Witnessing for Christ

Updated 9/26/98

This article is mainly intended to address the concern some Christians have about my approach and content of information I use at my web page.  I encourage non-Christians to read it also if they would like, since I do not want to hide from anyone my goals regarding this site.  My hope is that ALL the information I give at my web site will help and not hinder ANYONE in their quest in finding out what the truth is.

There is an assumption by many Christians that my web site's main purpose should be to "preach the gospel."  The Bible does command Christians to "make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19), and to "preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15).  We are to "preach the word in season and out of season" (2 Timothy 4:2).  We are commanded to "always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you" (1 Peter 3:15).  It seems clear that since I consider myself a Christian, I should make my main purpose here and everywhere to "preach the gospel."  What is the Gospel? It is basically the good news that Christ died for our sins, that He was buried, that He rose from the dead three days later, and that He was seen by more than 500 people after He rose from the dead.  Throughout the ages, people treated this strange belief of a person rising from the dead as crazy talk.  Today, it is considered by many as a crazier idea than the idea of aliens from other planets buzzing all around the Earth, and abducting people.  My question regarding this is: are "unbelievers" really ready to hear the "crazy" gospel that we believe in?  I do not think most are ready.  If this is the case, is there something we should do to help prepare them to be ready?

I believe that we can find the answer by looking at some Bible examples of what a "witness" ought to be. The concept of a witness in the Bible is clearly used as a legal term in a court of law.  A witness was used to confirm or deny whether or not something had happened.  In Deuteronomy 19:15-21, we find out that if a witness was found to be lying about his testimony regarding a crime supposedly done by another, then the witness would have to pay the penalty that the accused was facing, even if it meant death.  The threat of death or other punishment helps keep witnesses honest.  This is one of the biggest reasons I personally believe in the gospel testimony of the Apostles: they were willing to DIE for their belief that they saw Christ risen from the dead.  If Christ really did not rise from the dead, I would think that the Apostles of all people would have known it.  Many people are willing to die for false beliefs, such as with the Heaven's Gate UFO  "cult."  This is because they truly believed there was a UFO waiting near comet Hale Bopp to pick them up.  If the apostle's knew that their Messiah never rose from the dead, I would have great trouble believing that they would be willing to die for such a known lie, especially when Christ told them that He would rise from the dead after three days. By the way, there WAS some unusual objects seen right next to comet Hale-Bopp in some pictures (see links to Shramek's or Goodwin's site for them). The testimony of a martyr is significant, whether they are apostles in the Bible, patriots, or even UFO "cult" people.  Let's not quickly write off everything they had to say before they died, since they were willing to back up their beliefs with their own lives.

(Updated 9/26/98) More specifically, look at how believers in the Bible (including Christ) "witnessed" to unbelievers.  The Apostle Paul in Acts 17:16-34, is witnessing (I will interject observations like this in the following quote): "Now while Paul awaited them (Silas and Timothy) at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols.  Therefore he REASONED (used formal logical argumentation, not just shared "feelings") in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace DAILY with those who happened to be there (do you think he repeated the same exact words or method each time he preached?  I doubt it).  Then certain Epicurean and Stoic PHILOSOPHERS (when was the last time your words interested a trained philosopher?) encountered him.  And some said, 'What does this babbler want to say (some thought he was crazy in spite of his good use of logic)?'  Others said, 'He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods,' because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection (Resurrection was a foreign concept to them, which helps explain their tendency here to be closed-minded).  And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus and said, 'Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious (Paul did not immediately hit them over the head with the gospel.  He starts with where they currently are in their beliefs); for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship (what's he doing walking through such a "sinful" place), I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD (Paul begins to take advantage of what they do know about God so far).  Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands (he is teaching them about another foreign concept, since they believed their gods were not above the laws of nature).  Nor is He worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things (One God doing ALL this was unheard of to them.  They are getting a clearer picture of how the God of the Bible was different from their understanding of any other god).  And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; (Wow, did Paul have to really get that deep with them.  Most pastors won't even teach to that depth from today's pulpits to BELIEVERS!) for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring' (Some Christians think that it is not good to read unbelievers writings, let alone quote from it like Paul just did).  Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man's devising (Paul logically concludes that the idols that they worshipped have nothing to do with the true God). Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent (since Paul has logically destroyed their foundational belief system, he can now finally ask them to "repent" or turn away from the false gods), because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained (he  gave them the logical reason to repent), He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead" (Paul then presents the first bit of evidence to back up his word.  Paul at that point ends his "witnessing" session. Some unbelievers who  heard that day's message may never hear more of the gospel ever again.  Paul is not worried.  He knows that God is in charge, and that He will provide the witness they need to hear from later, if they are open to it).  And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, 'We will hear you again on this matter' (Paul did better than most Christians.  He got some interested enough to listen to him speak at another time.  We don't see Paul uptight about having to share the rest of the gospel to them all at once.  He can trust God and wait for the next opportunity God provides him).  Paul tells us to "imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ" (I Cor 11:1), so let's get less uptight while we are "planting the seeds" during our witnessing.  As with farming, time is required between "sowing and reaping."  Christians usually try to make heroes out of the "evangelists" who get to do the relatively easy job of "reaping."  If someone accepts Christ right after your witnessing, it most likely was due to "sowing" by other Christians before your witness.  The real heroes who witness for Christ are usually not known to us (at least not in this life).   Now, let's see how Christ "witnessed" about Himself.

