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. Anotherdayjustbelieve

    this article is nonsense...

    July 25, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  2. Jean-Francois Morf, Charrat, Switzerland

    I recommend everybody to read the new testament in cartoons, its less boring...
    I miss the Koran in cartoon, especially the story of Aisha must be crispy...

    July 25, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  3. Hao Xuan

    "Inviting people to love, trust, and follow Jesus"...

    ...is still evangelism no matter what semantic redress is applied. Who does this guy think he's fooling?

    July 25, 2011 at 11:24 am |
  4. Don Camp

    "Inviting people to love, trust, and follow Jesus is something the world can live with." That is, of course, what we should do, but I have not observed that the world can live with that any more than it could live with Jesus. (Let's not forget that the world killed him.) As Paul later said the cross is an offense, no matter how gently we speak of it. It certainly is an offense to Muslims, who reject the death of Jesus for their sin. It is an offense to the growing cadre of anti-theists who feel that anything "Jesus" is like allowing the nose of the camel in the tent. It is an offense to all who think their own "good life" is sufficient. So how is it possible to speak of Jesus without potentially offending someone? Yet speak of him is what Christians are sent to do. And speak of him we will because there are those who do want to hear and will respond to the life he offers. So not evangelizing is not an option. Lives depend upon it.

    July 25, 2011 at 11:24 am |
  5. Akbar

    Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and finally Mohammed, besides others who came prior to Ahraham, peace be upon all of them, were prophets chosen by God to work with the people of their time in order to guide them to the right path that leads to the God being successful in the Hereafter. It is us, as human-being, who prefer the way of destruction by not listening to the teachings of these prophets accurately. If we talk about GOD, he described as "God is ONE and Unique, Who is Eternal (who has no begining or end) and Independent. He begets not nor was He begotten, and there is not for Him even one that is comparable". I think it suffices for anyone who seeks knowledge.

    July 25, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • Dam

      They are many psycopaths who also claim to be prophets today just these lying morons u quoted

      July 25, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • zzTop

      "... Mohammed, ... [a] prophet chosen by God to work with the people of their time in order to guide them to the right path that leads to the God ..." Ok, if god wants me to do a nine-year old as MY bride, wellllll, just saying, you know?

      July 25, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  6. Richard

    I'll stop evangelizing the love from true God when muslims quit killing innocents in the name of their god!

    July 25, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • U'Waana M'Deek

      Jesus was Gay!

      July 25, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • RainMaker

      Just because a person blows himself among innocent people and calls himself a muslims doesn't mean he is following Islam. I'll give you a BIG example. American realized that all men are created equally right around the 1960s 70s time. however George Washington took his presidential oath using the BiBle lonnnng time ago. Are you telling me that all that time not a single President since G. Washington had the guts to say that 'this isn't right and we are all equal. Are you going to blame the Bilble or the followers who don't understand what they follow????

      July 25, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • Lenten Willis

      Yes, because Christians would never kill or terrorize in the name of God.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • RainMaker

      @ Uwanna. If you were living among extemists arabs... you would be killed for saying that. But lucky you that you live in a civilized country?? right???( i have some doubts though by reading your statement). So would it be OK to question your upbringing? or is it too sensitive of a topic since your Parents would be responsible partially for what you just said. Please at atleast pretend to be civilized.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • RainMaker

      @ Lanten. When Galileo put forward his opnion, was he, by Church, allowed to give his opinion or was he put in the dungeon? When Luther spoke out, was he allowed to give his opinion or was he put in the dungeon. When Kalvin spoke our, was he allowed to give his opinion or was he put in the dungeon? Aren't you familiar with the INQUISITION? Don't blame the religion please. Blame the followers.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:38 am |
  7. U'Waana M'Deek

    There's a 'fix' coming to this religious craziness. We're going to legislate that ALL churches are businesses & must pay income taxes.

    Watch how quickly the churches disappear.

    All churches do is give people a place to go & hear the word of the devil disquised as the word of Gawd-DUH so they buy it.

