Gandhi-Style Evangelism

Gandhi1
E. Stanley Jones, an American missionary to India, asked Gandhi what missionaries could do to make Christianity more accepted in India. He asked, “How can we make Christianity more naturalized in India, not a foreign thing, identified with a foreign government and foreign people, but part of the national life of India and contributing its power to India’s uplift? What would you, as one of the Hindu leaders of India, tell me, a Christian, to do in order to make this possible?”

Gandhi responded with great clarity and directness: “First, I would suggest that all of you Christians, missionaries and all, must begin to live more like Jesus Christ. Second, practice your religion without adulterating it or toning it down.  Third, emphasize love and make it your driving force, for love is central in Christianity.  Fourth, study the non-Christian religions more sympathetically to find the good that is within them, in order to have a more sympathetic approach to the people.”

Gandhi’s response beautifully captures how our efforts at mission and evangelism should be.  Sadly, it is not always the case.  Many times our evangelism efforts do more harm than good.

Here are a few ways we have gotten it wrong and what we can do to get back on track.

1)  We try to share our faith before we even have any.

I remember talking with a 13 year old girl who came to Chicago for a mission trip.  I asked her what she was doing.  She said, “I went downtown to evangelize the homeless!”  At first, I thought, “how sweet,” but then I thought, “how arrogant!”  First, why do we assume the homeless have no faith?  Second, most men and women on the streets have a lot MORE faith than you and I.  When was the last time we didn’t know where our next meal would come from?  When did we have to trust God for shelter or protection from the elements?  We may have good theology, but that is different from having faith.  Most of us don’t know what it really means to have faith in God.  Perhaps, we need to go sit at the feet of the homeless and learn from them how to have faith!

Related: Civil Disobedience and Discipleship to Jesus – by John Dear

2)  We focus on The Great Commission over The Great Commandment

The Great Commission does not supersede the Great Commandment.  Our mission is first and foremost: “Love God with all your heart and mind, and Love your neighbor as yourself.”  What we have done is divorce The Great Commission from the Great Commandment.  We falsely believe our commission to make disciples is separate from our commandment to love.  The truth is, we are commissioned to love–to proclaim and demonstrate God’s love.  To proclaim the gospel is to share the depths of God’s love for the world (AKA everyone). T he gospel is demonstrated through unconditional, sacrificial, cross-embracing love. The message and the medium is love.  The gospel of love has to become flesh, otherwise it’s not the gospel.  The gospel is best seen, felt, and experienced when it becomes flesh in our lives.  The great commandment must be what drives the great commission.

ADVERTISEMENT

-------------

3)  We turn Christianity into a culture rather than a lifestyle.

We have turned Christianity into a market.  We have reduced Christianity to products we consume, sell, and advertise.  We are more about profits than prophets.  Christianity has become a culture rather than a lifestyle.  We’ve been taught to consume Christian products rather than being Christian.  We’ve been taught to be salespeople for Jesus rather than true followers of Jesus.  Living a Christian lifestyle means Christ’s love has penetrated so deep into our heart that our lives begin to embody that love in real and tangible ways.  We want everyone to know they are loved.  We want everyone fed, clothed, housed, welcomed, included, employed, supported, tutored, visited, forgiven, and freed.

If we really want to share the gospel…

If we really want people to know Jesus…

We need to be converted to Gandhi’s style of evangelism.  We need to make love our driving force.  If we really are the body of Christ then we need to move our body like Jesus did.  While we go out to proclaim and demonstrate the gospel, let’s ask ourselves one simple question, “What would love do?”




Print Friendly

About the Author

Shawn Casselberry

Shawn CasselberryShawn Casselberry is the Interim Executive Director for Mission Year, a yearlong mission organization that calls young adults to intentional community, radical discipleship, and living justly in the urban context. Shawn is passionate about mentoring young people and mobilizing the church to do justly. You can follow him on Twitter (@scasselberry).View all posts by Shawn Casselberry →

  • Drew

    Christianity truly has become a culture rather than a lifestyle. I see Ghandi quoted more often by liberals than Jesus. Why isn’t it enough to have Jesus-style Evangelism?

