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My Take: Why evangelicals should stop evangelizing
Carl Medearis with Sheikh Nabil Qawouk Hezbollah’s number two leader.
July 24th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

My Take: Why evangelicals should stop evangelizing

Editor's Note: Carl Medearis is an international expert in Arab-American and Muslim-Christian relations and is author of the book Speaking of Jesus: The Art of Not-Evangelism.

By Carl Medearis, Special to CNN

Let’s do an exercise. I want you to fill in the blank on what you think you know about me based on what I’m about to tell you.

Here goes: Twenty years ago, I became a missionary. My wife and I left our home in Colorado Springs, Colorado to move to Beirut, Lebanon. Our job description was to plant churches and evangelize to Muslims.

Based on what I just said, Carl Medearis is a ______________ .

Depending on your background, the blank may look something like this:

Carl Medearis is a... hero of the Christian faith, a saintly super-man willing to sacrifice the comforts of home in order to share the love of Jesus Christ with those who have never heard the gospel.

Or this:

Carl Medearis is a... right-wing extremist who destroys cultures, tears apart families and paves the way for neo-colonialist crusaders to invade, occupy and plunder the resources of local populations.

Quite a range, isn’t it?

For one group of people, the words “evangelist” and “missionary” bring to mind pious heroes performing good deeds that are unattainable for the average Christian. For another group, those same words represent just about everything that’s wrong with the world.

I understand the confusion.

Based on my experiences of living and traveling around the world, I know that religion is often an identity marker that determines people’s access to jobs, resources, civil liberties and political power.

When I lived in Lebanon I saw firsthand how destructive an obsession with religious identity could be. Because of the sectarian nature of Lebanese politics, modern Lebanese history is rife with coups, invasions, civil wars and government shutdowns.

When I tell my Christian friends in America that some of the fiercest militias were (and are) Christian, most are shocked. It doesn’t fit the us-versus-them mentality that evangelism fosters, in which we are always the innocent victims and they are always the aggressors.

This us-versus-them thinking is odd, given that Jesus was constantly breaking down walls between Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, men and women, sinners and saints. That’s why we have the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Jews in Jesus’ day thought of the Samaritans as the violent heretics, much the same way that Christians think of Muslims today. The idea that a Samaritan could be good was scandalous to first century Jews.

Jesus was the master of challenging religious prejudice and breaking down sectarian walls. Why do so many Christians want to rebuild those walls?

Even the Apostle Paul insisted that it’s faith in Jesus that matters, not converting to a new religion or a new socio-religious identity.

What if evangelicals today, instead of focusing on “evangelizing” and “converting” people, were to begin to think of Jesus not as starting a new religion, but as the central figure of a movement that transcends religious distinctions and identities?

Jesus the uniter of humanity, not Jesus the divider. How might that change the way we look at others?

This is more than just a semantic difference.

When I used to think of myself as a missionary, I was obsessed with converting Muslims (or anybody for that matter) to what I thought of as “Christianity.” I had a set of doctrinal litmus tests that the potential convert had to pass before I would consider them “in” or one of “us.”

Funny thing is, Jesus never said, “Go into the world and convert people to Christianity.” What he said was, “Go and make disciples of all nations.”

Encouraging anyone and everyone to become an apprentice of Jesus, without manipulation, is a more open, dynamic and relational way of helping people who want to become more like Jesus — regardless of their religious identity.

Just because I believe that evangelicals should stop evangelizing doesn’t mean that they should to stop speaking of Jesus.

I speak of Jesus everywhere I go and with everyone I meet.

As founder and president of a company called International Initiatives, my work is aimed at building relationships among Christian leaders in the West and among Muslim leaders in the Middle East.

It may come as a surprise to many Christians that Muslims are generally open to studying the life of Jesus as a model for leadership because they revere him as a prophet.

But now that I’m no longer obsessed with converting people to Christianity, I’ve found that talking about Jesus is much easier and far more compelling.

I believe that doctrine is important, but it’s not more important than following Jesus.

