“It’s best to remain silent and be thought of a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”
“Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.” (Proverbs 17:28)
If silence is golden and a silver tongue commands respect, then why do I tend to open my mouth and remove all doubt about being a fool?
Perhaps that is why evangelism is so dangerous.
A life in Christ is a no-win conundrum.
Proclaiming the wisdom of the gospel is considered foolish by the world.
Holding our tongue and refraining from giving reasons for the hope a believer has in Christ can cause unbelievers to earmark Christians as fools.
Or worse, by remaining silent, the world can assume that professing Christians don’t really care about the spiritual welfare of those who don’t care about God.
A badge of faith in today’s climate casts judgments that are not based on what a person believes but on what is assumed they believe.
Due to historically high levels of biblical illiteracy, growing political division, and a promoted cultural ideology that elevates the progression of human wisdom over God, the fields are being filled with suffocating thorns and weeds.
By remaining silent, unbelieving neighbors and acquaintances may assume that Christian believers are out-of-touch, uncaring, and intolerant.
Instead of the Word being the double-edged sword that separates, silent believers are allowing untruths and hyperbole do the separating for them.
How can Christians start to engage the world around us and have spiritual conversations?
How can Christians begin to communicate the most important message a lost soul will ever hear?
A way to start spiritual conversations is by sticking to the basics.
Witnessing does not need to step on cultural landmines (homosexuality, immigration issues, #metoo movement) that destroy well-meaning opportunities. We keep doors open to share the gospel by being steadfastly concerned about winning souls through the power of the Word rather than defending a political stance.
Cultures change. They shift like sand in the wind. But God is unchangeable. His Word is the same. His Word still works.
When starting a conversation with a person who does not know Christ, always bring conversations back to Christ and what he has done.
This is the strategy that was employed by a monk five hundred years ago who tackled the culture and the teachings of the church.
Widespread religious lunacy punctuated by the selling of indulgences dominated the culture of the early 16th century. Uplifting man’s ability to save themselves and their loved ones from hell through the purchasing of indulgences was a church-sponsored way to raise money. The possibility that the forgiveness of sins was attainable outside of God’s grace cloaked the world with spiritual darkness until God raised up a monk to confront it. Martin Luther boldly declared “Sola Scriptura” – God’s Word alone – as being the only way and truth to receive righteousness from God. Faith alone saves sinful men and women. Faith alone through the power of the Word declares that all people are justified by faith.
Even before the Reformation, the church fathers provided a plum line for Truth. The Apostles Creed serves as a basis for confession and the proclamation of the orthodox Christian faith by teaching:
Christ really died.
Christ really rose from the dead.
God the Father has really accepted his Son’s work on our behalf.
Our sins are really atoned for in full.
A real heaven awaits those who trust in God’s promises.
This is the core message of the gospel – the essential doctrine of the Christian faith. The creed is a simple explanation of who Jesus is and why.
Spiritual conversations are risky, but I don’t believe a discerning tongue in today’s climate can remain silent. People don’t know that they don’t know. They need the Truth.
It’s worth remaining a fool to remove all doubt that Jesus lives. Eternity in heaven is dependent on receiving this message.
I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.