Question:I happened on to your site because†I was searching a biblical question.† I'm impressed that you want to follow the Biblical pattern of the church, but you seemed to have missed one.† Jesus didn't start off by being negative.† He talked about who His father was and who He was.† Most people won't even understand what you're talking about.† You've assumed a lot.† One of his greatest attributes was love.† It is a compelling attribute.† Negativism isn't.† Forget having to be in people's face first and try teaching them lovingly and gently as Jesus first did.† Yes there is a time to get down to brass tacks but you don't do that with babies or unchurched people.† I hope you'll give this some thought.
I think you missed my point.† I have no argument with the article you had me read.† Jesus was confrontational with religious people who†should have known better.† If that is who your web site is directed at then so be it.† He was extremely kind to the lost.† My experience has been with some people who just want to be confrontational for the sake of being argumentative and we are told , as Paul told Timothy, not to get into vain arguments, as most are.†
You will find much the same on La Vista's web site. We get questions from all sorts and address a large variety of issues. You will find that the responses vary in accordance to how a person asks their question. For instance, a person who comes trying to lecture me on how to teach others (I have 33 years of experience as a preacher and 1 year as an elder), or trying to say I'm doing it all wrong but justifying it with only half truths from the Scriptures will get a very brief answer until I find out if they are sincere or not.
By the way, did you notice how negative and confrontational you were from your very first note?
"He [John the Baptist] said therefore to the multitudes who went out to be baptized by him, "You offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and don't begin to say among yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father;' for I tell you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones! Even now the axe also lies at the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that doesn't bring forth good fruit is cut down, and thrown into the fire." The multitudes asked him, "What then must we do?" He answered them, "He who has two coats, let him give to him who has none. He who has food, let him do likewise." Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, "Teacher, what must we do?" He said to them, "Collect no more than that which is appointed to you." Soldiers also asked him, saying, "What about us? What must we do?" He said to them, "Extort from no one by violence, neither accuse anyone wrongfully. Be content with your wages" (Luke 3:7-14).
"Jesus went out from there, and withdrew into the region of Tyre and Sidon. Behold, a Canaanite woman came out from those borders, and cried, saying, "Have mercy on me, Lord, you son of David! My daughter is severely demonized!" But he answered her not a word. His disciples came and begged him, saying, "Send her away; for she cries after us." But he answered, "I wasn't sent to anyone but the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But she came and worshiped him, saying, "Lord, help me." But he answered, "It is not appropriate to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." But she said, "Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." Then Jesus answered her, "Woman, great is your faith! Be it done to you even as you desire." And her daughter was healed from that hour" (Matthew 15:21-28).
At times both John and Jesus addressed non-Jews in rude ways and with strong words. Your contention that only loving words are needed to bring people to Christ initially is not supported by the Scriptures. When a person refuses to see danger in front of them or have deceived themselves into believe that the course they pursue is perfectly fine, a rude awakening is required to get them to see reality. Others may need to be tested, not for the Lord's sake but for their own, to demonstrate the sincerity of their faith. Everyone is not treated in this fashion, but the point is that it has its place in teaching.
"Flee from youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But refuse foolish and ignorant questionings, knowing that they generate strife. The Lord's servant must not quarrel, but be gentle towards all, able to teach, patient, in gentleness correcting those who oppose him: perhaps God may give them repentance leading to a full knowledge of the truth, and they may recover themselves out of the devil's snare, having been taken captive by him to his will" (2 Timothy 2:22-26).
The instructions here are not limited to only those who have not known Christ. Timothy was told to "pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with people who call on the Lord out of a pure heart." But notice that a different reaction is to be given to people who want to pick fights.
Adjusting responses according the questioner is something God has long taught.
"Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes" (Proverbs 26:4-5).
Fools can be found both inside and outside the church.