Ethical issues of evangelism

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Ethical issues of evangelism

Postby Petros » Sun May 04, 2014 8:59 am

Let's say this goes here. Not going to try to turn this into a formal poll, but interested in opinions

I quite understand, naturally, that if the Spirit clearly says Go or Stay or Speak or Be silent one's course of action is clear, whatever other principles may apply. But, that said, is it as a rulre appropriate to toss out a piece of evangelistic suasion [eg "The dear departed would be truly happy if all of you loved ones were saved", at the funeral yesterday that prompted this question], with or without altar call, in the context of

A. a funeral

B. a wedding [I was not for obvious reasons in a position to pay attention and critique the process, but I THINK I remember it happening at ours]

C. an entertainment [Christmas play inviting neighbour children, public lecture inviting interested neighbours, performance by Christian rockers, etc.

I am myself inclined to think it can depend on the leader's style. In the particular case of yesterday's funeral [sudden death of Herself's aunt, funeral announced with barely enough time to get there driving 5+ miles each way], we felt that it was not well handled. A bit contrived and gauche.
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Re: Ethical issues of evangelism

Postby Ramblinman » Sun May 04, 2014 9:41 am

In the life of a strong Christian, a simple synopsis of their life and faith should suffice for those who didn't know her well. Those who already knew this aunt should be quite familiar with her desire that her loved ones become heirs to salvation.

If the Holy Spirit motivates someone to privately meet with the pastor afterward to inquire about his soul, so be it, but most folks are there to grieve the loss or help others grieve. The love of Christ should lead us to focus on the task at hand.
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Re: Ethical issues of evangelism

Postby jochanaan » Sun May 04, 2014 10:50 am

I agree with you both. Turning an occasion of grieving or celebrating into something it wasn't meant to be is a little (a little, mind you) like the Westboro Baptist Church picketing military funerals for a mostly-unrelated issue. On the other hand, the door is always open, or should be in our churches, if someone needs to talk about how to begin following Jesus...
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Re: Ethical issues of evangelism

Postby bn2bnude » Sun May 04, 2014 11:13 am

Let me add to the agreement here.

From the pastor's point of view, however, it's quote easy to take advantage of the "life after death" doubts that death does bring....
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Re: Ethical issues of evangelism

Postby Petros » Sun May 04, 2014 2:25 pm

That was basically my sense - Aunt Mae'l life and character are quite enough of a message by themselves. I feel the officiant was sincere and well - intentioned - clearly a close relationship and at one point she was moved to tears. But I have to think ill advised.
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Re: Ethical issues of evangelism

Postby natman » Sun May 04, 2014 3:24 pm

The Apostle Paul used the concern for those who had already departed to preach about life, death and the Resurrection. If it was good enough for Paul, I think it would be good enough for us.

For many, the only time they even stop to consider the after-life is after the life of someone close. It is an EXCELLENT time to plant a seed.
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Re: Ethical issues of evangelism

Postby Ramblinman » Sun May 04, 2014 10:57 pm

natman wrote:The Apostle Paul used the concern for those who had already departed to preach about life, death and the Resurrection. If it was good enough for Paul, I think it would be good enough for us.

For many, the only time they even stop to consider the after-life is after the life of someone close. It is an EXCELLENT time to plant a seed.


I am definitely evangelical; I do not insist that people come to me every time before I share my faith. I just believe that when it comes to those in deepest mourning in a funeral service, may need a bit of comforting before we start in a plan of salvation and altar call.

I know of no examples where Paul preached the gospel at funerals, but I am aware of two instances where Jesus confronted mourners at funerals. In these cases, he then raised the dead, but they didn't know that he would. They were in deep mourning.

