Have you ever met up with that salesperson who isn’t just trying to make a commission by overstating the benefits of their product, rather they truly and genuinely are convinced of the value of what they are selling?
Oftentimes these types of individuals aren’t even technically salespeople. Their vocation is not to sell a product, but they have used and benefited from a product so that they become convinced advocates in the public arena. They naturally and easily transition to describing its benefits in a way that is compelling and natural.
You find yourself enraptured by their enthusiasm and next thing you know you’re shopping online to purchase that very item.
The Problem of Anemic Evangelism
Now I don’t particularly care for the comparison of a salesperson with the task of evangelism, however I believe there is some helpful illustrative value in the above paragraph. The key illustrative point is this: a person who is genuinely convinced of a product’s value, naturally and compellingly communicates their fervor for that product.
Oftentimes, our evangelism especially to Latter Day Saints can appear pale and anemic. Rather than having a natural and compelling tone in our conversation, we tend toward a sedateness and a dullness that seems to give evidence that the true gospel lacks power to save. This is a problem.
It is a problem because frankly if we have truly received God’s grace by faith in the infinite worth of Jesus’ life and death, then we should naturally and compellingly advocate for salvation that comes only through that all-sufficient Savior. Yet, our reserved and sluggish evangelistic efforts often give the opposite impression of the benefits of the salvation Christ offers. In light of this, I want to offer some encouragement to stimulate us to more faithful evangelism.
The Remedy for Anemic Evangelism
So how can we change? How can we more genuinely and compellingly commend the true Christ to our LDS friends? Let me suggest that we make some observations from the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:2–11.
In these verses, Paul strongly warns of those who would add additional requirements for salvation (v. 3). Then he goes on to compare and contrast his former fleshly accolades with the benefit of knowing Christ (vv. 4–10). The big contrast that Paul makes is that in Christ he obtains a righteousness from God over and against a personal righteousness based on human merit.
Paul uses strong language to emphasize the superior benefit of knowing Christ as opposed to the legalistic self-righteousness of his former days. These verses are also intensely personal for Paul. From verse 7 on, Paul uses multiple personal pronouns highlighting this section as Paul’s personal testimony of experiencing God’s grace in Christ.
So how can Paul’s example help us in our evangelistic task? Let me suggest that we take more time to contemplate what biblical salvation really is. Too often our own understanding of God’s grace is light in comparison to the weight which the biblical witness gives it.
So, we should contemplate more of Christ’s extravagant pardon by meditating more upon what the Bible affirms, both of the sinner’s guilt and the Mediator’s perfection. I have in mind here more than a surface awareness of these truths. Rather, we ought to slowly and surely, build into our thinking a view of God’s grace that comprehends the entirety of the Bible’s teaching.
As you read the Bible take note of its manifold expression of God’s goodness in the salvation of sinners. When you read the Old Testament, look for the devastation of human sinfulness and look correspondingly for God’s promise of mercy and pardon. The prophets especially juxtapose both sin’s judgment and its remedy. In the New Testament slow down when reading books like Romans to contemplate Paul’s careful presentation of Gospel logic.
As an auxiliary reading assignment, I suggest that you dig into some of the writing of the Puritans which so helpfully presents an earnest confidence in the sufficiency of Christ’s cross work.
In all of this careful reading, pray and ask God to deepen your understanding of what Jesus has accomplished for you. A growing sense of our helplessness as sinners and the sole remedy provided by Jesus’ obedience in life and death should garner an increasing conviction of the gospel’s relevance.
Ask the Lord to heighten your appreciation for His grace and then help you warmly commend the Savior to lost sinners.