Category Archives: Evangelism

When Christians are Hypocrites

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A few days ago, an instructor in UP Los Banos allowed a Christian organization to do “Classroom Evangelism” (CE). The CE was documented, and photos of it were uploaded  on the Christian org’s official FB page.

Another instructor saw the online evidence, took screenshots of the FB page and posted it in his timeline, saying that according to UPLB policies, such activities are illegal. Last I checked, the Christian org who authorized the CE, was reported to UPLB authorities.

In a matter of hours, this particular Christian org drew bashers.

And in a few days, similar hostile posts, not necessarily pertaining to this particular CE), were resurfaced and bumped back to the FB newsfeed.

Like this one.

[EDIT: I was told that this post on The Elbi Files was posted before the CE event referred to at the beginning of this blog. In any case, it does not affect the points I tried to make below. My apologies for overlooking this fact and for any misunderstandings I might have caused.]

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At this point, my reaction to the bashing is… sadness. Yes, the post reeks of fallacies and generalizations, but the accusations!

I am terribly sickened and saddened and frustrated and embarrassed… and altogether grieved at the fact that this anonymous poster makes these statements as fact, as something from his/her own experience and observation.

But here are some of my initial thought on the issue (not necessarily ordered in a progressive manner):

The hostility of some of the UPLB students and faculty is fascinating. It somehow confirms what I’ve been telling my international friends this whole time — that just because we Filipinos are outwardly polite doesn’t mean we are listening to you. Case in point: this anonymous poster. His/her message is a very vilifying one, and yet he/she posted anonymously! The anonymous poster could be anyone; in fact, he/she could be someone in the CE class, listening quietly.

The anonymous poster makes references to some questionable (immoral?) org practices that apparently Christian students participated or engaged in. The anonymous poster criticizes these Christian students, calling them hypocrites, even (fascinatingly) quotes Bible verses! The anonymous poster seems to know what Christians should not participate in — such as stripping, or sleeping around.

This is our reality, and it should sober us: while not everyone here in the Philippines possesses a Christian worldview, many do have an idea of Christian morality. And how could they not know? We stop strangers and talk to them about the Bible. We post about our Christianity online. Christian TV networks freely do broadcasts. They know, they are exposed… and they hold us to that standard.

I hope this incident makes this particular Christian org (and all other Christian orgs and affiliations) rethink or evaluate the current evangelism methods and approaches they practice. Yes, evangelism still must happen. But I believe we need to be more creative, discerning, and wiser about this.

I hope this incident causes Christians to really think of our convictions regarding contemporary issues such as the LGBTQIA. EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY, I hope we are convicted to express and live out these convictions in a relevant, but also loving, and humble way

I truly am grieved with this situation. I, too, am sobered by the reality that at any given moment, without God’s grace and power alone, I could be one of those who compromise my faith. Really, the ease with which I can fall into temptation frightens and frustrates me. And yes, I have been a hypocrite more times than I would care to admit.

Whatever the turnout of this situation may be, I hope we as a Christian community learn from this. And also repent. Oh, we must. After all this, we must.

[EDIT: I was told that this post on The Elbi Files was posted before the CE event referred to at the beginning of this blog. In any case, it does not affect the points I tried to make. My apologies for overlooking this fact.]

The lost don’t feel lost at all.

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You know when sometimes you have experiences, and then later you realize how much that experience comes in handy as a teaching illustration? This was one of those times.

Yesterday I was at SM Megamall with Windy, attending a seminar. We just had lunch at the Food Court and were making our way back to the Megatrade Center at the fifth floor.

Then we saw Ramila. She was crying, running around in circles. She was evidently, undeniably lost.

Windy and I approached her. Did you lose your mom? She tearfully nodded yes. (Just a side-comment: it surprised me that none of the other adults took responsibility. She was so obviously in distress I can’t imagine how they could possibly ignore her! Not judging, just an observation.)

Thankfully a security guard was walking by, and he immediately led us to the Costumer Service area. They will broadcast a memo to the entire building, he said. Just wait here, he said.

“So what do we do?” I asked Windy. I was actually thinking, maybe I’d just stay with the kid until her mom arrives.

“Well, we have a seminar to attend to, and we’re already late,” Windy said. “And anyway, this place is safe. There are guards all around.”

So we both turned to Ramila and gave her one final reassurance. “Don’t be afraid, your mom will come.”

Then we left. Later, when I exited the Megatrade Center, I returned to the Costumer Service area just to check if Ramila’s mom finally picked her up. Affirmative. Phew.

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I was tasked to facilitate today’s lesson for our discipleship group on the topic of Witnessing. I was preparing for the lesson and I was reflecting specifically on “the lost”, and I suddenly remembered lost little Ramila…

Then I had a sudden eureka moment: My experience with her is the perfect illustration of pre-evangelism or of being a Cojourner! Because Pre-evangelism / Cojourner is bringing people one step closer to Christ. I brought Ramila one step closer to her mom. I didn’t actually physically bring her to her mom, but I helped her get to her mom. Gets? Well, maybe not a perfect illustration.

But here are more thoughts about the experience.

We call non-Christians lost people. But the truth is: a lot of them don’t feel lost. They just don’t. They go happily about, perfectly content (or so it seems) with what they have and the path and place they are in.

Most Christians are only equipped to deal with lost little Ramilas, those people crying and acutely aware of their lostness. Most Christians actually only expect lost little Ramilas. But again, how about those who don’t know or feel they are lost? There are a lot of them out there.

So, as a Christian with a firm, unwavering belief and confidence in the Bible and what it says, how do you deal with that? We know God commissioned us to preach the Gospel and make disciples. But they won’t even listen! Deal with it. No, seriously, if we are to be effective witnesses, we HAVE to Deal. With. It.

And we can deal with it. And we are dealing with it, at least little by little.

The matter of how we can deal with it would require a far lengthier blog post than this one. Perhaps I’ll try writing one someday, or make a series of posts, but there are numerous excellent books out there on the topic, particularly Norman Geisler and David Geisler’s Conversational Evangelism book. Here in the Philippines, OMF Lit just recently reprinted it, and you can also buy it online.

Anyway, yes. We need to reach the lost, even if they don’t feel they are, even if they don’t think they are. Especially if they don’t think they are.

Everyone is moving to or away from God.