    No tax exemptions for religious orders. If they get a tax break you & I have to make up the difference. THAT in & of itself violates the Consitutional ban on endorsing religion.

    And I always thought that Norwegians were really genetically connected to the Arabs.

    July 25, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • DamianKnight

      I don't think taxes will stop churches. Just saying.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:40 am |
  8. Dan

    Don't know about god, Christianity or Islam... but taking pictures, smiling, with a man being N2 in a well known terrorist organization is lame!

    July 25, 2011 at 11:21 am |
  9. Mitchell Eggers

    CARL – Since the very idea of the word "evangelize" is to share the good news and that being of Christ, how then would one make a disciple of Jesus without evangelizing? I think you are trying to dampen the Great Commission to go and make disciples of all nations. That cannot be done without sharing the good news of Christ. I'm afraid to say merely talking about Jesus without confronting a person about their sin and their "lost"ness will not get them into a relationship with Jesus Christ.

    July 25, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • U'Waana M'Deek

      Jesus is a donkey.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • H

      Confronting people about there sin? That makes me think that you are somehow perfect. Are you? If you are not then what right or power do you have to confront others about "their sin"? Check out that log in your eye first and learn to be humble.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:59 am |
  10. Geoz

    words words words. And all i see are religious people killing other people about their religion, then blaming the other side for being "wrong". Whatever.

    July 25, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • Richard

      Uh, excuse me? I understand your point about the senseless killing of Christians by mulims but, well, the Christians are killing who, exactly? The Buddhists are cool, and, in fact, most of all the other religions seem fairly quiet; like 800 years ago, it seems the muslims are the problem – again! My view: Reinstate the Knights Templar military order and arm them with state-of-the art weapon platforms; let God sort out his from theirs! Works for me. Amen.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:27 am |
  11. Joot

    Christians teach, preach, provide aid, etc. as the majority of their evangelistic efforts. Efforts that are aimed at demonstrating why non-Christians whould consider becoming a Christian. How do other religions evangelize? For that matter, don't political parties, workers' unions, ASCAP, Habit For Humanity, and other secular groups/organizations take the same approach?

    For the record, your "take" seems to indicate that you do not understand a basic (though usually misunderstood) tenet of the Christian faith: You, Carl Madearis, CANNOT convert anyone. To believe that you can or even convince someone to believe in Jesus Christ... it is a non-Biblical belief. While Christians cannot convert anyone, they ARE directed to evangelize. Does it not make sense? Is it logical? Remember,God's ways are not (and are greater) than man's ways..

    A second "for the record": Most people who claim to be Christians... aren't. Thus they do not behave as such. So their actions only serve to give Christianity "a black eye".

    July 25, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • JT

      Well said...

      July 25, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • Howard

      The issue is and continues to be disrespect for all faiths. I am tired of hearing about Jesus from Christians whom claim to know him and by their acts, clearly they do not. Christianity has caused more deaths and destruction of culture then most faiths. Look at South America. They burned the sacred books. Christians even burned their own texts. Sorry, but your religion is self righteous, spiteful and mean and completely lacking in compassion. You are kidding yourself if you think it has not been used as a hammer to enslave people. And please do not give us the "that is men, not God" argument. What you do in his name, he obviously lets you do if he is all powerful. Don't blame Satan. Satan is a Christian construct. Frankly, Islam and Christianity have more in common they most faiths as they are both black and white and require the destruction of the average person's frontal lobe to swallow.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • LB

      Very well said, Joot.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      Hello Joot,
      I am a lower-than-most Christian Fundamentalist. I say this because I believe in Gods and Goddesses, the sons and daughters of GOD and these Supreme Beings toward their Spiritual Demise is a Dilemma that Evangelism cannot fathom nor can be Reconnoitered with Evangelistic Revelries. My Thinking outside the boundaries of the Evangelical may not adhere to the "Great Commission".