Jesus met people where they were. Instead of trying to figure out who’s “in” and who’s “out,” why don’t we simply invite people to follow Jesus — and let Jesus run his kingdom?

Inviting people to love, trust, and follow Jesus is something the world can live with. And since evangelicals like to say that it’s not about religion, but rather a personal relationship with Jesus, perhaps we should practice what we preach.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Carl Medearis.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Interfaith issues • Opinion

soundoff (3,792 Responses)
  1. RCinSC

    Wonder what people say about you, Carlos? Are you making a difference in this world or just taking cheap shots at people who at least bellieve in and stand for something? I get frustrated by the many people who like to anonymously criticize others while sitting around doing nothing.

    July 25, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
  2. erman

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHAWoEBg64w&w=640&h=360]

    And nearly 99.99% of the Sikhs in America and Canada are the only one who wear Turbans on their heads

    July 25, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • Amit-Atlanta-USA

      Thanks for this great educative piece! But, if I were a Sikh cabbie or a gas station attendant etc. where I would come in contact with general public a lot I would have a notice stating that "I AM A SIKH AMERICAN; I AM NOT A MUSLIM". Surely that will avoid situations like the ones faced by many Sikhs after 9/11.

      July 25, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  3. lisa

    How does everyone feel about the Muslims spreading to places in the word that are unfortunate.. does that make you feel confortable??

    July 25, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
  4. someone

    How about this,for you is your religion,and for me is my religion. Happy ^_^

    July 25, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
  5. Bible Clown

    Wow, a huge rush of evangelicals doing exactly what he told you not to do. What are the odds?

    July 25, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • RCinSC

      "Told" not to do? really? Who is this guy and why should anyone pay attention to him...or you? How about we "tell" the terrorists to stop killing innocent people...think they'd listen? Get real.

      July 25, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  6. Ritesh

    All religions preach peace. It is absolutely not necessary to convert from one belief to another for peace. I am a Hindu and I find peace in my religion and my girl friend finds peace in being atheist. She finds peace in not following anyone.

    July 25, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • Amit-Atlanta-USA

      I am aethiest myself, but profoundly believe in the positive aspects of all religions, except one! The greatest litmus test of the peaceful nature of followers of all these religions (except one!) is that they NEVER EVER CONDONE as a group acts like the ones perpetuated by the Norwegian shooter, or Timothy McVeigh, or even the Hinu=dus fanatics who killed Christian missionaires in the Indian state of Orissa. No true believer (except TRUE believers of one religion!) allows killing of another human being just b'coz they are not like themselves.

      Amit-Atlanta-USA

      July 25, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • Amit-Atlanta-USA

      I am atheist myself, but profoundly believe in the positive aspects of all religions, except one! The greatest litmus test of the peaceful nature of followers of all these religions (except one!) is that they NEVER EVER CONDONE as a group acts like the ones perpetuated by the Norwegian shooter, or Timothy McVeigh, or even the Hindus fanatics who killed Christian missionaries in the Indian state of Orissa. No true believer (except TRUE believers of one religion!) allows killing of another human being just b'coz they are not like themselves.

      Amit-Atlanta-USA

      July 25, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
  7. Abdul Ameer

    Are Christians supposed to stop preaching the Gospel when the Gospels clearly say: "Go forth and preach the Gospel to every living creature"?

    And, if you admonish Christians to stop proselytizing to non-Christians, shouldn't you also tell Moslems to stop proselytizing to non-Moslems? What's sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander.

    July 25, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • chipdex

      I don't think he's saying that the Gospel shouldn't be preached, but that the Jesus is the Gospel, "christianity" is not.

