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. Beatrice

    Why are non-Christians creating havoc in the West? Christian Europeans and Christian Americans deserve peace because the wellness of the West is due to them. Too many parasites, especially the atheists.

    July 25, 2011 at 3:04 am |
    • badchecker

      The number of secular atheists is only more abundant in Westernized societies. Our gun toting, massively conservative and religious society over in the United States is the anti-thesis to what every other westernized country stands for. As far as per-capita beliefs and standards, we have more in common with the average middle eastern country than Europe. What was your point again? Basing morals off of out-dated, invalid books written when society knew nothing of todays freedoms and standards? Oh right - totally reasonable...

      July 25, 2011 at 3:11 am |
    • Spiffy

      That way of thinking is the true parasite on the West.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:11 am |
    • bmc

      "Basing morals off of out-dated, invalid books written when society knew nothing of todays freedoms and standards? Oh right – totally reasonable..." LOL Yea, we monkeys sure have evolved. Where did our truths come from? Oh, right...we just kind of figured them out along the way. There are no absolutes. Are you absolutely sure about that? A society that wants to create a utopia for everyone. Cause who's to judge. Oh, I seee the new freedoms in the future!!!!!

      July 25, 2011 at 3:40 am |
  2. Beatrice

    Christians need to keep evangelizing; the world needs it. Muslims should stop persecuting infidels and secularists should stop imposing immorality.

    July 25, 2011 at 3:00 am |
    • tallulah13

      When I was a kid, we had a cat named Beatrice.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:01 am |
    • tallulah13

      She was a very stout tabby with a kinked tail. She was very dear to the whole family.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:02 am |
    • chris

      Atheists are corrupting america? according to who? you?

      July 25, 2011 at 3:07 am |
    • badchecker

      Christians need to keep evangelizing; the world needs it. Muslims should stop persecuting infidels and secularists should stop imposing immorality.

      Why? (prove it). Just saying Muslims should "stop" without addressing the fact they have as much validity to believe their religion as you do yours is hypocritical and an over-simplified non-answer. As far as your secularist crack; you're just asserting lies. You can't back that one up with anything. You are just a lying assuming SOB at that point.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:15 am |
    • More embarrassment for Dave

      Your keen intellect betrays you every time.

      July 25, 2011 at 5:24 am |
  3. lillypad

    Aside: The Fibonacci Sequence ~ The Golden Rule ~ Nature or God's Geometry?

    The Fibonacci Sequence (fractal patterns or spiral geometry or a pattern repeating out upon itself), can be found in nature, the human body, and the universe.
    The Fibonacci Sequence, named after Leonardo of Pisa, is a series of numbers that, after two starting values, each number is the sum of the 2 preceding numbers. A.k.a. the sequence repeats upon itself. The Fibonacci Sequence is fractal geometry or integral equation geometry or fractal pattern geometry…
    For example, 0+1=1;1+1=2; 1+2=3; 2 +3 =5; 3+5=8; 5+8=13
    Fibonacci was a mathmetician who noticed the Fibonacci sequence when studying the rate at which rabbits reproduce from generation to generation.

    A true Fibonacci Sequence keeps spiraling outward, the numbers never cease to increase (goes to eternity). The spiral represents the Fibonacci sequence and to me. The spiral is the symbol for ETERNITY. To me, the Fibonacci Sequence is like God's little thumbprint on the world that says, I created this.

    The Fibonacci Sequence (fractal patterns or spiral geometry or a pattern repeating out upon itself), can be found in nature, the human body, and the universe in the following items:

    1. Nautilus Shell
    2. The Sunflower
    3. The dendrites on a leaf
    4. The branches of a tree
    5. A pinecone
    6. Snowflake
    7. The human cell grows by following the Fibonacci Sequence
    8. Our heartbeat follows a fractal pattern, or Fibonacci Sequence
    9. The bones in your finger and hand – look at it – the first segment is 1 and the ratio after that of your bones in your finger and hand is 1:3:5:8
    10. A ocean wave = spiral = can be plotted out to follow the F.S.
    11. The spiral of the universe follows the Fibonacci Sequence, or Golden Rule.
    12. Our system of blood vessels follow this pattern – they repeat upon themselves getting smaller and smaller

    July 25, 2011 at 2:56 am |
    • tallulah13

      To me, it indicates that certain sequences are successful in nature and are inclined to repeat.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:04 am |
    • More embarrassment for Dave

      I can't explain it, -–> so god did it.

