Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

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the motivation behind conversion

8/15/12

 

An interesting question for the evangelicals would be this: what is the motivation for conversion that you seek to establish through your teaching efforts. Are you trying to instill fear of God in order to motivate the hearer? Are you trying to convince them of the truthfulness of your message by sound argument? Do you believe that by merely repeating certain divine words in the presence of the hearer that somehow they will magically come to accept them as true without regard to their rationality? Is evangelism an exercise in persuasion, coercion, or supernaturalism? If it involves some mixture of two or more elements acting concurrently, one of which is persuasion through argumentation, then why does the church so assiduously avoid the questions which surround its message? If the purpose of evangelism is not persuasion by means of reason, then what purpose does the human messenger serve? More reasonably, the evangelical messengers would want to address the questions which trouble the hearers and thereby strengthen their argument and more effectively convince the hearers of their truth.

 

When one observes how the church most generally approaches evangelism, it is difficult not to conclude that they don't really try to convince anyone of the truth of their message. They cannot be in the persuasion business because their methods are not those of a seasoned persuader or marketer. If one is in the business of persuasion and effective marketing, the number one rule is not to treat your prospect with contempt. The church violates that rule routinely. Secondly, when the prospects have obvious issues with the product (message), it is imperative to deal with those issues quickly and effectively. In that regard, the church avoids and even condemns questions and questioners, treating them with the contempt I mentioned before.

 

No, it is just too obvious that the church and its evangelical mission is not about persuasion at all. They may pay lip service to the idea of having a rationally verifiable and therefore reasonable message, but in reality they rely on the other two possible motivations for accepting their truth: fear and supernatural intervention. Therefore, the church can never relinquish its insistence on eternal torment. It can likewise never give up the practice of endlessly quoting the scriptures, as so many magic words, which will perhaps seep into the mind of the hearers through some divinely assisted process, independent of the persuasiveness of the message proponents.

 

The so called Gospel is thereby reduced to the story of God's wrath and pending judgment coupled with the repeated recitation of selected scriptures whose church interpretation must be accepted and acted upon or else. Little or no effort is expended trying to convince the prospect, because he or she is probably willfully deluded and to the extent they become receptive it will result from God's intervention and not the effectiveness of the human messenger. We sow and God grants the increase, after all.

 

Thus, the practice of evangelism is largely an exercise which, though initiated by human intermediaries, must ultimately be completed by God. If God must get involved in an individual's motivation to convert, why does He need human agents to be involved in the first place? 

 

It's a mystery beyond all mysteries- this church sponsored salvation process. Maybe not.  

It's fairly easy to see that this kind of reasoning about evangelism makes the church's part much easier. They don't carry any mandate to be effective. They just indoctrinate and monitor the results with no real responsibility for the outcome and subconsciously no real motivation to evangelize at all.