      July 25, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • satanlovesvulva

      Note to: Abdul Ameer the verse that you are quoting goes like this " 16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

      I want you to keep in mind that the very beginning of verse 16 helps to explain who exactly this jesus was talking to and also what period in time this was to take place. Also, keep in mind that the people that this jesus was talking to were fellow jews and were not gentiles or members of any other ethnicity. You and the rest of this so called christendom have misinterpreted this verse for the past 2000 years. The verse does not say that this commission that they were given had to be carried out for next thousands of years. The commission was carried out already and if you know anything about what this ridiculous book that you people call the bible you will now that the apostle paul alrady settle this debate when he said in the book of colossians 1:23 " if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant."
      As you can see, this gospel that you heard and that as been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. Hopefully this piece of information will help you resolve the inaccurate information that you've received. satan the vulva lover has left the building.

      July 25, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • Amit-Atlanta-USA

      I have several Evangelicals come to my doorstep and hand me a copy of the Bible and preach the Gospel. Being a Hindu myself, I have NO PROBLEMS WITH THAT! I just tell them politely that I am happy with being a Hindu and I have enormous respect for Christianity, celebrate Chrsitmas, and consider Lord Jesus as the Son of God just as Christians do.

      MY ONLY ISSUE WILL BE IF THEY COME TO MY DOORSTEP, CALL ME AN INFIDEL & THREATEN TO BE-HEAD ME IF I DON'T CONVERT OR PACK MY BAGS & LEAVE! That's what helpless MINORITIES face everyday in Muslim countries!

      Amit-Atlanta-USA

      July 25, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
  8. Gerg

    What tempers religious fantacism in the West is that we live under a generally acecpted set of laws, morality and ethics. And, perhaps it is a good thing that the West is "tainted" with materilism, because there is a lot to lose there. Laws and the loss of worldly goods, for better or for worse, helps to temper our actions. However, those feelings of who is better, who is superior; of who has the best religion; the condescending and arrogance of Western religion - to include violence and murder - abortion clinic bombings; assasination of abortion doctors; etc., etc... remain icons of Western religious fanaticism...

    July 25, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      Hello Gerg and bloggers,

      Gerg wrote; "However, those feelings of who is better, who is superior; of who has the best religion; the condescending and arrogance of Western religion – to include violence and murder – abortion clinic bombings; assasination of abortion doctors; etc., etc... remain icons of Western religious fanaticism..."

      These "Icons" I dare hope are negative icons of Christendom's Semi-Suited Revelations of the New Age Times.

      July 25, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
  9. Jeff

    Evangelism is not about how rough their life might be before they die... its about what happens after they draw their last breath. Telling people of Jesus is a unifying hope. Not to unify us for the few pathetic years we have here during this life, but for the rest of eternity. I'll continue to love my unsaved friends and continue to try and show them the path to heaven. You think religion is a dividing thing, try chatting up the cute girl next door when one of you is in heaven and the other in hell. Talk about a long distance relationship.

    July 25, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  10. Brian Mortimer

    Are you kidding me?
    What is it with people today?
    I do understand how offensive and pushy some people can be but why are people so affraid of engaging in a discussion involving any part that says somethhing to the effect of "I think that this would be good for you." Maybe I shouldn't mention anything about nutrition at work. It might feel like I am actually suggesting that someone should change their diet in some kind of way. Don't we live in a country where different opinions being expressed is a good thing. Aren't you in fact evangelizing your idea that we should all keep religious ideas to yourself. The very essense of not expressing any opinion I have about the events that happened 2000 years ago would be denying the very essense of what I believe. You might disagree but you don't define what Christianity is do you? You can dissagree with me all you want but when you say Christians should stop telling people about there faith you're stepping on ideals that make this country what it is. You can have a rant rave about all these offensive things that someon who called themself a Christian did but that does not ...at all...change any truth to the message of the original messenger and doesn't disprove anything. Believe it or not personally don't think that calling ourselvse a "Christian nation" makes any sense although it is a nation that, more then any other religion, peple idetify with. Retoric like yours is obviously an over sensittivity to Christianity. There are plenty other religious faiths who share thier faith with others. Any opinions that involve the philosopy of "live and let live" are ok but anything other then that people need to shut up right?