    • Shawn Casselberry

      “Living more like Jesus” and making “love our driving force” is not a liberal or conservative thing. Hopefully, this is what all Christians are striving for. I find it significant that Gandhi, a devout Hindu, doesn’t tell E. Stanley Jones to cease their missionary efforts but to actually live like Jesus. In essence, Gandhi is telling us to do Jesus-style Evangelism. Perhaps, more people would come to know Jesus if we lived more like him. That is the point of the post.

      • Drew

        “Gandhi’s response beautifully captures how our efforts at mission and evangelism should be.”

        So does the Bible. That is the point of my post. We need not listen to Ghandi for spiritual advice.

        • Shawn Casselberry

          Drew, I agree with your first point about the Bible, but I respectfully disagree with your second point about Gandhi. One of the extraordinary things about learning from Gandhi’s life is that we get to see a contemporary example of what happens when someone follows Jesus’ teaching (love your enemies, turn the other cheek) quite literally. Gandhi shows us that Christ’s teachings on nonviolence can be applied on a transnational and political level as well as a personal level. For me, nonviolence, peacemaking, and justice are deeply tied with my Christian spirituality and I would hope that governments (including ours) and churches would heed Gandhi’s example.

          • Drew

            I’m not saying we can’t learn from outside of the Bible. However, if I want advice on Christianity or Christian tenets, I do not suggest looking to other religions or non-Christians.

          • Shawn Casselberry

            Something interesting about Jesus’ teaching is he often used the outsider (the non-”chosen,” socially, culturally, and spiritually outsider) as the example of faithfulness. Jesus highlighted the faith of the Syro-Phoenician woman, the Roman centurion, the Samaritan leper, the Good Samaritan, the woman who anointed Jesus feet and others. Jesus looked for faith, truth, gratitude, and humility in people outside the religious mainstream of his day. This is one of the reasons the religious leaders of his day got so frustrated with him. He was challenging their boundaries of who is chosen and who is not.

          • Drew

            They all placed faith in Jesus, Shawn. It speaks to the fact that anyone can be saved if they place their faith in Jesus Christ, not that there are many paths to salvation.

          • Shawn Casselberry

            I am not saying there are many paths to salvation, what I am saying is that using a non-Christian (or in Jesus case a non-Chosen person) as an example of faith (like I am doing with Gandhi) would not be outside of Jesus’ own teaching methodology. For instance, there’s no evidence that the “Good Samaritan” in the parable is a Christian. Samaritan religion of that day was a mix of Jewish religion with pagan practices which is why they were despised by Jesus’ Jewish audience. Jesus is challenging his listeners sense of entitlement around being God’s chosen people by using an outsider as the hero in the story and model of godly compassion that they should emulate. To tell the Jewish lawyer to be more like the Samaritan would be a lot like telling a Christian to be more like Gandhi.

          • Drew

            I appreciate your dialogue here, Shawn. Many authors do not interact, and when they do, it is to be defensive or to attack. Much respect.

            I guess my point and where I am coming from is that everything we need to be a Christian is found in the Bible. When we look at examples of Christian living, we should tap actual Christians. This isn’t to say that we cannot learn anything from non-Christians… God uses the weak to shame the strong. Ghandi has certainly put to shame many “Christians.” I just wouldn’t go so far as to say we should model our evangelism after him. Perhaps I’m splitting hairs here, though, so I digress.

          • Shawn Casselberry

            Thanks Drew! I think we all have a lot to learn from each other. At the end of the day, we will not all agree about every theological point but hopefully we can learn to listen to each other and better love one another.

          • Frank

            The problem is Ghandi was not a follower of Jesus and thus was not made right with God. We do not need Ghandi as an example. We have Jesus, we have the apostles, we have Paul. We have the Word of God and the men/women of God as examples. That’s all we need.

            Ghandi however was not one of them.

