OK, at times it may seem that I am just a parrot for what is happening on Gene Veith‘s blog. I can tell you that there are worse things to be than Gene Veith’s parrot. Plus, it comes with the added advantage of sounding really smart.He posted something very interesting yesterday and the follow up today has been even better. First, came this post about witnessing the faith. Veith made four key points:
- The Bible says that faith comes from hearing the Word, not from a Christian doing Christian things.
- Veith advises, correctly I think, “In general, relying on how good we are is seldom a wise idea to impress others, since our true goodness is very limited. What unbelievers may well pick up on is that we are putting on a front of being good, when in reality we are not.”
- He makes the point that what we might think of as our virtue and holiness is NOT impressive to unbelievers.
- Our pious virtues often turn into feelings of moral superiority towards our unbelieving neighbors.
- Finally, Veith tells us “we might do better to present ourselves to our unbelieving neighbors as sin-prone and struggling.” Indeed, that would be closer to the truth.
When I did not believe, several friends and family members who did believe proselytized lovingly, and at every opportunity. They, unlike others, approached me as a beloved person, and not as a pariah. Even when I argued such things as Biblical inerrancy, female clergy (now wondering why an unbeliever should concern himself at all with such as that), Hell, creation, evolution, etc., and even while neither of us appeared to move the other one centimeter, there was always laughter, and never a hint of even righteous indignation.Faith took its course, of course, through the work of the Holy Spirit. But I’ve often reflected on what those people said, as well as how they said it, and marvel now that I too believe all those fantastic claims they made to my unreceptive ears. Though some of them are gone from this life, they live as examples.The ones who come most quickly to my mind were Southern Baptists, friend and family, who, once I was taken into Lutheranism, accepted our theological differences and delighted in the assurance that I was as ’saved’ as they. They truly shine as lights within the past.
Would that the same thing be said of us. Read all the posts if you want some insight about how the Holy Spirit conducts His business. Read all the posts if you want to know how best to NOT get in the way.