Jesus rarely made it easy for the crowds around Him to understand His words.  His words were nearly always in a language of riddles, otherwise known as parables.  He would say things that we take for granted now, but sounded very strange to unbelievers ears at the time, such as "you must be born again" (we really have lost touch with how weird that statement was originally taken, "cut off your right arm if it offends you" (the Heaven's Gate "cult" really took that parable literally in a way), "whoever eats my flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life" (the Catholics believe this LITERALLY happens during Mass), "sell all that you have, and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven" ( I don't hear that preached to too many unbelievers to get them converted), "destroy this temple, and I will raise it up in three days" (Jesus said this right in front of the Jewish temple.  Don't you think some might have thought He was talking about the building, not Himself?  Was Jesus being a careless witness of Himself?), "he who drinks of the water I give him will never thirst" (Christians have also heard that one too much to be amazed by the statement), "I am the bread of life" (have the Catholics thought about including eating bread and drinking water during Mass to be more complete?).  Yes, it was foretold that Jesus would speak in parables, but I doubt that He would do that if this witnessing method was ineffective.  It is obvious by looking at His sermons that He rarely explained anything regarding the specific Gospel message.  When He taught about it clearly, it was to His disciples in private.  Otherwise, He spoke about it in parables, and it was in terms of "the gospel of the kingdom."  Many Christians today find it difficult to fully understand those parables.  How much more difficult was it for the audiences who first heard them?   Check out more of my thoughts about how important parables are here.

Upon review, what are some of the observations regarding "witnessing" that I can make?  We are to use logical reason, as opposed to just sharing our feelings about Christ.  We prepare ourselves to be ready to witness to ANYBODY, which implies the need to understand other points of view, which requires us to truly LISTEN as well as talk.  Good witnessing causes some unbelievers to actually INVITE you to tell them more.  It is not wise to always begin your witnessing by presenting the Gospel. It is OK to not always explain the Gospel at the end of each conversation you have.  Application for pastors: it's OK to not have an "altar call" at the end of each service (40 stanzas of singing "Just as I Am" gets old for anyone real quick).  As always, we must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading, yet at the same time use our heads that God gave us.  We must also realize that the Holy Spirit may ask us to say something that will seem illogical at the time.  Then we must obey, in spite of what our minds say.  Unfortunately, most Christians get Christian peer pressure and their own feelings mixed up with what they are hearing from the Holy Spirit.  All of us are susceptible to such confusion, so we must be diligent in our daily walk.

(Updated 9/26/98) It is OK to get together and eat and drink with "sinful" unbelievers (remember that Jesus many times ate and drank with "sinners and tax collectors" which disgusted the religious leaders).  We cannot expect the unbelievers to come to usWe must go to them.  Hopefully, that is exactly what my web page is in effect doing.  This does not mean we are to participate with unbelievers in sinful activities, or place ourselves into unnecessary temptation.  We are not to become gluttons, drunks, drug abusers, or participate in a number of other things the Bible considers wrong.  Many Christians hold to the false notion that it is sinful to be friends to unbelievers and "hang out" with them.  They believe that we should live in a monastery kind of world, where they avoid anything that is "secular" or has anything to do with unbelievers.  Many Christians and non-Christians do not realize that there is no such thing as "secular" subjects.  If there truly were "secular" things, then that would mean that God has no say regarding such subjects, and thus they would not be within His rule and authority.  For most Christians, their only real contact with unbelievers is doing what I call "hit and run" witnessing.  They typically use the same exact words for everyone, preached as a monologue.  If the unbeliever gets a chance to speak, the Christian only uses it as time to plan on what they will say next instead of truly listening.  This method leaves no room for the Holy Spirit's leading.  I should know.  I have regretfully done "hit and run" witnessing many times in the past.  To be effective witnesses, we need to be willing to associate with unbelievers more than we typically do.  We need to make real connections with them, so that they can not just hear our words, but also see that our lives live up to our words in practice.  They need to see what they have in common with us (more than we usually want to admit), and what is truly different.  This also means that we will have to truly be walking with God in both word and deed.  On top of all of this, if we hold to the belief that it is sinful to go to certain places (such as to a "bar"), then we do NOT go, regardless of whether or not the Bible gives us liberty to go there.  "Whatever is not of faith is SIN" (Romans 14:23).  You have NOT done your job as a witness for Christ by simply inviting an unbeliever to your church and then hope that the pastor converts them.  The church was not mainly meant to be a place for unbelievers to be witnessed to.  The church was meant to be the place where believers are equipped to do the work of the ministry.  It is also not mainly a place for you to get your ears tickled and entertained (Eph. 4:11-13; 2 Tim. 4:3).   We need to START our witnessing where the audience is, both physically and mentally.  This usually requires something called "pre-evangelism."