    July 25, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • Jeff

      "You can dissagree with me all you want but when you say Christians should stop telling people about there faith you're stepping on ideals that make this country what it is..."

      So where does the concept of religious freedom come in? The ideals of this country are NOT based on telling people about your faith – the ideals of this country are based on allowing me to select the religion I choose and to not be prosecuted or singled out because of my choice. America's purpose is NOT to spread any religion at all – it is to allow those who wish to choose, the freedom to do so. When you begin telling me that I should believe in 1 religion or another (or any form of religion at all), you are trampling on the notion that I have choice. Stop pushing your views on other people – let them come to you. What a concept, eh?

      July 25, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • chipdex

      I can't tell if you are replying to the article itself or another comment. Carl is not saying people don't have right to talk about whatever they want, he's just encouraging "christians" to try to point people to Jesus, and make him the main thing, not this cultural/religious/social/political thing called "christianity". If you are a christian, one would assume that you believe that Jesus brings life and light. If you believe that Jesus is the way, talk about Jesus, point people to Jesus. Why bother doing anything else?

      July 25, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • jmpgfoto

      You hit the nail on the head. We are not talking about ancient history and Christian militias of the time, we are talking about islamic terrorism. Freedom means that you can go out and spread the gospel, if people listen fine, if they do not it is also fine but not a cause to make jihad against those who truly believe in what they say. Muslims do not want to engage in discussion they only want their religious laws and beliefs enforced on the rest of the world and if it takes violence for them to FORCE the rest of use to go along with them and to convert to Islam then that is what they will do. Seems pretty one sided to me. So, since Islamic law seems so alien and unfair to us westerners I guess we should have the right to proclaim open season on muslims and shoot them on sight, does that sound any more reasonable than the arguments made in this persons opinion piece? I am not a right wing militant, quite the contary but I am tired of people saying that we need to appease the poor mistreated arabs (and others). I say maybe we should have a jihad of our own, an eye for an eye, etc.

      July 25, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      Hello Brian and all readers,

      The "religious Indemnifications" are an Abundance of Life as Christ did a long Time Ago state. For anyone to have Life and have it more abundantly one needs to see within the depths of understanding with clarity just what Christ Jesus did mean. Did He mean a fullness of living the "good life" or something more deep like having grain or salt more abundantly whereupon this, "having Life more abundantly is incarnation after incarnation ad infinitum.

      July 25, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
  11. Soulsnagger

    No offense to your deeply held and commendable desire to unite mankind – but the truth is that Jesus said "I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the father but by me." You might think of Jesus as a uniter but it is exceptionally clear that he taught that he was the only way to God. Don't let your humanism interfering with your relationship with God.

    July 25, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • chipdex

      How is what Carl wrote here in conflict with Jesus' statement about being the Way, the Truth, and the Life? I don't see any conflict.

      July 25, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • Bruce

      Jesus didn't say you needed to convert to Christianity in order to come to the Father by him. When he said those words, some fundamental tenets of Christian belief (e.g. the death and resurrection of Jesus) were not even true yet.

      July 25, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      god or God or GOD,,,, Of These 3, which do you see as being the All Mighty and which is the All Lowly and which is just right within the middle?

      July 25, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • Soulsnagger

      Chipdex

      The author says Christians should quit evangelizing – stop trying to convert people to Christianity. If he is a follower of Jesus and Jesus specifically claimed to be the only way to God – he not following his own mandate. He is also depriving those people of the opportunity to find the only way to God.

      July 25, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • Bruce

      Soulsnagger–converting to Christianity is not the only way to follow Jesus, or to come by Jesus to the Father.

      Jesus praised the faith of the Centurion (Matthew 8:1-13), who did not convert to Christianity in that story. How is your faith, compared to the Centurion? My guess is not even close.

