The Importance of Being Honest

A few things that have happened to me this week have acted to grow in me a conviction that Christians need to be very honest about what they are doing when they invite others to evangelistic events, or talk to others about the gospel.

Yesterday, I came across some people with a stall and some flyers in our Students’ Union building at Nottingham University. I took one of their flyers, which I at first assumed was a flyer for a club night, as it invited me to come and “enjoy the music” and “feel the passion” somewhere on Sunday. Reading a bit closer, I noticed that there was the word “church” as part of their name and web address. It was an advertisement for a new church starting in Nottingham, but apart from the word “church”, there was no religious or Christian content on the flyer at all. No mention of Jesus, God, faith, sermons, the fact that the “music” would be Christian… I felt a bit concerned that all the church in question was claiming to be able to offer was an experience or a concert – not a life-changing message and encounter with the living God.

In addition, we in the CU have been reminded to make it clear that there will be a presentation of the Christian message at evangelistic events we invite people to – not just to advertise the availability of free food or entertainment. This is a perfectly fair point – we do not want to get a reputation for luring people in with food, freebies or fun and then “trap” them in a Christian meeting they do not want to be a part of.  Such tactics seem to fall into the “deceitful and shameful ways” mentioned by Paul in 2Corinthians 4, which he says he and his co-workers have renounced. Instead, says Paul, they “set forth the truth plainly”. An important part of this is because it befits the actual message of the gospel to be communicated plainly and not deviously. The message is one of light, not darkness, and should be communicated openly and without falsification or manipulation.

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