There is this notion amongst believers today that, unfortunately, we sometimes come across as weird; that we act, look, and talk differently than the rest of the world. The idea is that, because of our “weirdness,” we may push away potential converts, and therefore, we need to do and say everything we can to show unbelievers that we are actually pretty normal people, just like them.
Well, if this were Jeopardy, and the above were Christianity for $600, and was answered with
“what is true and effective evangelism,” the contestant would undoubtedly hear, the double quarter note, “Eh-Eh” incorrect answer tone.
This is however, in some churches, being portrayed and modeled as the best way to “win some for Christ.” Many base this idea of non-condemning, relational, life-adjoining, evangelism, on 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 which states:
22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
Sounds about right, right?
Paul even says, in 1 Corinthians 10:27-30
If an unbeliever invites you to dinner and you are inclined to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. But if it becomes apparent that whatever you are eating or drinking, though not a sin, could be a stumbling block to someone in the room, then do not eat it, for the sake of whoever informs you of the issue; for the sake of that person’s conscience. He goes further and says,
“why should my liberty be determined by someone else’s conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?”
Paul isn’t saying, since we’re free in Christ, do it anyway even if someone is offended.
Paul is stating, he may have walked into his local eatery, ordered a steak, that just so happened to be part of that day’s Sacrifice, and though it is no problem for him to eat it in his own conscience, if there be someone in the room that it would be troublesome for, he’d simply ask for a
That is the point; why Paul says,
“I became ALL things.”
It isn’t that Joe invited him to the bar so he went in hopes he might save Joe.
It’s not that Vicky asked him to come watch her dance at the “Gentlemen and Pharisees” club at the corner of Pergamum Lane and Thyatira place, so he attends in hopes he will win her soul.
No. Paul means he LIMITED his liberties. He became all things by sacrificing his liberties. Just before 1 Cor. 9:23 he wrote…
1 Corinthians 9:21
To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law.
Though he does have liberties and freedoms in Christ, he is still under the law of Christ, and therefore, will never win some for the kingdom by participating in sinful acts or by appealing to anyone’s flesh.
All of our actions are to be prefaced by a 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 attitude:
23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.
And so, in everything we do, eat, or drink, it should be to the glory of God…not to our own advantage, but to others.
(1 Corinthians 10:31-33)
Feel good about being weird. We are called to be different. If the world deems that weird, that we are not conforming to their mold of “normal,” then GREAT!
“Do not be conformed to this world.”
If we look just like the world, what then would be the point for them to come to Christ?
Not only do we have to live a life that is drastically different, we have to love in a way that is radically different.
“Show me your redeemed life, and I might be inclined to believe in your redeemer.”
– Heinrich Heine. 19th century German philosopher