      July 25, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • Soulsnagger

      Bruce – Jesus never said you had to become a "Christian." The word had not been coined at the time he walked the earth. He merely said he was the only way to God. His sacrifice of himself to atone for the sins of mankind bridged the gap between God and man and allowed man access to God. This is the essence of true Christianity. Jesus understood his roll and was well aware of his impending death and the reasons for it. He spoke about it to his disciples often. When he said he was the only way – he already knew that his death would accomplish what mankind is unable to do for himself. No amount of good works, or believing in prophets can accomplish what Jesus did. All religions, except Christianity, are based on human efforts to become good enough to get to God. Jesus offered the exception – God crossing the divide to reach man.

      July 25, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • Charge Nurse Betty

      Richard S Kaiser
      There is a pill for that.

      July 25, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Bruce

      If what you say is true, Soulsnagger, then it is not necessary to convert to Christianity in order for Jesus to save you.

      Equally true, if what you say is true, is that converting to Christianity is no guarantee of Jesus saving you.

      July 25, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • Soulsnagger

      Bruce – Interestingly enough, I agree with you to an extent. You are thinking about Christianity as a religion rather than a relationship with God through Jesus. There are a large number of people who call themselves "Christians" to whom Jesus will say "I never knew you." In fact, he said that himself. A relationship with Christ is not inherited from your parents, or granted by a church, or even the desire to do good. It is a heartfelt love of Jesus because of what he did for you when you didn't deserve it (and still dont'). It is a willingness to put God above yourself. It is genuine faith and love for others. So, yes the Centurian was a true Christian because he had total faith in Jesus. And yes – many "Christians" are not guaranteed to find God because they are practicing religion rather than loving God.

      July 25, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • chipdex

      But don't you see soulsnagger – that now you are understanding Carl's point? His point is that the word "christian" doesn't mean the same thing to the rest of the world that it means to you. So rather than trying to explain to the world why so-and-so is not a "true christian" and other confusing things related to the word "christian", since the word itself is not central in the New Testament anyway, why not just point people to Jesus and not worry about the words "christian" or "christianity" at all? Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life right? Christianity is just not those things, Jesus is...right?

      July 25, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  12. NewsAnalyzer

    My fellow Evangelicals,

    1. In the last few years, I have visited a few "Third World Countries" and talked with the regular people in the streets.

    2. What is common about my discussion with these people is something similar to this: "Christians bring us needed food and medicine with their left hand and the Bible in their right hand".

    3. What caught my attention is that there is this feeling that the Christian Evangelicals give this impression that they take advantage of people's misfortunes/disasters/miseries (famine, disease, etc...) to "shove Christianity down their throat"

    4. This article brings a very good point that needs to be taught in many "Christian Evangelical Churches" right here in America.

    5. Personally, I think if you are helping others with a motive of "converting", I am not sure if GOD will accept your "good deeds" (kind of conflict of interest!)

    Peace, Love, and Freedom to ALL!

    July 25, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • jonathan

      hummm should I obey Jesus or this man? that is the question....Let me see , Jesus raised from the dead..this man,(ha! ha!) went to one of the toughest places in the world where a war is going on ...and without the Holy Spirit.. That 's the difference..between he and Jesus...they killed Jesus but their troubles with HIM were just beginning..soon there were more than a hundred twenty of him in Acts chapter 2...and he spread all throughout Israel and then into the Roman Empire...where for over two hundred years Christians without arms (weapons) remained steadfast and faithful , many entering into the faith knowing that they would be putting on the garments of persecution, and would die for being carriers of the truth...yet this loser brings his defeatist diatribe to cover up his failure ...He's still clean and pretty and his wife also no doubt.. God back Dude try it again...this time get yourself filled with the Holy Spirit and load up on righteousness..

      July 25, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • jmpgfoto

      What a foolish response. The people do not have to accept the aid if it is tainted by Christian beliefs and no one is making them to convert. I have also known missionaries when I lived in various parts of S.E. Asia, not all were that wonderful but I never knew any of them to demand conversion to Christianity in exchange for assistance. THe local people in these areas told us that they appreciated the missionaries VERY MUCH but did not necessarily accept all of them beliefs. No one ever told me they felt pressured to convert to Chrisitanity. For the arabs/muslims what I have seen many times is that they love to whine about persecution and being misunderstood which they seem to think means they can take our food and assistance with one hand and stab us in the back (literally) with the other hand. Their jihads by any civilized standard are immoral and against the rules of any humane religion. I say just let them eat sand, drink oil, and die in the desert until they are willing to become reasonable, humane, human beings instead of animals who feast on the kindness of others and then kill them.

