There’s so much wrong with this video, I don’t even know where to start. First things first, however. I found this video courtesy of one of my favorite blogs, Jesus Needs New PR . Now that I’ve given credit where credit is due, we can move on. I have to compliment the young man on his zeal and I believe that he’s doing this because he truly cares about his fellow-man. His motivations are good, but his methods leave so much to be desired. Sharing the Gospel isn’t like bowling, complete with a score card, where whoever “wins” the most souls gets extra stars in their crown. I think this attitude is part of the reason that more and more young people are swearing off religion.
I have numerous problems with this idea of “soul-winning”. First, it’s a skewed version of the gospel, in that it seems selfish. It’s all about how many people one can lead to Jesus, with no further concern about what happens to them after the fact. Nobody seems to care about what’s going on these folks life, what cares and concerns they might have, even if their basic needs are met. It’s like, “I got you saved, my conscience is clear. You worry about that other stuff”. Even if we just focus on the spiritual aspect, it’s still not good. In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus told his disciples “Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful” Witnessing to strangers and street preaching are like sowing seed in rocky places and among the thorns. If you’re going to bring the gospel to people, you need to stick around and make sure they have the support they need to mature in the faith. The same goes for revival and TV preachers. You’ve brought this new way of living to someone and now it’s your responsibility to see that they have the tools to continue.
Throughout my life as a Christian, I’ve had problems with this way of spreading the Word. When I was younger, I thought it was Satan trying to lead me astray. Now that I’m older, I realize that wasn’t the case at all; I struggled with it because it’s not the way it’s supposed to be done. Whenever I encounter it, I’m reminded of a quote attributed to St. Francis: “Preach the Gospel daily and, if necessary, use words”. Get that? He said “if necessary, use words”. Meaning that words shouldn’t be our first recourse; that our we should spread the Gospel with our actions, not our mouths. Maybe by acknowledging that the weird-looking guy at school is actually a person or giving the dude holding a “Will work for food” sign a buck now and then; it won’t kill you and it’ll make their day. Who knows, you might even start building a relationship with them and find that they’re pretty neat people. Not to mention the fact that you’ll be doing the work of the Kingdom. And, that’s always a good thing.