If we lack humility when we share the gospel, that’s a problem. A prideful attitude will affect the manner in which you share your convictions. That’s not good. Remember, though, you’re an ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20), and you’re called to present the truth in a persuasive and gracious way.
If you believe someone is mistaken about an important matter, are you more likely to come across as arrogant? Do you find yourself lacking humility in those conversations?
I was recently asked what believers can do to remain humble when they engage non-believers. After all, I was told, Christians think non-believers are mistaken about Jesus. Is there a solution that will help believers evangelize with humility? Three quick thoughts come to mind.
First, the Bible commands believers to be humble.
Philippians 2:3–8 tells us, “With humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.” The passage later tells believers to have the same attitude as Christ, who “humbled himself.” First Peter 5:5–6 commands younger men in this way: “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another” and “humble yourselves.” Scripture routinely reminds us that humility should characterize our attitude in various situations, and so it seems reasonable to think that such an attitude should carry over into other areas of our life, including evangelism.
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By Kim Riddlebarger — 5 months ago
“Christianity is summed up in the phrase: “God was in Christ, reconciling the world with himself.” Where this great confession is contradicted or neglected, there is no Christianity.” The crisis in Warfield’s day was the reality that much of Christianity had jettisoned the gospel—for a host of reasons, and beyond the scope of Warfield’s answer to the two questions above. May we all be reminded in our increasingly hostile and pagan age, that the gospel our Lord has given us has not lost its power or its relevance.
In 1914, B. B. Warfield was invited to contribute an essay to the volume The Church, the People, and the Age, edited by Scott and Gilmore. There were 105 contributors, each of whom was asked to answer the following questions. 1). Why are so many people indifferent to the claims of Christianity? and 2). Would it be a step forward for the church (and presumably Christianity in general) if the only requirement for church membership was the desire to love God and our neighbor (which, ironically, was a suggestion from Abraham Lincoln fifty years prior). The contributors included Charles Augustus Briggs (who, at the time, was busy undermining the authority of Scripture), as well as German theologian and sycophant to Kaiser Wilhelm throughout the Great War, Adolf von Harnack. Scottish theologian James Orr also contributed a chapter.
The volume was compiled on the eve of the First World War which plunged all of Europe into chaos as “Christian” nations waged brutal war upon each other in the name of preserving Christian civilization. There was obviously a foreboding sense that Christian civilization was on the edge and the editors were seeking a format to discuss and offer solutions.
I’ve not seen the original volume, but my guess is that Warfield’s chapter suggests much different answers to both questions than the majority of contributors. As for the reason why people are indifferent to Christianity, Warfield points what should be obvious to anyone who has read the New Testament. Christianity is for sinners who know they need a Savior. People who sees themselves as capable of loving God and neighbor on their own will remain indifferent to Christ and his gospel.
When we are asked why it is that there are so many persons who are indifferent to the claims of the Church, no doubt the safest answer to give is that it is for reasons best known to themselves. It seems, however, only a voluntary humility to profess to be ignorant of the fundamental basis of this indifference; an indifference, let it be well borne in mind, which is in no sense “modern,” but has characterized ever greater numbers as we go back in the history of the Church to the very beginning. It lies in a weak sense of sin and the natural unconcern of men who do not feel themselves sinners with respect to salvation from sin. For Christianity addresses itself only to sinners.
By Simonetta Carr — 1 year ago
Convinced by Alopen of the validity of the Christian faith, Taitsung ordered the building of a monastery and the translation of some Christian papers the monks had carried with them. By 638, just three years after Alopen’s arrival, at least 21 monks were active in China. In the course of time, Persian monks (who became fluent in the languages of the places where they settled) translated the New Testament and portions of the Old Testament into Chinese. Being highly educated, they also produced Christian literature that appealed to the Chinese nobility. For example, Jesus Messiah Sutra, the main text produced by Alopen on instigation by Emperor Taitsung, described Christ’s incarnation, life, death, and resurrection, endorsed monotheism, and attacked idolatry.
In 635, Emperor Taitsung (598–649) of China found Christianity so impressive that he wrote: “The meaning of the teaching has been carefully examined; it is mysterious, wonderful, calm; it fixes the essentials of life and perfection; it is the salvation of living beings; it is the wealth of man. It is right that it should spread through the empire.”