Pre-evangelism is what is needed to be done BEFORE the Gospel is ever shared, otherwise, the Gospel WILL NOT be properly understood, unless the unbeliever has already received enough pre-evangelism (seeds) elsewhere.  Today, since so many unbelievers THINK they understand the Gospel when they do not, it is therefore MUCH MORE necessary to spend extra effort in discussing pre-evangelistic matter.  For example, how do you convince someone that they need to be "saved?"  They probably don't even know WHAT they need to be saved FROM, or that they need saving.  Most Christians seem to barely know the surface of what it means to be "saved."  How do you convince someone that God exists when they think evolution has "explained" away foundational Bible figures like Adam and Eve, and the need for a God to exist.  How do you explain to someone that Christ is going to destroy the heavens and the earth when they believe that there are countless alien races on countless planets throughout the universe, and the unbeliever presents YOU evidence of UFO's that seems more tangible than your "evidence" for Christ?  Anyone who does at least a moderate amount of witnessing finds out quickly that those they witness to have quite often a fairly well thought out belief system contrary to the Bible.  The wise witness will learn generally to keep his/her mouth shut and learn more about their belief system before they force an unapplicable set of arguments onto such people (unless the Holy Spirit says otherwise).  This does not mean that God will not sometimes lead us to say something that is beyond our knowledge.  But typically, the Holy Spirit mainly uses the information that we have previously learned, and what the unbeliever says about their beliefs.  Otherwise, there would be no need for pastors to go to seminary, or missionaries having to struggle learning foreign languages.  Even in the Old Testament, prophets seemed to have to go to school to learn how to properly use their gift (2nd Kings 2:5).  Many times have I heard Christians too quickly label certain unbelievers as "hopeless."  If our beliefs are true, one would think that we have very good reason to study MORE than any unbeliever to be effective witnesses.  This does not mean that we do not try and witness with what knowledge and abilities we currently have.  We get out there and do our best.

(Added 9/25/98) Also, we must try to be perceptive enough though the Holy Spirit and in our own thinking to recognize when an unbeliever is simply trying to use certain "pre-evangelism" conversation topics as a smoke-screen diversion to avoid the real reasons why they are rejecting Christ.  This became very clear to me once while I was witnessing to an atheist many years ago.  During our conversation, I seemed  unable to get the subject beyond some cliched arguments.  Suddenly, I asked her a question that came to my mind:  is it possible that the reason you reject God is not because of "scientific" reasons, but because you felt that God allowed something bad to happen to you?  My question helped change this atheist into an agnostic.  Please realize that each person is different, with different specific needs and questions, so this probably would not work with every atheist at all times.  She was just ready for whatever reason to accept the question I asked at that time.  I found out later that others had planted seeds before me with her.  Hopefully, another was able to "reap" salvation in her life later.

Continuing our review of the "witness" of Paul and Jesus: It is important to make sure you and the person you witness clearly define ALL terms used.  What you think the word "God" means probably won't exactly match up with an unbeliever's definition.  A lot of "cults" (including the Heaven's Gate one) and the rest of society has borrowed many Bible terms, but gave them new definitions.  It is OK to get into discussing "deeper" subjects, as long as you and your audience have a good idea what both sides are specifically talking about.  Unfortunately, many Christians end up avoiding learning about the "deeper" subjects unbelievers talk about, and avoid trying to find answers to the harder questions.   Obviously, nobody except God has ALL of the answers. Regardless, it is more honest to say "I don't know" to hard questions, than to try and discourage the unbeliever to ask tough questions or try and change the subject.  Don't try to fake or exaggerate your testimony either (something I have been guilty in the past of also).