The approach Jesus took sounds very different from what Petros heard coming from that preacher.
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Re: Ethical issues of evangelism

Postby jochanaan » Sun May 04, 2014 11:53 pm

I can still remember Billy Graham's talk during the 9/11 memorial at the National Cathedral. I can't remember the actual words he used (there's probably a recording somewhere), but in ten minutes he comforted a grieving nation, saying exactly the words needed in the circumstances, AND gave a complete gospel presentation, again, using just exactly the right words that would not offend but draw folks into Jesus' love! I was amazed anew, even though I've been to two Graham crusades (1979 or '80, Kansas City, and 1986, Denver). Billy Graham is one who does (did) it right, and does it every time.
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Re: Ethical issues of evangelism

Postby ezduzit » Mon May 05, 2014 7:09 am

jochanaan wrote:I agree with you both. Turning an occasion of grieving or celebrating into something it wasn't meant to be is a little (a little, mind you) like the Westboro Baptist Church picketing military funerals for a mostly-unrelated issue. On the other hand, the door is always open, or should be in our churches, if someone needs to talk about how to begin following Jesus...


I find this very offense ! many Christians desire to see their loved ones in heaven with them and request a "gospel message" to be presented at their funeral. To liken this to the acts / deeds done by Westboro is atrocious .
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Re: Ethical issues of evangelism

Postby natman » Mon May 05, 2014 7:47 am

Ramblinman wrote:I know of no examples where Paul preached the gospel at funerals,


I did not say that "Paul preached at funerals", however he did discuss the concerns of his congregation about those who had died before them in 1 Thess 4.

Ramblinman wrote:... but I am aware of two instances where Jesus confronted mourners at funerals. In these cases, he then raised the dead, but they didn't know that he would. They were in deep mourning. The approach Jesus took sounds very different from what Petros heard coming from that preacher.


In comforting Martha at the death of Lazarus, Jesus gave her the Gospel message, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?" and, "Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?"
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Re: Ethical issues of evangelism

Postby Petros » Mon May 05, 2014 9:19 am

ezduzit -

had there been any indication that her aunt called for such a presentation one would not have been bothered. Indeed, traditional burial services are full of gospel messages - I am the resurrection and the life - in ways that today's "celebrations of life" are sadly lacking - at a funeral there is only one life we should be celebrating, and that is the one that begins at bodily death.

As for Westboro - where on the scale from tactless - inconsiderate - rude - obnoxious does one start being offended?
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Re: Ethical issues of evangelism

Postby jochanaan » Mon May 05, 2014 11:59 am

ezduzit wrote:
jochanaan wrote:I agree with you both. Turning an occasion of grieving or celebrating into something it wasn't meant to be is a little (a little, mind you) like the Westboro Baptist Church picketing military funerals for a mostly-unrelated issue. On the other hand, the door is always open, or should be in our churches, if someone needs to talk about how to begin following Jesus...


I find this very offense ! many Christians desire to see their loved ones in heaven with them and request a "gospel message" to be presented at their funeral. To liken this to the acts / deeds done by Westboro is atrocious .
Ez
Mind you, I said "a little like..."! No offense intended, but I take your point. :)
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Re: Ethical issues of evangelism

Postby prairieboy » Wed May 07, 2014 10:55 pm

My pastor always does a gospel message at a funeral, with the family's blessing. However, he has the love of God at work in him. When you are reaching out in love, people can be offended, but they have to choose to be offended.
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Re: Ethical issues of evangelism

Postby Petros » Thu May 08, 2014 1:24 am

"When you are reaching out in love"
True enough, you cannot stop people from being offended, and trying to avoid all offense is one of the best ways to cAuse offense.

In this case, I do not know that anyone was offended. My personal uneasiness stems from her style. Two people can use the same words, and for the one it will be a heartfelt concern for the one addressed; for the other it may be an empty formality. In this case - rightly or wrongly, I felt it came across a tad formulaic.
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Re: Ethical issues of evangelism

Postby ezduzit » Thu May 08, 2014 6:51 am

prairieboy wrote:My pastor always does a gospel message at a funeral, with the family's blessing. However, he has the love of God at work in him. When you are reaching out in love, people can be offended, but they have to choose to be offended.



The Bible does mention "the offence of the cross" and IMO uses the "rock of offence" to reference Christ , the cross and salvation thru Jesus Christ and His finished work for us.
We should in no way preach a "in your face type of message ie one that clearly shows a lack of love at any time , but as you stated and I agree MANY prefer to take offence to our message. (Galatians 4:16 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?)
I commend your pastor for his actions / message . :!:
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