He had first heard about Christ from a Persian monk, Alopen, who walked all the way to the capital of China (today’s Xi’an) to bring the gospel to the Chinese. He was probably sent by Patriarch Ishoyahb II of Baghdad, who also sent missionaries to Iran, Afghanistan, Ubzekistan, and India. Most likely, Alopen had been ordained a bishop because he was able to appoint men to pastor the churches he founded. What little we know about his arrival in China and the history of the work that followed is recorded on a monument erected in Xi’an in 781 and discovered in 1625.
The Church of the East
Alopen was one of the many missionaries of the so-called Church of the East, a church that flourished well before the Roman Emperor Constantine I recognized Christianity in the west. Like other missionaries to the east, Alopen probably traveled along the Old Silk Road, a route followed by merchants. Carrying only a staff, a satchel, and a copy of the Scriptures, these missionaries stopped in monasteries other monks had built along the way. In fact, Timothy I (727-823), one of the most influential patriarchs of the Church of the East and great promoter of missions, used the simple life of these monks as an example to shame a bishop who wished to retire in comfort in Baghdad.
The Church of the East first blossomed in Edessa (now Urfa, Turkey) and in the renowned theological school of Nisibis (today’s Nusaybin, Turkey), where the famous poet Ephrem served as deacon. It continued to thrive in what is now eastern Turkey and Iraq.
It’s often known as the Nestorian Church, even though its connections with Nestorius are tenuous at best. The name is probably due to the fact that this church refused to recognize the 431 Council of Ephesus where Nestorius was condemned for his views of the two natures of Christ. For the most part, however, the reason for this refusal was cultural rather than theological. It was a way to assert the church’s independence from the Byzantine Empire. (While it’s true that Nestorianism spread to the eastern regions, many scholars agree that defining the Church of the East as Nestorian is unfair).
The Church of the East held its first official council in 410. In 424, it declared its independence from the west. The official language of the Church of the East was Syriac (a form of Aramaic), one of the first languages in which the Scriptures were translated. By the eighth century, this church had spread over much of Asia and Arabia, becoming the most widely spread church in the world.
By Kevin Halloran — 1 year ago
It’s possible your greatest need in prayer is not to know more about it, but rather to know how to use the most foundational and comprehensive tool given to us in Scripture. As with any tool, its purpose is found not by focusing on the tool, but rather on setting our eyes on our praiseworthy Father, King, Provider, Pardoner, and Protector—and to shape our lives by his sovereign rule and care.
The reason there are so many books on prayer is that even after reading them, we still struggle to pray. Some reasons are intellectual—we don’t know how or why to pray in a particular situation. Some are volitional—our hearts are distracted or apathetic. Still other reasons are due to lacking proper practical tools.
As I’ve pondered how to grow in prayer, one simple solution has stood out as a versatile tool for overcoming our struggles: the Lord’s Prayer. This should come as no surprise, since this is the way Jesus taught his disciples to pray (Matt. 6:9–13).
Here’s how the Lord’s Prayer helps us overcome six common prayer struggles.
1. We forget why prayer matters.
Perhaps the most foundational reason we struggle to pray is that we forget prayer’s purpose. The Lord’s Prayer reminds us. We pray in order to glorify our heavenly Father. We pray in order to unify our hearts with his kingdom vision for the world and to align ourselves with his will. We pray for provision, pardon, and protection from the evil that comes from both inside and outside us.
2. We aren’t sure God hears us.
This suspicion leads many to neglect prayer, which is the only guaranteed way for God not to hear our prayers. The Lord’s Prayer reminds us that we pray to God our Father. A good father hears the cries and requests of his children. God, our perfect Father, always hears us and always answers us in his way and his timing (not always in the way we want, however).
3. We don’t know what to pray.
Sometimes believers don’t know what to pray, or they pray the same thing over and over and stop praying due to the monotony. The Lord’s Prayer gives us a Spirit-inspired path for knowing what to say in prayer. You might take a general approach to saying the Lord’s Prayer, using its petitions as a template and filling them in with specific praises and requests.