Many Christians interpret the following biblical passage (and others):
Matthew 28:18-20 (King James Version)
18And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
to mean that Jesus has bestowed upon them a Great Commission to spread the gospel clearly, fearlessly, graciously, and respectfully whenever an opportunity presents itself.
However there are many different approaches to evangelism, and not all of them work equally well in particular contexts.
The following FAQ contains advice, both from fellow Christians and others, on which approaches have proven to be most effective in the context of CafeMom at spreading the good news without inadvertently appearing to be offensive, boring, tasteless, tactless, arrogant or otherwise ignorant of what is considered good manners in most areas of this website and thereby doing more harm than good to your cause.
DO : Use informative titles
(eg "Discussion of John
DON'T : Do your preaching in the title (eg "All sinner will burn in hell unless they kneel and repent.")
DO: Use Bible references and short
DON'T: Copy an entire chapter (or more) of the Bible.
: Post passages from the Bible, along with your interpretation of those
DON'T : Be arrogant and assume yours is the only possible valid Christian interpretation
DON'T: Keep your point-of-view hidden (i.e. your approach to Biblical analysis)
Supply your reasons for choosing your interpretation
DON'T : Be insulted if some of those who reply are Atheists, Muslims and other non-Christians, who may ask for objective evidence and not otherwise accept the Bible as 'fact' by default
Do: acknowledge that none of
our views including your own are
Don't: be arrogant and assume anyone who doesn't believe what you do is lost, wrong, misguided
Define carefully and explicitly how you are using terms such as
"proof" or "morals"
DON'T : Try to insist that everybody else use your definitions
DO: Be respectful of
those with other opinions.
DON'T: Attack those who post an alternate view or interpretation.
Do: share your views
Don't: change or censor them to suit the comfort level of the group
: Consider which group is the most appropriate one for your message,
and tailor your presentation to the group.
DON'T : Ignore a group's guidelines about what may be posted in that group, or how.
Do: acknowledge that your views are YOURS not everyone else's.
Don't: try and force your views on others, god gave us all free will to choose our path
WILL BE THOSE OF US WHO WILL QUESTION WHAT YOU BELIEVE AND EXPECT YOU TO
PROVIDE US WITH INTELLIGENT AND EDUCATED RESPONSES.
Don't disrespect anybody. Esp. when they have something to add.
Don't: Actively seek to convert. Be a representative of your faith in everything you do, but do not seek to FORCE your salvation on others. It's the best way to push people away from your religion.
DONT: BASH OTHERS BELIEFS
: Seek advice from other Christians who have been on a forum longer than
you have, before assuming that someone is a troll, evil or otherwise
DON'T : Assume that just because you can't understand how someone could hold a particular view, that they are not sincere in their belief.
Enquire about the other person's reasons for believing as they
do. Ask for as much proof, validation, etc. as you feel necessary.
Don't: use intentionally inflammatory language (god hates fags, god hates heathens, god hates... insert your slur.)
: Listen to people who reply, even if they are disagreeing with you
DON'T : Forget that the example you set in how you behave yourself conveys at least as much about Christianity as the words you quote from the Bible
DO: Preach the gospel
DON'T: Use words. Now I know this seems contradictory, but attitudes and how others are treated is the biggest testimony we can give rather than drowning people in words.
Do: educate yourself on other beliefs BEFORE posting about them
Dont: attempt to argue an issue you clearly know nothing about
DO: Educate! Have FACTS, not
just a bunch of phrases from the Scripture YOU believe is true. Find
scientific and historical facts that show that your beliefs aren't just
a bunch of man-made guesses.
DON'T: Get defensive and attack others when they demand a little bit more than your conviction in order to take your ideas seriously. I recently asked a Christian to prove to me that my ideas are wrong while hers are the only ones right and man, would you think I asked her to perform a human sacrifice and eat the human flesh in a stew! She got so offended that I dared to ask for Proof, OMG, the humanity! IMHO, if the request for proof, even anecdotal or empirical proof makes you wanna go off on a witch hunt, maybe you should reconsider the certainty of your beliefs.
Do pray for me if you want to.
Don't tell me about it, especially at the end of a post.
Do: Share if you
feel that it's a worldly message of good will (ie, love thy neighbor).
Don't: Assume that people do not know who Christ is and we are dying for his message....most of us have been around that block a few times.
Do think what you want about me as an atheist,
Don't tell me I'm going to burn in hell.
Do: Realize that in
most cases, people have found their path and are happy with it.
Don't: place any expectations on others.
Do: be commpassionate and educated on other religions
Don't: sentence everyone belonging to a different faith to hell. In fact, keep hell completely out of the discussion, entirely. It's a surefire way to make anyone who was even HALF listening stop listening to your message.
DO: Speak the *truth*
(from the Christian POV) in LOVE.
DON'T: Turn people off by being hateful when they disagree with you.
Do: Be Educated. I'm all for a real debate, but please, no text
shorthand, no 'because the bible says' without whole passages, taken IN
CONTEXT. Attempt to hit your spell checker if there are wavey red
lines throughout the majority of your post. Be educated on the history
of your religion.. both good and bad.
DON'T: Use cheap scare tactics, even if you actually believe in them. In other words, dont' threaten me with eternal Hell for not believing simply because you do.
kindness, humility, etc.
Don't lecture as if you are a teacher, and the person you are talking to is a baby.
DO : Use "Check Spelling" and paragraph breaks.
DON'T : Use all caps, massive font sizes or pale ink colours.
Do show love.
Don't be pushy.
Do - Show the patience of
Christ if non-believers questions what we have to say
Don't: use trite replies to valid arguments (eg, 'god loves you regardless of what you think', 'just because you don't believe in him doesn't mean he doesn't believe in you)
Do: speak of love, acceptance, tolerance, forgiveness often.
Don't: insinuate that another's life and everything therein is a mistake simply because they choose to live a different way.
Do: Realize all sins are equal in the eyes
Don't: Pretend you're better than me or "holier" than me because I'm gay.
DO: Understand that even with all your conviction, some people will
just don't buy it. These are YOUR beliefs and as deserving of respect as
they are, we dont' all have to just abandon our own to believe in
yours. We live in a world where there's no spiritual certainty and no
way of knowing the absolute truth, so understand that what you concluded
must be the truth won't apply to everyone else. Some people will find
"truth" somewhere else. Again, if your faith cannot understand that,
maybe it's time to analyze it and reconsider it.
Don't talk down to people. Don't convey that you know it all.
Do: Realize that going to church doesn't
make someone a Christian anymore than standing in a garage makes them a
DON'T forget that there are lot of samesex couples (with kids) on Cafemom and we have heard enough all ready how we take the whole world to doom and destroy hetero marriages.
DO: Speak the truth in
DON'T: Be mean
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