          • Shawn Casselberry

            What makes a follower of Jesus? Jesus makes it seem like it’s more than just a verbal confession. Remember Jesus said, many will say “Lord, Lord, but I will say I never knew you.” Jesus says you will know my disciples by their fruit. In Scripture there is much more emphasis on obeying the word and not simply hearing it or talking like a Christian. I consider Gandhi to be a follower of Jesus in the sense that he actually lived out what Jesus said. Gandhi rejected Christianity because it was presented in Western clothes, but there is no record of him rejecting Christ, and in fact he patterned in his life after Christ in many ways. This challenges me to look at the fruit of my own life and how much of what I say I believe matches how I actually live.

          • Frank

            If Ghandi accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior before he died then he is a Christian. When he spoke the words you quoted he was not a Christian.

            Based on your Jesus quote we can ask: Did Ghandi call Jesus Lord? If yes he is a follower. If not then he is separated from God for eternity.

            Stick with Jesus, the apostles, Paul and the other great men and women of God as an example. Ghandi was not one of them unless he called Jesus Lord and Savior before he died.

          • Shawn Casselberry

            Frank, Do you disagree with anything Gandhi said in the quote?

          • Frank

            No I don’t. They are wise words. There are just as many wise words from Jesus, from Paul from any number of Christians that we should model our lives after. Let’s stick with those.

          • Shawn Casselberry

            I went to a small Christian college in Kentucky back in the day and one thing the President used to say all the time is “All truth is God’s truth.” It took awhile for that to sink in but I think he is right and it led me not to be afraid to pursue truth (even outside the boundaries of my evangelical belief system) because I knew as I sought truth I would find God. I would not limit God to only reveal truth through a limited number of avenues, but to seek truth wherever it may be found, inside and outside the church, in the mainstream and in the margins, in our friends and our enemies, in the west and the east, knowing all truth is God’s truth.

          • Frank

            I don’t disagree but the truth is Ghandi was not a Christian and so his fruit was not born from the Spirit. Being a Christian is not about works its about faith. And yes faith without works is dead but faith is first and primary.

          • http://ashleighfhill.tumblr.com Ashleigh

            Yes – or we might seek to better understand Col. 3:11
            which tells us that “Christ is all and Christ is in all,” and to seek freedom
            in Christ in this way. Learning from historical leaders like Gandhi helps us to
            be free in Christ and free in the world – I don’t understand how denying or
            sectioning off knowledge leads to freedom or a love that drives away fear.

          • Nat Iyer

            Amen to that! To assert that God revealed his love *only* through Jesus will not pass tests of rationality, consistency and logic. For example, if Christ is the only savior, what happened to all those people that died without ever knowing about him and without making an explicit choice on redemption through Christ? Only a silly God could make such a silly mistake!

          • Drew

            Ghandi was living out a principle of Hinduism. It happens to be similar to the Christian principle of non-violence, but no, Ghandi was not living out what Jesus said. That’s like saying Donald Trump is living out what Jesus said because he has donated to charitable causes in the past.

          • Shawn Casselberry

            Gandhi’s nonviolence was influenced by both Hindu and Christian text, particularly the sermon on the mount and Christ’s admonition to turn the other cheek. If you watch the movie Gandhi (played by Ben Kingsley) there’s a powerful scene where they take this approach quite literally and tire out the guards who are beating them. I don’t know what motivates Donald Trump to give (tax write-offs or out of true compassion) or how Christ has influenced him. I know he has said publically he is a Christian, he believes in God, he goes to church, and the Bible is THE book. Does that make you more likely to listen to him over Gandhi? Or is it the fruit of someone’s life that matters more?

          • Frank

            Except Ghandi like many others completely miss the point of turning the other cheek. Its not about pacifism

          • Shawn Casselberry

            Frank, what do you think the point of turning the other cheek is?

          • Frank

            I posted about this on another thread. I am quoting Walter Wink.

            In his books “Engaging the Powers” and “The Powers That Be,” Wink argues that Jesus rejected two common ways of responding to injustice: violent resistance and passive acceptance. Instead, Jesus advocated a “third way,” an assertive but non-violent form of protest.

