These kinds of responses have caused some Christians to theorize that confrontational approaches to evangelism should be jettisoned in favor exclusively of more relational forms of Gospel dialogue. Yet the Bible says that faithful heralds of Christ should expect to experience backlash. It also says they should celebrate such consequences.
Jesus said “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil on account of The Son of Man.”1 Taking this to heart, the Apostle Peter wrote “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.”2 The book of Hebrews admonishes us to “Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”3 These verses point us to Christ’s example.
One of the quintessential prophecies concerning Christ in the book of Isaiah said that Jesus would be “despised and rejected.”4 This forecast was borne out throughout Jesus’ human life. After Jesus preached in Nazareth, his audience “took offense at him” because of the authoritativeness of his teaching.5 When Jesus proclaimed his impending death and resurrection to a crowd, “Many of them said, ‘He has a demon and is insane; why listen to him?’”6 While Christ was hanging on the cross, “those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads,”7 even as he was dying because of their sins.
When an evangelist faces ridicule for proclaiming the Gospel, he should ask himself one question: “Did I present an orthodox rendition of the Gospel with ordinate compassion for my audience?” As long as he can answer “Yes” with a clear conscience, he can know for certain that any negative response to his proclamation wasn’t because he used an inappropriate method, but because of his hearer’s unwillingness to repent.
- Luke 6:22
- 1 Peter 4:14
- Hebrews 12:3
- Isaiah 53:3
- Matthew 13:57
- John 10:20
- Mark 15:29
Raymond Billy is a discipleship mentor for Youth With A Mission.
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