I have my pet peeves as an agnostic, and they may not show often but they’re about to. Reading Lee Strobel On Outreach: Shortchanging the Good News, two of my biggest annoyances got tweaked.
1. Strobel said, “The secular world sees zero value in preaching the Gospel to the spiritually needy.” Argh. I’ll just put on my Representative Of The Secular World hat and say that that’s crap. As a secular person, it’s not that there’s zero value; I’d say the secular world doesn’t take much of a position on that. But it does see meeting people’s needs (for food, for medicine, for help of all kinds) as the thing to do first, before focusing on the Gospel. And it does have a big, big problem with anyone who thinks it’s okay to make listening to the Gospel a condition of rendering said help. To me, it’s more admirable to help for its own sake, as you would want to be helped, and to talk about the gospel afterward. When people need help, they’re vulnerable and they’re afraid, and it’s easy to take advantage of them without meaning to.
2. Strobel mentions Christians “who cannot bring themselves to take the personal risk of sharing Jesus with the hell-bound co-worker who sits day after day in the cubicle right next to them.” Whatever your personal beliefs on hell, why would you think of someone else as hellbound? First of all, you don’t know, not really. Second of all, how unbelievably insulting to proceed from the presumption that you know God’s will for anybody when it’s so hard to even know God’s will for yourself! Those of us who don’t share your spiritual beliefs would really appreciate not being thought of as “hellbound.” It may be true and it may be false, but it says more about you than it does about the person you’ve so casually judged.