            The key to understanding Wink’s argument is rigorous attention to the social customs of the Jewish homeland in the first century and what these sayings would have meant in that context.

            To illustrate with the saying about turning the other cheek: it specifies that the person has been struck on the right cheek. How can you be struck on the right cheek? As Wink emphasizes, you have to act this out in order to get the point: you can be struck on the right cheek only by an overhand blow with the left hand, or with a backhand blow from the right hand. (Try it).

            But in that world, people did not use the left hand to strike people. It was reserved for “unseemly” uses. Thus, being struck on the right cheek meant that one had been backhanded with the right hand. Given the social customs of the day, a backhand blow was the way a superior hit an inferior, whereas one fought social equals with fists.

            This means the saying presupposes a setting in which a superior is beating a peasant. What should the peasant do? “Turn the other cheek.” What would be the effect? The only way the superior could continue the beating would be with an overhand blow with the fist–which would have meant treating the peasant as an equal.

            Perhaps the beating would not have been stopped by this. But for the superior, it would at the very least have been disconcerting: he could continue the beating only by treating the peasant as a social peer. As Wink puts it, the peasant was in effect saying, “I am your equal. I refuse to be humiliated anymore.” That is not all. The sayings about “going the second mile” and “giving your cloak to one who sues you for your coat” make a similar point: they suggest creative non-violent ways of protesting oppression.

            Roman law permitted soldiers to force civilians to carry their gear for one mile, but because of abuses stringently prohibited more than one mile.

            If they ask you to do that, Jesus says, go ahead; but then carry their gear a second mile. Put them in a disconcerting situation: either they risk getting in trouble, or they will have to wrestle their gear back from you.

            Under civil law, a coat could be confiscated for non-payment of debt. For the poor, the coat often also served as a blanket at night. In that world, the only other garment typically worn by a peasant was an inner garment, a cloak. So if they take your coat, Jesus says, give them your cloak as well. “Strip naked,” as Wink puts it. Show them what the system is doing to you. Moreover, in that world, nakedness shamed the person who observed it.

            Thus, these sayings from the Sermon on the Mount, these seemingly mild sayings, are actually potent ways of confounding and exposing injustice. King and Gandhi may not have been aware of the finer points of modern Biblical scholarship, but they were no doubt clear that Jesus was counseling a radical new way of empowering the underclass.

          • Shawn Casselberry

            This is right on Frank! Great points. I love Walter Wink and those books you mentioned are must reads! Howard Thurman, who wrote Jesus and the Disinherited, makes similar points about the subversive nature of Christ’s teaching, specifically the sermon on the mount. That book was one of Dr. King’s favorites and informed Dr. King’s approach to love-based creative nonviolence like you mentioned. If you like Wink I would really recommend the movie Gandhi because you see how those very principles he writes about were implemented to end British colonialism. It’s a fascinating case study (history lesson) if nothing else. Thanks for contributing to the conversation!

          • Frank

            Yes Ghandi was a great movie. Kingsley nailed it I thought, although I never knew Ghandi.

            And I should be clear I quoted someone quoting Wink. I don’t remember who it was as I saved it without the authors name.

          • Drew

            No, I would not listen to either of them, and that is precisely my point.

            The fruit of someone’s life does not matter more than professing faith in Christ. The Bible is clear on this, Shawn. In fact, fruit apart from Christ is not fruit at all. Our righteous acts are like filthy rags to God (Isaiah 64:6). If we do good works without professing faith in Christ, we do not glorify Christ, but glorify ourselves (our in the case of Ghandi, Hinduism).

          • Shawn Casselberry

            I think we profess our faith best through our actions.

          • Frank

            What’s the difference between an atheist showing compassion and a Christian showing compassion and how do we know the difference?

          • Nat Iyer

            Shawn, This is a fantastic and a brave statement. I pray that God gives you more power to convince the unconvinced about universal love.

