Sharing God’s Word
ou’ve seen it that letter from a friend to you and many others with an inspiring story about God’s grace and what He has planned for your life. As you get deeper you start feeling good and your day gets a little brighter. Until you reach the end, that it is, then you realize that you are reading a religious chain letter. You are guilted into sending the letter to numerous other friends or you will not be blessed, or some even say that you are not a true Christian if you do not respond.
Nowadays it is common to see God’s Word being spread in this manner, but many people find this”letter of love and hope”to be far more offensive than helpful.
When Jesus left this world He mandated His disciples and all those who believed in Him to share the word of God with all the Earth. In the olden days this was often limited to door-to-door evangelism or street meetings. Now with the help of technology, spreading God’s Word has become far easier to do. It is commonplace to find a religious program on in a public office or see pamphlets of Christ and His good works.
However, some local ministers agree that there are some ways that are just inappropriate and too forceful in sharing the Word, such as chain letters and programs that support”buying”your way to salvation. Many people, Christians and non-Christians, have been victims of overly aggressive methods like this including devout Baptist, Renee Coleby.
The mother of two wonderful children has for years pondered the practicality of sending religious chain letters, and sometimes finds herself continuing the chain out of a sense of obligation.
“It is normal for most people to get these emails talking about God loves you and He will bless you if you send this letter to so many people,”she said.”They always start off nice and inspiring but you soon realize it’s a chain letter. You may try to ignore it but in many they keep saying if you are a Christian you would. And as a sensible person you may think it’s silly, but as a Christian you remember how Peter denied Jesus and it kind of feels like you are doing the same thing if you don’t reciprocate. I always found the letters a bit offensive but it’s so easy to get caught up in your own doubts and worries.”
Several local ministers said that the idea of chain letters and other forms of aggressive promotion of Christianity is not the way to effectively share God’s Word.
Bishop John Humes, National Overseer of the Church of God, says that sharing God’s message should be a one-on-one effort that embraces the lost into the fold and does not intimidate them with damnation.
“First of all, salvation is free and people should not feel that God’s blessings will be withheld or taken away by efforts of man,”he said.”Chain letters have been around for a very long time and they only stay alive because people doubt themselves and respond to them. They have no power to heal or harm you. You are healed and delivered by the grace of God alone. Do not feel any other way. If someone truly was interested in your salvation they would speak to you and develop a relationship where it is easier to talk about God and your beliefs. People send these things out of fear and not true interest. I don’t support these things at all.”
Bishop Humes also believes that these letters can be schemes to collect people’s information by first accessing their email addresses. He encourages people to desist from sending these kinds of emails, no matter how good it sounds.
Pastor Genius Wells, Senior Pastor of Chapel on the Hill church, feels that while the Internet is a good way to spread God’s message, things like religious chain letters are intimidating and are not a true way to engage people. He says that God’s salvation is free so sharing it should be done freely or it is not of God.
“God said to us to come unto Him all ye who are weary and heavy laden for He will give you rest,”said Wells.”There is no price associated with this promise. It is free and all you have to do is live by God’s Word. It cannot be taken away should you not respond to some email or message that someone has sent out. Don’t be intimidated.”
The senior pastor feels that the best way to truly reach out to people and share the love of God is to do it personally. He challenges more people to invest in their relationship with God and not to worry about how they are perceived or if they will be blessed or cursed by not responding to a chain letter.
Instead of such a method of sharing the Word, he encourages more street meetings so that the demonic forces that are trying to overrun our country can be stopped. He says that sharing the Gospel should be a personal and active endeavor that changes you and the people you encounter.
Senior Pastor of Commonwealth Mission Baptist Church, Bishop Arnold Josey, says that just as everything God created is good, there are ways that people find to warp it for wrong. He acknowledges that the Internet and other technologies can be used for good for religious purposes, but can and is being used incorrectly as well.
“Choosing God is a free-willed thing,”he said.”You should not be coerced or guilted into it. God said who so ever will shall come. Whatever you do to guide people to God should be done of a free mind-set. As long as there is life there is hope. You push people farther away by trying to force them.
“Man and things have no right or power to condemn or redeem you. You condemn or redeem yourself by your own actions and through God’s grace. It is all about salvation and everyone has a right to choose or not to. But if you are to share your own choice with someone, do it lovingly and gently.”