      July 25, 2011 at 5:26 am |
  4. bmc

    "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." Umm, please don't call these guys Christians, cause they aren't. Because you name the name of Christ, doesn't mean you are for Him. Bible says nothing about spreading the Gospel violently. But the muslim "militias" are only doing what their "holy book" says.

    July 25, 2011 at 2:52 am |
    • Spiffy

      The bible says that you should kill the nonbeliever. I'm not sure how you can get anymore violent.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:01 am |
    • bmc

      What Bible verse says that? Think you got it confused with the Koran my friend.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:05 am |
    • badchecker

      That's where you are wrong. You couldn't be more wrong in fact. Just because you want to label them as NOT Christians doesn't mean that they are not Christians. Christianity, like any religion is based off of "faith" which is only a fancy way of saying "subjective beliefs". Your Bible is just as valid as the Koran, the Torah or the Book of Mormom. Just because these Christians don't meet your standard of Christianity doesn't invalidate the point or article. Your perspective is simply that - just yours. You are not adding or validating anything to the greater conversation being had here.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:07 am |
    • Spiffy

      @bmc Deuteronomy 17
      If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant; 17:3 And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; 17:4 And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel; 17:5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:13 am |
  5. Dr. Talavera

    I believe that Mr. Carl Medearis has forgotten what the Gospel message is. The apostle Paul clearly stated: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16, KJV). We must bring the good news of Christ to all people who are in the darkness of religion and who must hear that in Christ there is forgiveness of sin and a new life. Once they understand the message they will follow Christ and leave their false religion behind as did the believers in Thessalonica. “For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;” (1 Thessalonians 1:9, KJV). We must evangelize and follow Christ and His example as did the Apostle Paul.

    July 25, 2011 at 2:47 am |
    • Honey, AvdBerg is at the door again.

      Just pretend we're not home.

      July 25, 2011 at 5:28 am |
  6. james

    The baller jesus said. "Do not think I come to the world for peace, I do not come for peace, but with a sword. daughter against mother, son against father, inlaw against inlaw" The sword is not a litteral sword, it means division. The sword of god is his word, his word causes division, and division leads to wars. If you convert to christianity in the middle east, you better believe your family wil be against u. This little missionary needs to quit being politically correct. Atheist hate us, muslims hate us, ext. It's the way it is. God came with a sword(division), and if you take up the calling be prepared not to be loved by the world.

    July 25, 2011 at 2:46 am |
  7. cda76er

    Carl Madearis means well, but he is naive about the way most Muslims view Jesus, Christians and Christianity and is being played by his Muslim "friends". It is not a coincidence that conversion to Christianity is prohibited in all Muslim-controlled countries. Any serious Muslim recognizes correctly that to "follow Jesus" is to reject Muhammed as the ultimate Prophet because it means acknowledging that Jesus is Lord and Savior. Any other sort of "following" is a rejection of the Jesus that the Scriptures present in favor of an imaginary Jesus. Muslims will be very friendly toward Christians and other non-Muslims (and agreeable up to a point) either in the hope of converting them to Islam or just to get along with them in situations where the Muslims are not in control. Madearis is right about one thing, though – evangelism is not supposed to be about "making converts" but about declaring the "euangelion" or Good News of what God had done in order to save us from the Judgment due us for our sinfulness. In other words, it is supposed to be about the Message, not about the messengers or the recipients. The Message will be welcomed by those to whom God gives "ears to hear" and these will be made into Christ's disciples by God Himself through His Spirit. But with most, the Message will be hated, either openly or quietly. There is no other option. Anyone who tries to soft-peddle the Message in order to avoid the latter distorts the Message.

    July 25, 2011 at 2:45 am |
  8. john

    If you really want to bring peace to this world, then please, learn the teachings of The Buddha and spread his teachings. On second thoughts, no, please dont spread the teachings. Learn them and practice them. If anyone asks you, then you can educate them about Buddhism.