      July 25, 2011 at 11:45 am |
  12. Preacher

    Matthew 28:19, 20 "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Acts 5:29 "Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men." Jude 23 "And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire..."

    A Christian is commissioned to evangelize by the Lord. He is our hightest authority. When you speak of Jesus you are evangelizing. Have you forgotten the scriptures? I can't convert anybody. That is the work of God:

    July 25, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • Geezer

      blah blah blah, your jesus can shine my shoes as long as he shuts up.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • Preacher

      We do the evangelizing and God does the converting
      1. I Corinthians 3:7 "So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God giveth the increase.
      2. Isaiah 55:11 "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."

      July 25, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      Hello Preacher,

      "Go therefore [fn] and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," is not what your depiction states. Which is correct? The verse that says; " teach all nations" or "make disciples of all the nations"?

      July 25, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • MIke


      July 25, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • Preacher too

      Preacher is correct...and I might add Christ's words in Matthew 10: 34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother,a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.'
      Its not pretty but we are also admonished in 1Pe 3:15 to speak the truth in '...gentleness and respect..'
      I think sometimes Christians forget this part.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • LB

      Excellent post!

      July 25, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Preacher too

      Teach and disciple is the same word in Greek used here: Matheteuo- the root word meaning:a learner, pupil, disciple

      July 25, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • Preacher too

      Geezer – Not only will he shine your shoes but he'll wash your feet....that's just the was He is.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      Hey Preacher person,
      How come that quotation is not even on the list of the even "probably authentic sayings" of the Jesus Seminar ?

      July 25, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Mike

      Probably because Wikipedia and the "Jesus Seminar" don't amount to perfect authority.

      July 25, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  13. Mike

    Interesting article!

    Jesus and the apostles set the example in obedience to the command to make disciples of people of all nations. They did go where the people were. And that includes their homes, on streets, in meeting places, anywhere they could find them. They used reason and not force to help people come to their own conclusions on questions of faith, and they did not resort to violence to get a point across. Not even once. Instead, they were willing to die themselves at the hands of people who felt that violence would win in the end.

    I love talking to others about what I believe. It's sad that the world can no longer tolerate talking about our beliefs without stirring up some ridiculous turmoil. It could all be so simple, really.

    No matter what conclusions men may reach, the best conclusion is to remain obedient and let God manage the affairs of government and the decisions of morality and what is right and wrong. I really love the point in this article to "let Jesus manage the affairs of the Kingdom." Until changed by his own word, I will have to remain obedient to the command to "make disciples," and continue in the true spirit of evangelizing.

    Viewpoints toward this may indeed change ... the law from men may change ... but as Peter and the apostles themselves said when confronted with people trying to force them to stop teaching and evangelizing: "we must obey God as ruler rather than men." – Acts 5:29

    July 25, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • Mike

      One more point I'd like to add as an addendum ... I love talking to Muslims! By and large, they are far more reasonable and eager to talk about their beliefs than most people who call themselves "Christian" in my experience.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:15 am |
  14. John

    Gozer – why so angry and jaded? Why focus on the one negative out of a thousand positive and use that as your life philosophy? Where do you learn to do that?

    July 25, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • gozer

      Unfair, eternal torture by your god is a big enough negative for any reasonable person to discard your religion immediately., Take your silly god stories and shove them.

      July 25, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
  15. Katie Morris

    I'm under the impression that in the Muslim religion Jesus is a prophet but in the Christian religion Jesus is our Saviour. The big difference comes when Jesus returns...in the Muslim religion he comes back and says he made a "mistake" and denounces Christianity ! That's what Christiand need to know when "mixing it up" with other religions. Be sure you know what the core beliefs are and don't get sucked into thinking we're all a brotherhood! The Muslims first rule of order is to convert all Christians to Muslims or the Christians will be killed!