        • bluecenterlight

          Why listen to anyone’s spiritual advice then? CS Lewis, Billy Graham, your pastor? We can all just sit at home with our bibles :)

          • Drew

            Blue,

            You’re intelligent enough to know that you are making a ridiculous comparison and that your purpose in posting is solely to score points.

          • bluecenterlight

            Just because there are those who choose to deify certain people does not mean the appropriate response is to discount them. God can use anyone from a non Christian to an ass ( literal and figurative) to convey truth to us. Although your point is taken that our focus should be on the truth of what is said and not who is saying it.

      • 22044

        Forget Gandhi. Check out Gospel for Asia instead, a ministry founded by an Indian that is following both the Greatest Commandment & the Great Commission

        • Shawn Casselberry

          Thank you for the resource! Thankfully there are many great mission organizations (including the one I work for!) that are incorporating the great commandment with the great commission. I would however challenge your first statement. Imagine if Dr. Martin Luther King had “forgotten Gandhi”? Dr. King and the civil rights movement was heavily influenced by Gandhi’s teaching on nonviolence. Being a deeply committed Christian, Dr. King recognized and valued the redemptive qualities of Gandhi’s methods and saw how they were influenced by Gandhi’s reading on Christ. Remembering Gandhi helps us affirm the power of Christian nonviolence to bring about peace in the world.

        • Shawn Casselberry

          I would also add that missionaries need to be aware of the cultural, political, and spiritual context of the people they are being sent. E. Stanley Jones, who I reference in the blog, wrote a wonderful book called “Christ of the Indian Road,” where he beautifully affirms Christ and the culture of India. Missions is not bringing God to people as much as it is pointing to where God is already at work within the culture. Paul does this when he talks to the people of Athens in Acts 17. He quotes their poets and shows how they point us to Christ (interestingly, the words of those poets are now part of our Holy Bible! Question for you, does that mean those poets’ words are God breathed?) In Pauline fashion, I am simply trying to show that Gandhi also points us to Christ and a more faithful way of representing our faith in the world.

          • 22044

            Thanks for the responses, and for clarifying your points a bit.

          • Shawn Casselberry

            Thank you for engaging this topic and being open to dialogue! God bless!

      • GailPoll

        I love this post! I had the privilege to hear Rob Bell preach while he was a pastor at Mars Hill Bible church. They had an art display one Christmas. There were all different kinds of artistic expression. One of them was a picture with a quote by Ghandi. Someone took the time to enlighten us all by putting a sticky not on the quote saying, ” Ghandi is in hell” That motivated Rob to write his book “Love Wins”. How can we show the love of Jesus is we only have disgust for people of other faiths? Love does win!

        • Shawn Casselberry

          Thanks for sharing! Really good question!

        • Drew

          That’s the truth, though, unless you’re not a Christian and instead worship universalism. Maybe a bit cold, I do not agree with what the man did, but still the truth.

          • Nat Iyer

            That’s silly! So, Drew, what happened to all those people that died without ever having the privilege of knowing about Christ and making a conscious choice to follow him or not? Only a stupid Creator would create such a practical situation.

      • TheodoreSeeber

        I think Mother Theresa heard him.

  • http://ashleighfhill.tumblr.com Ashleigh

    Great post Shawn!
    Christians make huge mistakes when they refuse to listen to anyone who isn’t a Christian about Christian culture – especially because Christianity has always carried a lot of power and colonialism via missions, like you suggested. Listening to other religious leaders does’t negate Jesus, it gives us a different view on ourselves that we don’t get when we read the Bible through only our own eyes.

    • Shawn Casselberry

      Thanks Ashleigh! Great points. I don’t think we always see the power dynamics at work in our evangelism. A good book along these lines is Brenda Salter McNeil’s “Credible Witness: Reflections on Power, Evangelism, and Race.

  • William F Watts

    I loved your article and will meditate on it. Thank you.

    • Shawn Casselberry

      Thanks William! Blessings on you as you seek to live out love in Jesus name.