    July 25, 2011 at 2:44 am |
    • Eistean

      Excellent comment, but it doesn't have to be limited to Buddhism does it? So many of the religions of the world have their core in the same ideas. Peace, understanding, love, hope, and forgiveness. Of course, you don't have to believe in any to be a peaceful, understanding, loving, hoping, and forgiving person, but it helps some people.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:49 am |
  9. lillypad

    With missionary work, I think the focus, for many missionaries is to bring the word of God into the world, but nobody can convert someone else's heart, only God does that. So really this guy is giving all missionaries a bad rep. You can't debate someone's heart into believing in God. You can try but really you can only present your opinion and then let them decide.

    So I don't see what the big deal is really with evangelicizing. There are missionaries out there of all faiths walking the globe! We all are adults with brains and hearts and minds and we can all decide for ourselves, which is a wonderful thing. Freedom of choice and religion is a wonderful thing. Let there be many faiths, let everyone everyone express their opinion and their faith. I'm a Christian and not threatened by others deciding for themselves. I let God be the judge. that way I don't have to worry. I will love others, including those who don't share my opinion because that is what I am called to do – love, not hate. What's the big deal folks? really?

    So I've done a little homework but it will take my whole life to learn what I want to about my faith and others. One thing I do know is God gives me the power to deal with the hardships in my life. There have been too many miracles in my life for it to all be left to chance. Buddhism is intriguing to me, however it does not move my heart to soften and forgive, for instance. It has deep wisdom in it for sure, however, I have found that Christianity is the only religion whose deity actually suffered in a human-like way & therefore can relate to us better. God is real and prayer is so powerful. Yes there have been religious wars but there have also been non-religious wars fought in the name of ideology that have killed millions upon millions – look at Pol Pot, etc.

    So it is true, all religious texts hold some power – and the bible has its own supernatural power. The words actual have the power to heal and change the world. The word of God never returns void, it always accomplishes what it needs to. Faith has changed my life and so many others. Check out http://www.iamsecond.com or listen to Dinesh DeSouza's "Answering Difficult Questions" – at http://freshlifechurch.com/freshlife/2011/audio/20110522.mp3

    Curious thing: check out the Fibonacci Sequence which is found in nature, the universe, and the human body... to me, this points to an intelligent creator. If you want to learn more google The Golden Rule in the body or the Finonacci Sequence on YouTube. Also known as fractal or spiral geometry, best represented by integral equations... a pattern that repeats upon itself.

    July 25, 2011 at 2:40 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      The fact that there are observed systems which display order in the universe, among them the ones you mention, and which also include Chaos Theory, many other examples of fractals, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractal), Arnold's cat map, Bouncing ball dynamics, Cliodynamics, the coupled map lattice, Chua's circuit, double pendulum, dynamical billiards, economic bubble, Hénon map, horseshoe map, list of chaotic maps, logistic map, Rössler attractor, standard map, the Swinging Atwood's machine, and the Tilt A Whirl, does not justify the illogical leap, (god of the gaps fallacy), to "God did it".

      July 25, 2011 at 5:46 am |
  10. RichardSRussell

    All religion is based on faith. Faith means believing something for which there is no evidence, and frequently in the face of substantial evidence to the contrary. This is a dumb thing for anyone to do.
    Yes, evangelists should stop evangelizing. They should spend some time instead THINKING about why they believe what they do. They will soon discover that there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever for their beliefs. None! Jesus (and, for that matter, God, Allah, Shiva, Gitchee Manitou, and humanity's thousands of other deities) are basically Santa Claus for adults. You might think Santa is fun and harmless for a 6-year-old, but what's your excuse once you've grown up and should know better?

    July 25, 2011 at 2:40 am |
    • Ted

      The evidence for God is all around us. Look at a DNA molecule. You think that formed by itself? Nah. Don't think so. Might as well think a Chevy Nova is floating in space somewhere, or a pipe wrench for that matter.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:49 am |
    • Josh

      DNA is your proof? Where is your that god created DNA? Prove it scientifically first, and then call it proof. You need to prove a god before you can prove god created anything, but that has been ever been established.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:06 am |
  11. KD

    It's really too bad that all religions don't have a "let's kill ourselves so we can meet God today" event.

    The world would instantly be transformed into a planet where there were only truly enlightened, intelligent humans. With so many people gone the rest of us wouldn't have as many resource issues and we'd probably be able to eliminate war.