    July 25, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • RainMaker

      This is not true at all. Please bring the verse and you should know the context and what the event was. Even quoting the verse isn't good enough. You must know why the verse was delivered and who specifically it is talking about. People today seems to know everything about other religion when they hardly open their own Holy Book in their entire life. Not a good start to bridge the gaps among us. sorry.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • justin

      Really? All Christians are gonna be killed by Muslims? Look thts the same extremist mentality that fathers intolerance and bigotry. Jesus does not and never did care about religion. He came to overpower religious thought. When we organize our spirituality and start labelling it we lose track of who we are. Great article

      July 25, 2011 at 11:27 am |
  16. Noah

    Religion is the old way. Time to step into the present and start living your life as Christ did, not preaching about what may or may not have happened.

    July 25, 2011 at 11:12 am |
  17. Bratty

    What Jesus said was Matt. 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. some times rebels and people who compromise twist things and make it what they want, one of the ten comandments I might add, the 1st one actually No other God before me, so this man is putting his own beliefs before what God says to do! Also the bible says, "Do no be conformed but be transformed by the renewing of our minds", we are not supposed to be all wishy washy with the what God says to do, or like the people in the world. We should stand out, and making stands, a true Christion does not want to see anyone leave this side of eternity without knowing that person made a desicion to receive what Jesus did for them on the cross. Evangelism is not about winning anyone to a denomination, but is about taking the gospel outside the four walls of a church building, and giving people a descision to receive the gift that Jesus gave, and have eternal life. That is what we need to be doing, not just philosiphying, and comparing religions! I might add Religious people are what killed Jesus, I will continue to tell people about what Jesus did for me, and giving them an oportuinty to ask Jesus into there lives, and repent. Thats the only hope for people, who cares about the rest, I want to take as many people to heaven with me as possible!!! No compromising, I would like to know why this man go away from what he was there to do an the mission field??? I can assume Rebelion. and Compromising, you see it all the time, its alot harder to stand firm, and not waiver, and to follow Christ, and what he tells us in his word, the WHOLE thing.

    July 25, 2011 at 11:12 am |
  18. RainMaker

    Thank you Carl for writing this and Thank you CNN for posting it. We must bridge the gaps among 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.”" This is exactly what is in ISLAM as well. We neet to open up the thought process of everyone among us and not focus on converting people. . Every single one of us should make his/her mission to bridge the the gap among us. People today don't even know the ABCs of other religions (and we landed on the moon half a century ago). Don't wait for a politician to come along and solve your problems relating to religious differences because THAT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. A simple 'hello' to somebody on the street is a perfect start. Talk about what is common among you and others instead of what is different. Especially Muslims, Christian and Jews should ask themselves that how can the Creator create its people and them tell to to fight each other. Your common sense should tell that it isn't true. Here comes the sensitive turn...... There are however dirty fish in each part of the world and their agenda tells them to make sure there are WALLS among people. They think that as long as the people are fighting, they can go about their agenda. I am not pointing at any faith. This is true in every religion. There are good and some bad people. My message to every individual is to challenge every dirty fish out there and say to the 'OVER MY DEAD BODY'. Once those fish realize that there is a sizeable amount of unity in people, they will not take another step forward. Like Tony Robbins says 'People are not really happy with their lives, but at the same time they are not UNhappy enough to do something about it". I take this message as don't wait for the time when you don't have a choice because it may be too late. We must act NOW. Talk to each other. Hope this helps. Peace~

    July 25, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • acts 431

      "That is exactly what is in Islam as well." Gee, let me see if I get this right. If you drive the exact model car that I drive and you are an excellent driver, that means I am an excellent driver as well.
      Please stop trying to make all religious beliefs that same simply because they share a few common denominators. Just because Islam and Christianity want to "make disciples" does not mean they are the same. Islam and Christianity are polar opposites of each other. Allah and Yaweh are both revered as God by Muslims and Christians, respectively. However, they are not described as the same type of God. For example, the Q'ran states that "It is impossible for Allah to have a son, for that would be against his nature." By contrast, the Bible states that Jesus is "the only begotten SON" of Yaweh.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • BT