  • Kay Campbell

    If we take seriously the notion that God is everywhere, then we have to respect others, including non-
    Christian others, as people in whom God’s work is moving. Remembering that (which Hindus would see as the concept behind “Namaste,” the greeting that means “The divine in me greets the divine in you”) can go a long ways to shaping a ministry that is based on true love, not just a performance of kindness. As we discover God’s story around the world — even as we spread Jesus’ amazing revelations of God — we can discover more about God that we’d know otherwise.

    • jim

      Just as a side note Kay, but I think it is worth pointing out, Indian and Nepali believers rarely greet each other with Namaste. A Indian believer will greet a Hindu with that word in the everyday use of the word, “Hello”.

      But almost always, believers from those predominately Hindu countries, will greet each other with “Jai Mashih”. My western spelling is off, but phonetically I am on. Jai = Hail or can also be translated Victory.

      Mashih = (you do not have to look to hard for this one) is Messiah.

      So, that simply means, Victory in the Messiah, or Hail the Messiah. They got it.

      Some people say that Nepal has more people coming to Christ per capita than any other country in the world. Might very well be true.

      It is quite common to see Nepali believers forsake their birth name like Krishna, and take on what they refer to as a spiritual name, like Nathaniel, Isaac, Peter, etc.

      When a Hindu or Buddhist comes to Christ, most remnants of Hinduism/Buddhism are left behind volitionally.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    Nostra Aetate. Search for it and read it.

    • Shawn Casselberry

      Very interesting! Thank you for sharing a Catholic perspective on this topic!

  • jim

    Shawn,

    I have enjoyed the read, and comments.

    A couple of thoughts, not to stir the pot, but to stir the mind. Since India and Nepal are primarily Hindu, it would be interesting to dialog with Indian or Nepali believers to get their take on Gandhi and his quotes.

    In some way I am reminded of the topic of yoga. That particular topic is rooted and birthed in Hinduism, as one of many paths to salvation. Here in the west, many people have caught on to yoga like it is the second coming. A typical response from a Western Christian yoga-ite is “I just do the stretches, I do not listen to the chanting or mantras”. Really?

    I guess the only point I am making is Yoga, like Gandhi, is very captivating to the western mind. Again, I would say talk to a Indian or Nepali that has come out of Hinduism or Buddhism, and has been born again.

    My guess is you would get a different perspective than what what we see in the west concerning Gandhi, Yoga, Un-biblical meditation, Deepak Chopra, etc.

    So we are challenged daily with “who is this Jesus” and the word of God.

    • Shawn Casselberry

      Nothing wrong with stirring the pot! It is always good to get other perspectives to see nuances that we might miss with our limited view. I’m sure there would be mixed response. Indian Christians that I know have a lot of tension around Gandhi. On one hand they have a respect for Gandhi but then as Christians they don’t know if they are allowed to. Hopefully, we can get some others to chime in on this…
      I don’t do yoga personally, but my thoughts on it are like many other things (music, prayer, business, exercise), it’s the intention and spirit you bring to the practice that makes the difference. Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk , showed how Christians can adapt and learn from various Eastern religious practices and still be faithful followers of Jesus. I am much more worried how capitalism (materialism, hyper-individualism, blind self-interest, profit motive, etc) compromises my faith than Eastern practices like yoga!

  • John

    Shawn,
    Thanks for writing this. 100 billion people ever. Give or take. 4 billion Christians ever. Give or take. That’s a lot of wisdom to throw away, isn’t it?

  • Jonathan Starkey

    Shawn, The Great commandment is to “Love God.” The second is to “Love Your Neighbor” You just turned it into the exact same thing you were criticizing it for, putting the second half before the first half.

    God doesn’t want you to demonstrate God’s Love, before you Love God. This get’s skipped over a lot on this site.

    The great commission is to love your neighbor as yourself.

    —-

    • Jonathan Starkey

      This is one of my favorite verses lately:

      Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and [o]foremost commandment.

      God doesn’t want your work. He wants you. Seek the face of God, before you seek the hands of God. And don’t mix them up.