    July 25, 2011 at 2:36 am |
  12. Jpdag

    I am not entirely sure what this guy is getting at, (stop evangelizing but keep talking about Jesus?), and I can't speak for "evangelicals" as a group, but there are several truths which are absolutely critical for Christianity because they were critical for Christ. It seems that the author may possible be fuzzy on a couple of them. (Hope I'm mistaken)

    1. Belief in Jesus Christ the Son of God is the one and only way to escape the penalty of the sin of which we are all guilty. See John 14:6, Romans 3:23 & 6:23 for Biblical background. Muslim "belief" in Christ as a mere prophet or role model is meaningless. One must both believe in who Christ is and believe in Christ himself for deliverance from sin. The book of James tells us that even the demons believe, and tremble. But only acceptance of Christ's sacrifice for us can save us from our just punishment. This is why Christians tell others about Jesus, and why christian doctrine is often despised. Call it evangelism or any other name, but the truth about Christ must be spread.

    2. The world system is under the sway of the Prince of the Power of the Air, better known as Satan (Ephesians 2:2), and thus is expected to oppose the message of Christ. Jesus speaks on this matter several times; one example being Matthew 10: 16-28. For this reason, Christians shouldn't concern themselves overmuch with what "the world" is ok with. Its understood that most are not ok with you telling them that they deserve eternal punishment and need to give their lives over to Jesus to escape it, but this is the truth nethertheless. It is God's power that convicts people, not our eloquence.

    3. Because of the above two fundamentals, it is inevitable that the Gospel with bring some measure of division. Jesus said, and I quote: "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." He was not, of course, saying that he wished widespread wars. (context makes this clear) He was, however, clarifying the effect that conversion would have on a person. Someone who forms a relationship with Christ will be an entirely new creature, and will therefore no longer agree with the popular world view. Christians should not, and really cannot be universalists or unitarians. Our concern is not creating a false truth that everyone can live with, but exposing the real truth for everyone to deal with or not as they choose.

    Just wanted to put those statements out in cyberspace for whoever may read them. Be well, and God bless.

    July 25, 2011 at 2:35 am |
    • Katy

      You sir, are an idiot and a moron. This is precisely why people hate Christians.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:47 am |
    • News Flash

      I see "Prince of the Power of the Air" is currently living in the air between your ears.

      July 25, 2011 at 5:49 am |
  13. Jacob

    Wow this was well said. Good job and I really like your take on this, it is always a good reminder for every follower of Jesus. 😀

    July 25, 2011 at 2:31 am |
    • Spiffy

      He basically says be an Evangelical but don't call yourself one.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:33 am |
  14. Eistean

    Or, you know, ignore the comment about tolerance and just keep attacking each other. I'm just hoping that by attacking someone who believes differently from you, you really just make your own argument look that much less stable.

    July 25, 2011 at 2:30 am |
    • Spiffy

      Civility is what I preach. Wish I could say the same for religion.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:32 am |
    • Eistean

      Spiffy, all you are arguing is that Jesus and God don't exist, and so anyone who believes must be wrong. Your combative arguments could show much more civility, or you could at least try and prove your own argument before demanding others prove theirs. Apart from that, this article isn't about religion. I'll try and take your viewpoint for a moment. Look at what it is claimed Jesus said. It is about loving your enemy, putting your fellow human before yourself, etc. Even without religion, and even if you don't believe he existed, are these ideas really worth arguing over?

      July 25, 2011 at 2:38 am |
    • Spiffy

      If having a differing opinion and asserting it is combative then I guess free speech is routed in violence. I do not argue against what Jesus preached. I argue against Christianity. The deformed monster that became of what Jesus preached. Except for the religious elements to the biblical Jesus I actually admire him.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:48 am |
  15. KD

    Religion is for people just smart enough to be able to think and just dumb enough to not want to think for themselves.

    It IS the opiate of the masses. If we don't destroy ourselves, maybe in another thousand years we'll stop using religions to justify hatred and mistrust of varying groups of humans. Maybe, we'll even start exploring the universe in a united manner. .. Nah we'll destroy ourselves in the next thousand years....

    July 25, 2011 at 2:26 am |
  16. A friend of Carl's

    I messaged Carl tonight with this:
    "Are you going to try to respond to all of the comments on CNN? Did CNN ask for Sheikh Nabil Qawouk's permission before publishing that photograph? If you keep preaching this Jesus stuff, somebody is going to get mad about it. ;)"

    He responded with this:
    "No I haven't even read any of the comments... And I won't respond... Just cant... and Sheikh Nabeel loves this stuff"

    Flame on.

