A Call For The Question

A discussion is going on in our culture. It is happening specifically within Christianity. We have been discussing this subject for years. It is the conversation about the importance of evangelism and the proselytizing of people to faith in Christ. It stems from Christianity's call to eternal life in Heaven through faith in Jesus Christ.  

In Robert's Rule's of Order, after a significant amount of discussion there is a practice that stops the arguments from opposing views and simply 'begs or calls for the question' on the floor or at the table. It is the issue at hand. And, I believe it is time to "Call For The Question" in our culture today. The argument is simple. How aggressive should Christian's be in sharing their faith? The conversations are passionate. Our faith should be seen and not heard. The question is even clearer. Will you accept eternal life in Heaven through faith in Jesus Christ?

There are varying views and arguments surrounding the evangelistic ministry of Christianity. Pluralists say there are many ways. The COEXISTS believe that all of us have the answer. The arguments of the Buddhist would be that good karma will help you to be born again and get to Heaven, even though you may not stay there. A Muslim would argue that enough good deeds will give you the grace you need when you stand before Allah the Almighty. And, there are others that do not even believe in an afterlife or the existence of a Heaven to be gained or a Hell to be shunned. The debate continues and the excuses are varied.

We could say that lukewarm Christians are the cause for a lack of evangelizing. Or, we could make a case that Christians just don't know how to share their faith effectively. The most dangerous excuse to me is held by the people who think that relationship with an unbeliever is more important than calling for the question. Simply live it out before unbelievers and they will come to faith. And, while I have seen this lifestyle evangelism work, there comes a time when the question must be called. Here me, I am not advocating for bible swinging and hell raising dialogue that is insensitive and legalistic.

Nor am I asking for classic contextualization that has no clue about the language in a post-modern (or modern as some suggest) culture, and how to communicate to people. The evangelism pendulum swings from "loving people all the way to Hell", and "condemning all people into Hell". I'm not sure that I can give you a tipping point of when the question must be called. I do know that it is probably quicker than most of us are willing to admit.

We see the American church's approach to evangelism in a few popular mindsets. The classical, missional, and emergent movements of church philosophy. It may be a bit general in its description, but, I see these mindsets like cars on a highway. The classic stream would find itself in the right lane moving at posted speed limits and perfectly content to watch everyone else. The missional stream would find itself in the center lane in the middle of traffic waving at everyone on both sides of them. The emergent stream would be speeding through the left lane with some new place to go.

While some churches and people overvalue the discussion, others churches and people undervalue the question. Some will contend that we must make people as comfortable as possible. Others, that we must bring conviction into people's lives so that they are as uncomfortable as possible. I do agree that evangelism begins with relationship and an incarnational presence in culture. We must understand the language, mores, and worldview of a people. But, don't forget that evangelism ends with the transformation of a person into a disciple. If the question is never called, how can one be saved?

The discussion should never cease in a community. But, the discussion should come to an end at some point with an individual. When is the discussion going to cease and the question called for? I believe that if our discussion is truthful and representative of the Gospel, the call for the question will be able to come sooner than later.