17 in mind as well. The problem is too often, they cherrypick verses for shock value or to draw attention to themselves.
That sign in the earlier picture? It’s very misleading without the proper context. By itself, it’s easy for one to assume God will punish you if you don’t repent, get baptized and start going to church ASAP. That’s not how it works and that’s my point. Again, I’ll return to this in a separate blog post.
Back to the earlier topic, I’m sure many of you have had this type of encounter at home:
I’m talking about the textbook door to door evangelist. Until recently, your only way to avoid this encounter was to hopefully see them coming and tell everyone inside to make the house look like no one’s home (LOL!). More recently, one can get a home security system and just not go near the front door.
…Then again, who wants to live like that? Besides, they’re not paid to do what they do. They do it because they want to.
…Which brings us to respectfully declining Evangelists. Both those you encounter in public and those who knock on your door. I hope the wait was worth what I’m about to say. Now, I’m going to break this into a few categories depending on weather you’re a Christian, Athiest or follow another belief. This is of course assuming you’re in the U.S.
- Door to Door (Christian): Tell them your denomiation, then Recite John 3:17, then offer to pray with them. Afterward, send them on their way.
- Door to Door (Athiest): Go to the door with your smartphone. Tell them you’re exercising your 1st Amendment right to Freedom of Religion which includes Freedom FROM Religion (Yes, you can say this!). Afterward, tell them you’re not interested in what they have to say and if they don’t leave at once, they will be considered tresspassing and the police will be called (which again, you can do). If for some reason they don’t back off here then take out your phone and take a picture before making the call. You can file a complaint against their church. The officer who arrives will explain the process.
- Door to Door (Other Faith): Tell them you are <Insert Faith Here>. Unless you are genuinely interested in hearing them out, tell them you’re not interested in what they have to say. If they don’t back off, tell them they will be considered tresspassing and the police will be notified.
- Approached in Public (Christian): Tell them your denomination, then recite John 3:17, then offer to pray with them. Afterward, go about the rest of your day.
- Approached in Public (Athiest): Politely tell them you’re not interested in what they have to say and walk away. If they make a rude comment or say something to get a reaction out of you, ignore them and walk away without looking back. If they persist and follow you, take out your phone and tell them you don’t feel safe and you WILL call the police if they don’t leave you alone. Then follow through with it.
- Approached in Public (Other Faith): Tell them you are <Insert Faith Here>. Unless you are genuinely interested in hearing them out, tell them you’re not interested in what they have to say and walk away. If they make a rude comment or say something to get a reaction out of you, ignore them and walk away without looking back.
…Why such a strong rebuke? Because with some Evangelists, they won’t take no for an answer the first time (ie. Jehovah’s Witness and Jesuit Evangelists). Some of you might be thinking “Why would you tell non-believers they don’t need God?” about now. I’m not. I’m simply telling them they ARE protected by the laws of this country. It works both ways and that’s my point.
See, this is something many Christians in America want special treatment over. They want to force their definition of Christianity on others and feel anyone who disagrees with them is either wrong or shouldn’t be allowed to live in this country. Like I said before, Freedom of Relgion works both ways, Yes, you are protected if you practice a particular faith but you are ALSO protected if you don’t practice ANY faith.
That, my friends is the point of this post.
I resisted the urge to go off topic on more than a few occasions. The other threads I touched on will certainly be covered in separate posts in time.