    July 25, 2011 at 2:21 am |
    • Spiffy

      Carl is just pretending not to be an Evangelical.

      There is no proof of God's existence.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:23 am |
    • Dalon

      @ Spiffy. And a thousand years ago, there was no proof of viruses, bacteria, atoms, quarks and other sub-atomic particles. Those must not have existed either, until recently. Just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:43 am |
    • Spiffy

      Sure those things existed we have proof of them. They came from study and learning.

      Religion has come from thousand year old books that preach hate and fear.

      Anyone can make any ridiculous claim. Someone for instance can claim that an all powerful being controls everything. Or that unicorns exist. No one in their right mind would believe such nonsense. Why is that you believe in God? What has lead you to that conclusion?

      July 25, 2011 at 2:50 am |
    • tallulah13

      The problem with that argument, dalon, is that though humanity had no idea that those things existed, the evidence was already all around them in form of illnesses, infection and the substance of objects, etc. All these things were formerly attributed to god/gods, but now we know the actual reasons for these things, i.e. viruses, bacteria, atoms, quarks and other sub-atomic particles. This is the knowledge that calls the very existence of god into question. The fact is, there is not now, nor has there ever been any proof of any god at any time.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:00 am |
    • Dalon

      And the proof of a supreme being's existance is there too, for those who aren't so closed minded, that they refuse to look.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:10 am |
    • Spiffy

      Where is this proof?

      July 25, 2011 at 3:22 am |
    • tallulah13

      dalon, please indicate this proof. There is no scientific reason for a god to exist, but certainly a lot of evidence that if one did, he has as many failures as successes - a rather mediocre track record for an all-knowing, all-powerful being. The emotions of awe and wonder aren't proof; no emotional response can be. No personal anecdote can quality as proof. "I don't know how it exists, so it must be god" doesn't cut it, not when discoveries are being made every day.

      If you see god in the universe, that is your option. However, if you open your mind to science, you will realize no god was needed.

      July 25, 2011 at 3:37 am |
  17. C.O.

    I agree with Carl Medearis; however, I am concerned that he may have meant it in a gospel-diminishing manner. Jesus was and still is breaking the status-quo; however, the gospel, that through Him we come to the Father, that He is the Way, Life, and Truth, that He died in our place, the rule of God in mankind's "hearts" (therefore loving God first and loving others); this gospel is unfortunately going to look foolish to non-believing humans.

    July 25, 2011 at 2:17 am |
    • bmc

      I agree with you. Is this guy watering down things and telling people to follow Jesus because he was a good prophet but it's cool if you keep this muslim thing too? I agree we aren't trying to convert people to Christianity (religion) We are sharing the Gospel. (In Christ Alone)

      July 25, 2011 at 2:46 am |
  18. Roberto

    Interesting. Except for the part about Jesus existing.

    July 25, 2011 at 2:16 am |
  19. KIRK

    Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost

    July 25, 2011 at 2:13 am |
    • Spiffy

      So I guess God failed. Even he couldn't make disciples out of every nation. After all the apostles were given the gift of the holy spirit and the holy spirit is apart of the trinity.

      Do you have any proof of God's existence? Do you have any proof that Jesus ever existed? Do you have any proof that says that you are right and everyone else is wrong?

      July 25, 2011 at 2:22 am |
    • KD

      Caps really makes your statement mean more to me.

      July 25, 2011 at 2:23 am |
  20. Eistean

    This article is interesting. I never did understand why everything involved with human belief is so divisive. The Bible itself is nearly completely muddled with too much non-relating information. All the begats for example. But if one reads the words of Jesus,(how accurate the recordings are, is of course unknown), you don't come up with a bunch of rules to found a religion. You find simple guidelines of living life and putting others ahead of yourself. You don't have to believe Jesus is the son of God to believe that what he was talking about was good. Some people don't need religion, and that is perfectly all right. Some people find religion an important aspect of their life, and that is fine as well. I see a lot of comments on this wall either attacking people who believe, or attacking non-believers. if you care to disagree, it's perfectly fine, but don't just latch on to hateful arguments designed to attack your opponent. "Don't believe and you are going to hell" is unhelpful, as is "You are such a gullible idiot for believing in a lie". You don't have to believe in what Jesus was to be kind and courteous to your fellow human. Do you?

    July 25, 2011 at 2:10 am |
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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.