Bad Feelings: Is Sharing Your Faith Immoral?

By Mark A. Kellner
Posted March 11, 2019

After His resurrection, it would seem that Jesus was rather clear in His charge to the disciples: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18–20).

Yet this clear command from Jesus apparently isn’t enough for some known as “millennials,” the generation born between the years 1981 to 1996—today ranging in age from 22 to 37 years old.

According to the noted Christian research firm the Barna Group, “Almost half of Millennials (47 [percent]) agree at least somewhat that it is wrong to share one’s personal beliefs with someone of a different faith in hopes that they will one day share the same faith.”

“Because, feels!”

Why is this happening? David Kinnaman, Barna Group president, said today’s culture of non-judgment is to blame. Or, as a millennial might assert, “Because, feels”—short for feelings.

“Cultivating deep, steady, resilient Christian conviction,” Kinnaman said, “is difficult in a world of ‘you do you’ and ‘don’t criticize anyone’s life choices’ and emotivism, the feelings-first priority that our culture makes a way of life. As much as ever, evangelism isn’t just about saving the unsaved, but reminding ourselves that this stuff matters, that the Bible is trustworthy and that Jesus changes everything.”

The word “emotivism” resonates with many, not just millennials. After the recent Supreme Court decision ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who declined to decorate a wedding cake for a same-sex couple—even though he would sell them anything else—including a cake that they could decorate themselves or elsewhere, emotions quickly intensified, even among the spiritually inclined.

A millennial-age religion journalist was later interviewed by a local radio station. Their first comment about the Supreme Court ruling was that their homosexual friends “were hurt” by the decision and felt “left out.” Forget the dozens of other options in Colorado for buyers of wedding cakes—and that the right of baker Jack Phillips to live out his religious convictions was at issue. Rather, the paramount concern for this journalist was “feels.”

Even though it’s impossible to go through life without being offended, the possibility that someone might take offense to the sharing of the gospel and its message of repentance—that to follow Christ, one’s attitude toward the sin in his or her life must and will, by definition, change—is apparently too much for some to bear.

“Let’s fix this, people.”

Response to the Barna findings was quick: Christian journalist and broadcaster Billy Hallowell took to Twitter: “I’m a Millennial and this is pure evidence of the failure of the church to prepare youths to understand faith/speak out. Beyond that, it’s also a result of the cultural crisis of secularism bombarding us at every turn. Let’s fix this, people.”

Samuel James, an editor at evangelical Christian publisher Crossway and who also writes for First Things magazine and The Gospel Coalition website, also expressed his views via Twitter: “‘Evangelism is wrong’ is a sentiment that comes straight out of the university classroom. It’s the ethos of diversity agendas and comparative religion classes,” he wrote. “The data here strongly suggests that Christian millennials are being catechized by their colleges, not churches.”

The challenge presented by education at secular colleges, and even some Christian campuses, that deflects evangelical fervor among young adults is hardly new. Years ago, a Christian leader addressed educators and emphasized that it wasn’t unreasonable for parents in the denomination to send their children to a denominational school and expect those kids to return as faithful members.

An age-old dilemma

Ironically, the issue of Christ’s message being at odds with society’s thinking is far from a new dilemma. The apostle Paul, in dealing with the church at Corinth, had to remind believers there that the world’s philosophies were often at odds with that of Jesus.

He wrote, “Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ [is] the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:22–25).

As a believer, you have probably observed how a crucified Christ is indeed “foolishness” or “a stumbling block” to those outside the faith. That has not lessened the need to share with anyone, but it explains the difficulties many have in responding. Fortunately, for the believer, it is the responsibility of God the Holy Spirit to convict hearts and to bring them to the foot of the cross. All we are asked to do is witness when and as we can.

Note, please, that it’s up to each believer to do the witnessing, to the extent that we are able. Pastor Doug Batchelor, in an article called Be A Witness: A Personal Passion for Evangelism, noted that the church has grown the most in areas where there are few pastors. What attracts interest is members sharing with others, he wrote.

Read his article and let it kindle a desire in your heart to go out and share God’s message with those in your family, at work or school, or with those you meet in other situations. Amazing Facts has a wide range of media dealing with evangelism—all free of charge. If you truly want to amp up your approach to witnessing, check out the Amazing Facts Center of Evangelism. Through in-person classes, expected to resume in the Fall of 2019, and online programs (available now), you’ll learn how to share your beliefs with others, and to do so with confidence.

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