4/10/10 Ed, 47
Part of my original reason for evangelism to strangers is to get the practice I need be a better witness to people I have an ongoing relationship with. I'm fairly new to the high school I teach at, and I want to share my faith with my colleagues but I don't want to "burn any bridges" relationally before they get the chance to really know me. A huge advantage of "law and grace" evangelism is that I am free to ask questions about people's backgrounds and religious views without ever having to argue a point. Why? Because these topics deal on the level of one's intellect, whereas once I start asking people how they have lived up to God's Law or even just their own standards, (when I have more time for such a conversation) we start dealing on the level of the conscience. People judge themselves and start feeling convicted or try to rationalize their sin, and those former intellectual arguments and smokescreens usually fall by the wayside. Today I appreciated this important distinction as I discovered that the roommate (Ed) I had been assigned to at my conference hotel is a Mormon, and I proceeded to ask him all about his faith and reasons for his beliefs, many of which are very contrary to Christianity. Had I felt the need to judge him, it would have quickly shut down our conversation or led to an argument. Instead, I learned all about his beliefs, was able to share many of mine as he felt comfortable enough to ask about them, and made an ongoing friend in the process. Because I was bold enough to ask about his beliefs and didn't need to be judgmental, a form of friendship evangelism has begun that isn't phony - Ed knows right up front that I am a Christian and feels free to ask me more about it.