      July 25, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
  13. Michael

    What is wrong with his teeth? Is he wearing braces?

    July 25, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  14. Rainer Braendlein

    Carl Medearis should be catapulted to the very edge of the universe!!! (don’t take it literally!)

    He has absolutely no notion of Christianity! (or he is an impostor by intention)

    Why?

    There is a very old holy scripture, called Thora. The Thora includes the book of Genesis. Genesis includes a very interesting story called: Isaac, Ishmael and the faith.

    Genesis 12: 1-4:

    1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

    2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

    3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

    4 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram [was] seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.

    July 25, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      continuation:

      The story begins with Abraham (Abram), who was 75 years old at the time, when God encountered him first time.

      After first encounter with God up to Chapter 15 of Genesis Abraham had done a lot of live and gradually started to wonder, how God wanted to make him a great nation, because he had not yet got a son (Abraham felt, he didn’t became younger. Should a doter conceive a child?):

      Genesis 15: 1-4:

      1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I [am] thy shield, [and] thy exceeding great reward.

      2 And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house [is] this Eliezer of Damascus?

      3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.

      4 And, behold, the word of the LORD [came] unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.

      Abraham was about to become impatient and thus God the Almighty encouraged and comforted him. He should just wait a littile and God would keep his promise to give him a son.

      July 25, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      continuation:

      Sarah (Abraham’s wife) was not as patient and faithful as her husband and gave him her maid to conceive a son (Abraham had reached now an age of 85!)

      Genesis 16: 1-4

      1 Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name [was] Hagar.

      2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.

      3 And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.

      4 And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.

      Genesis 16: 4 is one of the most important verses of the Bible, because here begins the struggle between the people of law and the people of faith. The people, trying to keep the law by own strength, will always persecute the people, which believe that they get the power for living a good life (not conflicting with the law) from above.

      Hagar (Sarah’s maid) laughed down her mistress. That is outrageous and a strong evidence that Hagar was no, no, no believer. If Hagar had been a believer, she had encouraged Sarah and had told her: My beloved mistress, just wait a little and the God of Israel will keep his promise and give you a son.

      July 25, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      continuation:

      This conflict between Sarah and Hagar is the very beginning of the struggle between the faithful people on earth and the disbelievers (the people, trying to keep the law by own strength, are in fact disbelievers, because they don’t acknowledge that they are not able at all to keep the law by own strength).

      Abraham was now 86 years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael.

      13 years after that (Abraham was now 99 years old), God appeared again and strengthened him for the last stage of one year until he sould get the son of faith.

      Genesis 17: 1-5:

      1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I [am] the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.

      2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.

      3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,

      4 As for me, behold, my covenant [is] with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.

      5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.

      July 25, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • Jeff

      I hate to distill all of your postings into a single, (and I apologize...) trite statement, but what if I told you I didn't believe in the bible and that, to me, it was a story with no more spiritual significance than the latest edition of Rolling Stone? All of the proverbs and stories referenced IMMEDIATELY are lost on me...

      at that point, from where do you begin your retort? If you could not rely on the bible for your positioning, what would you rely on? Your faith, right? Your inner belief in God and your perception of the world, right? That would be my equivalent to your bible...my own rational and personally developed opinions, thoughts, etc...so why is it so hard to start from there instead of a book?

