It has been said many times by a dear brother in Christ, “Friendship Evangelism as it is most commonly practiced is neither friendship nor evangelism.” This could not be truer even after many years of teachings by several different ministries and church leaders.
The purpose of the erroneous teaching of the past – to make friends with a person in order to earn the right to share the gospel – is not biblical. Nowhere in the Bible will you find this concept of evangelism. It is a manmade device to appease the fear of the one doing the sharing and it centers the gospel on the person rather than on the Creator. This form of sharing the gospel was created by churches and individuals in an effort to dumb down theology and help “the common folk” better able to understand. While all of this has been a gross injustice to the Word of God there is still a way for a modified version of this to work.
The problem with Friendship Evangelism among other things, is the Christian, who is commanded to proclaim the gospel, develops a friendship and never gets around to sharing the message for fear of losing the newly made friend. While the intent may be good, the results are not and neither is a bait and switch method for the Word of God. Deception is a lie and if deception is the form of evangelism one is imploring the delivery is tainted in sin.
Think of the verses for a moment that reference sharing the gospel. Now consider this. Could you imagine a Navy Seal storming an ISIS camp and asking an Islam Extremist with a bomb strapped to his vest the following, “Sir my Commander sent me here to disarm you, I would just like to get your permission to carry out his order before I arrest you and disarm that weapon of death from your chest.” If a Navy Seal even survived such an encounter, he would be court martialed and locked away for years. He would have disobeyed the orders of his commander plus he would have put not only his life in jeopardy, but the life of the one he was there to arrest.
Lover of Christ, you don’t need permission by anyone to share the gospel. Your Commander in Chief, Your Creator – The God of All – Jesus Christ has already given you the command and order to share the gospel. He is the ultimate source of Authority and Truth so why would you need to circumvent His command to ask permission to do something He has already commanded you to do.
The unsaved are like that suicide bomber, but they don’t know they are walking around with the threat of death looming over them. If they die in their sins, they are already condemned to a life of eternal Hell.
Sharing the gospel not only brings the Words of Eternal Life to a lost soul, it provides countless blessings to the one sharing the Gospel of God. Obviously if you’re practicing any form of Friendship Evangelism you are wanting to make friends. Try this instead, Evangelism Friendship. Share the gospel with the prayers and hopes of making a new friend. The blessings will far outweigh any fear you may have with sharing the gospel with a stranger.
Consider this in closing. Would you want to marry a person then find out later they were wanted for bank robbery? How would you feel if you made a friend with the hopes of sharing the gospel with them then later found out they were a rancid God hating atheist? If you share the gospel with a stranger and they are open to hearing His message, and the Lord shows them mercy and grants them the gift of salvation, not only will you have a true friend you can talk the things of Christ with, you will have a new brother or sister, a family member for life.
Jesus Christ never commanded us go into all the world and make friends, He commanded us go into all the world and share the gospel. Remember, it’s not if, but when you will stand before God. Will you be told, “well done my good and faithful servant?”