It is OK to read, watch, or listen to non-Christian material, as long as it does not cause you to sin.  This does not mean that we should expose ourselves to material that is obviously non-edifying, such as pornography.  Nor should we use this as an excuse to waste our time, such as becoming a "couch potato" watching soap operas, sitcoms, talk shows, or sports all night and day.  We are IN the world, but not OF the world (John 15:19).  We are commanded to "redeem the time (make most of it), for the days are evil" (Eph 5:16).  If we are truly walking with the Lord in Spirit and in truth (obeying His word), what we should do with our "free time" (or any other time) becomes more clear.  I have found that the best entertainment tends to be thought-provoking, whether it it was created by believers or un-believers.  I will say more on "entertainment" in a coming article.

Some Christians think that we should only listen, read, or watch "Christian" material, as if it were free from all doctrinal error.  It scares me how most believers tend to always let their guard down when they expose themselves to stuff labeled "Christian."  No Christian is perfect, so you have to check out EVERYTHING that they say.  Paul was not above being checked out, even though he was an Apostle (Acts 17:10-11).  The Bible has warnings about unbelievers taking advantage of sleeping Christians in their own churches toward the end of the world.  Do you think you spotted the apostates in your church (2 Peter 2:1; book of Jude)?  We need to be on guard at ALL times.  Many of the most satanic teachings can be found in innocent-looking "G" rated movies and "Christian" material.  Satan doesn't have to use obvious "evil" symbols to teach unbiblical stuff.

(Added 9/26/98) Regarding my web site as "Christian" material.  Since I am not God, and do not speak (at least not yet) as a prophet of God, I am not perfect, and therefore what I think and write potentially contains errors.  Fortunately, other Christians have written to me, and actually have gotten me to make corrections to my web page, and even got me to change my views at least a little on various topics.  One complaint I sometimes get is about my web page having links to other web pages that obviously contain demonic information.  The complaint has to do with the fear that such links could lead unbelievers or "weak" or "baby" Christians into believing demonic teachings.  That of course is not what I want to happen.  I provide the links mainly to provide evidence regarding what I believe are Satan's plans for deceiving the world now and in the near future.  If I did not provide such links, then I would not be providing important documentation for my own views on future events.  Based upon the e-mail I receive, most people (Christian and non-Christian) by far understand figure out by themselves the difference between what I believe in and what I link to.  That is the main reason I say that I do not necessarily agree with all of the information found at the following links at the top of my links page.  There are always a few people who do not bother to read my web page carefully enough in order to not misunderstand me.  At this time, I believe that the risks of  providing links to certain "demonic" information to support the Bible are much less than the risk of being misunderstood.  I cannot control the way people read my web page.  Since my web page is not advertised as a "Christian" web site, then "baby" Christians have no valid reason to be visiting my web site, unless they are walked through it with a more mature Christian mentor (hopefully someone in the body of Christ loves them enough to be their mentor).

As for "weak" Christians, the Bible says (Rom 14:1)-- Now accept the one who is weak in faith, {but} not for {the purpose of} passing judgment on his opinions.   Romans chapter 14 (in light of other passages) teaches that more mature Christians should not judge "weak" Christians if the beliefs they hold onto are not in conflict with their daily walk with God.  The word "judge" is very misunderstood in Christian circles.  It always has to do with the termination of a prior status or relationship, and it is very final.  Getting back to Romans chapter 14, stronger Christians are not supposed to reject (avoid fellowshipping with) "weak" Christians as long as they are not living in unrepentant sin.  What I say at my web page is not meant to be a rejection of "weak" or "baby"  Christians.  One purpose for it is to obey this commandment: (1 Thes 5:14--) And we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men Patience allows for a certain amount of freedom for both unbelievers and "weak" Christians to make their own decisions regarding what they will do with my information.  "Weak" Christians ALREADY hold to various incorrect doctrines, as  Romans chapter 14 teaches.  As stated before, we are to help the weak, which does not mean put them in a closed protected environment as we ought to for "baby" believers.  "Weak" Christians need to be placed in environments that will strengthen (discipline) them, along with "stronger" Christians: Heb 12:11-13-- All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.  Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that {the limb} which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healedIf we try to completely isolate "weak" Christians from what is out there in the real world, then their "weakness" will continue.  "Weakness" in a believer will continue because they have not had much of their faith  tested to see if all of their particular beliefs are actually true.  For most Christians, God's discipline of us has been very rough with us at times.  He personally has allowed me to fall flat in my face a number of times regarding wrong turns I took while I actually thought that they were the ways He wanted me to go.  I even tried to leave Christianity in the early 1980's because God seemed to be too rough and unloving, yet even my turning away made me a much stronger Christian once I turned back to Him.  My point here is, that even if a "weak" Christian makes the foolish decision to believe in any of the demonic teachings I link to, he or she is still under the watchful hand of God, and God will eventually use their "stumbling" as discipline to make them stronger for Him in the future.  Considering the fact that a number of Christians ALREADY hold to "doctrines of demons" (1 Tim 4:1), and since our churches are full of apostates who are out to mislead us (Matt 7:21-23; book of Jude), it seems that we as Christians ought to be more concerned about  the more covert attacks upon our faith from WITHIN the church, rather than the more overt attacks from without, found at such things as demonic web sites.  Regardless, a Christian should NEVER blindly accept any teaching from another Christian, including from me.