      Jesus was teaching a New Commandment, something different than following the 10 commandments, and he absolutely was trying to convert people to follow the new teaching. He was not content to just talk to people. What you are missing is that in Matt 28:19,20 you are not reading far enough. Jesus went on to say "BAPTIZING" them..... Baptism = conversion. So no, Jesus was not just telling people to talk about him. It required that people 'strip off the old personality and put on the new one' which require actions. Only those who do so, and are BAPTIZED, according to the bible, are those who have the hope of being approved.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • RainMaker

      @ acts. You will meet Christians who say that the Bible was changed by people. But you would NEVER meet a muslims who will say that the Quran was changed. When I say that Christianity and Islam have the same message, i don't meantto point at the current altered bible floating around. I am talking about the bible given to Jesus. Unfortunately that Bible is on the most wanted list since nobody knows where it is. And Yes Bible and Quran are very very different in many ways because the bible was changed. but the message continues. Biggest Common ground is the One Creator. One of the biggest statements in the Bible is ' Hear ye O Israel, your Lord, Thy God is ONE!' Muslims believe the same. I cannot think of the biggest common ground than that. At least start there instead of forcing to find differences. What is that going to get you? More burden on the economy due to more wars?

      July 25, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  19. Dan

    Good article - although I still question the 'need' to talk about the Mythical Jesus from the bible everywhere you go. If I was to go out and talk about any given comic-book superhero (batman, superman, glenn beck, etc...) would people not question whether I was insane?? Religion causes far more problems than it solves and is the biggest con ever pulled.

    July 25, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • Bruce

      Dan, even if Jesus is as "mythical" as Zeus or Spiderman, there are good reasons to talk about his story. Look up Carl Jung and the idea of the Collective Unconscious and the importance of cultural archetypes. Jesus is a very important cultural archetype and needs to be understood in that light, whether or not he actually existed in history.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • Bratty

      There is more proof of Jesus, than there is that we all evolved from goo, or apes!

      July 25, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • James

      Mythical to you Dan, just like your single minded ignorance is "Mythical: to me

      July 25, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • BT

      Why in the world would you think that Jesus is mythical? Do comic book heroes have multiple historian writings about their lives? You cannot disregard multiple sources writing about the same person and say that the person did not exist.
      Actually I take that back. You can state whatever you want. But you sound just like the Iranian leader who denies that the holocaust happened, even with multiple sources of information about the events...
      Let me guess.... you are on his side with that and dont believe the holocaust happened either, arent you?

      July 25, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • Bruce

      BT, actually there is a very lively and active set of "historians" who debate constantly over "what really happened" when it comes to comic book stories, and what those stories ultimately mean in terms of an overarching narrative. You should see the stuff on Harry Potter...

      Give that body of "work" a few thousand years to fester and it could easily look more compelling than what we have in terms of contemporary "historians" of the Jesus story.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  20. flaynk

    Evangelizing = talking to others about Jesus. I don't understand "stop evangelizing but talk about Jesus". They are the same thing.

    July 25, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • DamianKnight

      There is a subtle difference between the two. Evangelizing comes with the intent on converting others to Christianity. Talking about Jesus is not the same. They "talk about Jesus" all of the time in theology and philosophy classes, but with no intent on converting. That's not evangelizing.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • Matt

      flaynk, you are correct. Thanks for stating the truth so succinctly.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • David, CA

      Or you could consider US "evangelicals" who traveled to Uganda to help draft the "Kill the Gays" bill. I don't see how that has anything about talking to others about Jesus, but a whole lot of psychotic lying to satisfy the deep desire bring harm and death to others. Jesus would likely vomit at the actions of todays "christians"

      July 25, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • Geoffrey

      In the article (did you read it) – he specifically said that the form of evangelizing he is talking about is conversion. Now if you want to talk to people about Jesus, recognize they may have something to tell you themselves. With respect to the authors experience in Lebanon, the Muslim traditions about Jesus are very interesting and if you have not listened before, far more involved and coherent with Christianity than you might think.

      July 25, 2011 at 11:21 am |
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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.