    • Shawn Casselberry

      Hey Jonathan, When Jesus is asked what is the greatest commandment, Jesus answers with both Love for God and loving neighbor as yourself. He says upon these two commandments rest the whole law and prophets. I think separating them or worse having them compete against each other is to miss out on the fullness of the great commandment.
      When I refer to the Great commission I am referring to Matt 28, where Jesus says, “Go into all the world and make disciples…” Sometimes our drive to make disciples is separated from the command to love (both God and people) and we end up hurting/using/dehumanizing people through our efforts. Keeping love at the center of our mission helps correct this.
      But I think your point about loving God is very important. I would add we need to receive God’s love for ourselves before we can even love God or others. I would also say one of the best ways to love God is to let God’s love transform us into more loving people. Jesus said, if you love me, you will obey my commandments.

      • Jonathan Starkey

        Transforming us into a loving people is secondary a byproduct of first loving God.

        Your right they should not be separated, but the latter should not be put before the former.
        It’s been said about the The Ten Commandments: That the first three could be about our love and relationship to God, and the next 7 could be about our love and relationship to our neighbor. Therefore love the Lord God with all your mind, body, soul and strength, and THEN love your neighbor. This is how the whole law and prophets can be summed up in these things.

        As far as Matthew 28 goes we’ve been so concerned with souls not discipleship, and creating people to love their neighbor, but have bypassed the first part of the commandment to Love the Lord with all your heart.

        This is what makes Ghandi appealing because he falls into the second part of the commandment. But making disciples is about having people fall in love with God.
        ie. Mary chose the better thing, by sitting at the feat of Jesus. Here we are teaching Martha did the better, by loving and caring for the second part. She was concerned with the work of God before sitting at the feet of God.

        Why stop at Ghandi, why not say Buddha, Confucius or Moses?

        Anyway, I don’t mean to quibble over semantics. I think I know your heart, and hear what you’re saying.

        • Jonathan Starkey

          And not to mention waiting for power from on High. It’s interesting to me how Peter speaks in the Gospels and then to hear him speak in the book of acts.

          It’s not about being more loving it’s about being filled with the Holy Spirit. And the spirit will urge us to move and love.

          I don’t want to be more loving. I want Jesus, and I want to be filled with the Holy Spirit. He is enough.

          Do you ever realize how you want to be more “loving” and how that just falls flat on it’s face?

        • Shawn Casselberry

          Love for God is intimately connected with love for people. You can’t love God if you don’t love people. You can’t love people without having God’s love in you. The Old Testament covenant with God included a covenant with people. You break covenant with God when you mistreat people (the poor, stranger see the Covenant Code in Ex 22). There were two primary problems the prophets spoke out against, idolatry (not loving God) and injustice (not loving people). We tend to focus on one or the other, but both are necessary.
          In my opinion, Martha’s problem was not that she was loving people rather than loving God, but in her attempts at hospitality she neglected the person right in front of her. In this case her guest was Jesus! But we neglect Jesus too. Jesus says he is present in the face of the poor, stranger, and homeless and when we neglect them we neglect him. According to Matt 25, to love the poor and marginalized is to love Jesus and to neglect them is to neglect him. Any attempt to try to disconnect the two creates a problem.
          It’s possible to focus on loving people and not spend time cultivating our relationship with God (this seems to be your concern) and it’s possible to focus on cultivating our relationship with God while not showing concern for others (what I am more concerned about). I think as long as we bring both together we will be alright!

  • Vince

    Why should we follow the teachings of a non christian about christian evangelism? I agree our evangelism should come from love of others.

×

TRENDING: How a Few Good Evangelical Men Allowed Mark Driscoll to be Called a Bully >>

Read previous post:
Bleeding-Heart Liberal Part 1
How a Conservative Christian Home-School Graduate Became a Bleeding-Heart Liberal (Part 1)

AUGUST 13, 2013 | BY: JOY BENNETT -- Labels depend in large part on context. In conservative religious and political...

Close