      July 25, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  15. David

    If this man was following the madate of Matthew 28 Where Jesus said to go out into the world and make disciples of all nations, CNN would definately not put this news on their website. CNN is very anti Jesus and they prefers moral relativism.
    Jesus is the ONLY way to Heaven. One day He alone will judge all people and nations. He is a righteous Judge that cannot allow sin into Heaven. We all have this disease called sin. Only Jesus can forgive your sin. Receive Him today. Ask Jesus to be the Lord of your life. Turn away from sin and toward the Lord. He alone can save you from your sins. Jesus said "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me". John 14:6. Jesus spoke of Hell more times that He did Heaven. That is because He didn't want anyone to end up there. There is no name under Heaven by which we can be saved. Today is the day of Salvation. Please turn to Jesus today. Eternity is Forever. Forever. Today is the day.

    July 25, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      Christendom Propogandisms run deep in Selfless Denials of the Otherly. The Gods and Goddesses are going to have their Ways regardless of GOD and They; the Sons and Daughters of GOD Do No More Evangelize GOD or Even Themselves upon our Domain!

      July 25, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • Bruce

      John 14:6 is a quote from Jesus before his death and resurrection. If it was true then, then it is true now. If it was true then, and true now, then one need not believe Jesus died and was resurrected in order to come to the Father by him. Therefore you need not be a Christian in order to be saved by the Christ.

      July 25, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
  16. CarlM

    I paid a lot for these braces and by God you all are going to LOOK at them!

    July 25, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  17. No Dhimmi

    This man is the 21th Century version of a Dhimmi. He is standing next to a Shia Cleric with a photo of Mohktar Al-Sader in the background. His brand of Islam is as ruthless and oppressive as Wahhabi and Salafi Islam in Saudi Arabia. In Sharia, Islamic Law, Christians and Jews have restrictions placed on their ability to practice their religion. He is essentially telling Christians to restrict their sharing of the Good News of Jesus Christ to Muslims. He is, politely, asking us to see how we have been the instigators of some of the problems in the ME because we speak of Jesus. Perhaps he should visit a website http://www.saintstephenfoundation.org and see how his fellow Christians are being persecuted and killed in the ME. I would like him to explain to me why it is acceptable for Muslims to come to the West and have the freedom to build their Mosques, Cultural Centers, Schools and have Sharia based finances available but Christians and other religious minorities in the ME and other Islamic countries are denied the same freedoms. Why don't you tell Muslims to stop their Daw'ah of the West. This man is a hypocrite and very foolish.

    July 25, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • Ignorance is NOT bliss

      You're ignorance of who that person is in the picture just showed how ignorant and unreliable your paragraph is. First thing, the man's name is Moqtada Alsader, and the man in the picture is Hassan Nassrallah, two completely different people. If you can't identify that, then you have no basis of argument that this religion they follow is a Wahabbi form of Islam. 59% of Lebanon follows Islam, while 39% are Christians. I don't think that is inflicting on anyone's freedom of religion. May I also point out that Egypt has a population of over 9 million Christians, Syria of 2 million and Saudia Arabia, the "Islamic base point of the Middle East" has over a million Christians. Both Muslims and Christians were living fine and peacefully for the past 2 thousand years.

      July 25, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • jgwes

      I agree 100% with everything you said!!!

      July 25, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  18. Sting

    Christians will continue to preach Christ words; Jews will continue to spread what they believe is true from the Tanaj; and Muslims will continue to try convincing the world with "wisdom of the merciful prophet". Nevertheless, the three of them, faithful to their roots, will continue bombing, invading, raping, and brutalizing any and everyone who refuses their 'wise and loving' deity. Since crimes are committed in God's almighty name, those are not actual crimes, right? Spreading fire and steel in God's name is always justifiable, isn't it? But, since Islam and Christianity are branches to the bloody tree of Judaism, thence the cornerstone of the problem is that the God is the same for the three religions and their basic, founding beliefs, are in essence the same. Should thence a branch be removed from the tree or should the entire tree be taken down from its roots to cure the disease?

    July 25, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  19. Carlos

    Well said Brotha! You just said what I have been saying about right-wing evangelicals for years.

    July 25, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  20. Wayne Hanson

    Paul was beaten many times for trying to convert the lost.

    July 25, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.