Now, back to witnessing to unbelievers.  Typically, once the false foundation holding up the unbeliever's system of belief is removed, THEN you can begin to give the gospel, assuming that they understand the need for the gospel.  Some people don't believe in "sin."  Therefore, they CAN'T believe that Christ died for their "sins."  Also, the western world has become so confused about the subject of "death" due to the media portrayal of violence, plus seeing so much of it in real life.  "Death" is almost not real to a majority of people, therefore, "life" can be just as confusing, let alone eternal life.

It is OK to NOT explain the gospel EVERY time that you speak.  Our knee-jerk reaction tends to be to always give the gospel every time, because we all have had heard so many evangelical "pep talks" that we have been brainwashed to try and do this in every case.  We MUST always follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit sometimes leads us to be quiet also (Acts 16:6).  I have many times been led by God to shut up, but then ignored it.  My witness during those times proved to be poor at best.  I have also ignored the Holy Spirit's leading to share more, and my witness was poor there also.  Once again, our walk with the Lord must be pure from sin to be effective witnesses for Him.  If we are sinning, we must stop ("repent" or turn away from sin) and confess it directly to the Lord (1 John 1:9).  Then our walk will be re-established.  From God's point of view, we don't cause unbelievers to be saved.  We don't even know for sure what they need to hear, but we try and do our best.  Some of us are to plant "seeds," some are to "water," but only God causes the actual growth (1 Cor 3:7).

From Jesus' examples, one of the biggest things I think we can learn is that it is good to stir up your audience to think enough to ASK good questions BEFORE you tell them the answer.  Ever heard this joke: A teacher asks her class what 2 plus 3 equals.  Johnny blurts out the words "the answer is Jesus!"  While the teacher is trying to keep her composure, she asks, "why do you think that?"  Johnny replies, "I think that because my minister told me that Jesus was the answer to EVERY one of my problems!"  Unfortunately, many Christians do not witness any better than Johnny.  I hope that all Christians would study what the questions REALLY are before they parrot Johnny's words, so that we can all follow the command to do the work of an evangelist (2 Tim 4:5).  I believe that I am doing a fairly good job at it here at my web site if I can get people to just begin to ask the "important" questions.  You never know.  Maybe the reader will get the privilege of leading an unbeliever to Christ that someone like myself  "seeded" and "watered" with pre-evangelism.

I suggest that my fellow Christians continue to study all of the other witnessing examples in Scriptures.   Wouldn't it be great if classes teaching Christians how to evangelize would more carefully study ALL of the evangelizing examples in Scriptures?  I am sure that we would learn even more techniques than what I have covered.  Please e-mail me if you think you have more good ideas to suggest.

In conclusion, I want to make it clear that one does not have to be an "expert" in evangelism before they go out to witness.  The information I have presented came from over 24 years of making all kinds of mistakes in my attempts witnessing to unbelievers.  I am STILL learning how to do it.  I have tried to set up my web page in such a way that I believe God could use, given my knowledge and experience.  The "gospel" is obviously not the first thing they will see here, but it is there for those who look around just a little.  I am trying to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit on this.  God is faithful, and He will provide what the unbeliever needs to see, whether it be from my site or not.  My site will not appeal to everyone, regardless if they are Christian or not.  I trust that God uses other Christian sites in other unique ways to bring the "lost" to Himself.  This site will change if it becomes clear to me that it needs to, or if the Lord leads me to change it.

Return to Main Article Page

This website does not necessarily agree with or support the following randomly generated ad: 

This website does not necessarily agree with or support the following randomly generated ad: TradeBanners Member
Millions of TradeBanners Served!
Member of the Christian HyperBanner