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Religious Spam

August 23, 2020

Do a Google search on “religion” and you are likely to come across thousands of posts decrying religion.

White Noise

Unbelievers often hold Christian proselytizing efforts in contempt, characterizing such efforts as unwanted messaging – more of a nuisance than anything else.  In short, as religious spam, the equivalent of white noise.

Encyclopedia Salesmen

Missionaries (however sincere, however well-intentioned) are viewed as encyclopedia salesmen, hawking an unnecessary, outdated, and costly product.  Their pitch is compared to cheesy advertising; the Gospel, reduced to a secret handshake; and tithing, seen as “pay to play”.

The Great Commission

“ ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…’ ” (Mark 28: 19).

Why should this matter to Christians?  The answer, of course, is that Christ instructed us to spread the Good News of Salvation to all the world.  We have been commissioned by Christ, Himself; charged with accomplishing a sacred task.

How then can we accomplish the task more effectively?

Led by the Spirit

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Rom 8: 14).

As sons and daughters of God, believers are led by the Spirit [1].  The Spirit’s direction extends to witnessing (Acts 1: 8).  We must pray for obedience and boldness to follow the Spirit’s direction.

But boldness does not exclude sensitivity.

Sensitivity and A Listening Ear

The injunction “He that has an ear, let him hear” is repeated no less than 16 times in the New Testament [2].

We are told to listen closely for what the Spirit has to say [3].  That is likely to involve listening more closely to those we hope to reach.  After all, God knows their hearts.  He longs to reach them even more than we do.

  • Perhaps they are indifferent.  The material world satisfies them.  Religion seems irrelevant.
  • Perhaps they are angered by the injustice of the world, and hold God responsible.
  • Perhaps they feel isolated and abandoned, in a world that does not care for them.
  • Perhaps religion has lost its value.  They once believed, but were hurt and disillusioned by charlatans who assured them of prosperity in exchange for their last dime, or healing in exchange for faith (often at a price).
  • Perhaps they have been hardened.  Their experience of the world has been so cold and cruel that God “must” be distant (or similarly cruel), if He exists at all.  The question becomes, why serve such a God?
  • Perhaps they have been broken by unbearable loss or unspeakable violation.

Christians know that Christ is the answer in each of these situations.  Non-believers, however, cannot all be approached the same way.

Under no circumstances can the Gospel be forced on a non-believer.  But a canned message is nearly as bad (almost sure to sound like a “snow job” – false promises under false pretenses).

[1]  Grace to You (Grace Community Church), “What Does It Mean to Be ‘Led by the Spirit’?”, 3/26/19,

[2]  Matthew 11: 15; Matthew 13: 9, 43; Mark 4: 9, 23; Mark 7: 16; Luke 8: 8; Luke 14: 35; Revelation 2: 7, 11, 17, 29; Revelation 3: 6, 13, 22; and Revelation 13: 9.

[3]  The Gospel Faith Messenger Ministry, “0179 – Learning to Be More Sensitive to the Holy Spirit”,


From → Christian, Faith, Religion

  1. I have always felt that we need to earn the right to be heard. It’s “Responsible Evangelism”
    After hosting a teen get together in our house one night, I had a young man nervously approach me and say “I want what Mitch has got. I think it has to do with God”. I called Mitch over and said “Mike here wants to know about your relationship with God, can you tell him?” Mitch replied “Sure can”
    I watched my father lead a neighbor to Christ (The neighbor watched my parents marriage and wanted what they had. His was falling apart).
    Truth: we need to have on display in our lives something worth having.

    • You are so right. There is nothing more repulsive to non-believers than the hypocrisy and self-righteousness of some Christians.

    • “We need to earn the right to be heard.” SO true, Gary, and your parents are a perfect example.
      To have someone ASK is so rare, but definitely a sign you’re doing something right.

    • I really like your comment, Gary. I.e. earning the right to be heard, etc. Relational stuff. No quick fixes here!

  2. Great post Anna,
    So many people do not believe in God, or His teachings..
    And a large number have a negative view of Christianity because of the antics they have seen..
    With the help of the Holy Spirit, I believe we can share the gospel with those who will receive it.

    • Thank you, Mary. The need is great. The fields are white for harvest (John 4: 35), and the time is growing shorter by the day.

  3. Allan Halton permalink

    Thank you, Anna, it is true that so many simply don’t see what we now see. I’m reminded of the bride in the Song of Solomon who told the daughters of Jerusalem that she was “sick with love.” They just didn’t get it. Their response was, “What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women?” In other words, what’s so special about Him? So she describes Him to them– all the attributes of His beauty– so vividly, and with such love, that they can almost see Him before their very eyes. She concludes by saying, “This is my beloved, and this is my friend…” Upon this they have a complete change of attitude. “Where is thy beloved gone… that we may seek Him with you?” (Song 5:8- 6:1). Now that’s evangelism!

  4. Great post 🙌👏👏

  5. I can only endorse all the comments above. Thanks, Anna.

  6. I cringe when I think of some of the approaches to witnessing. I was subjected to the “canned message” in my own living room while I politely tried to tell the people I’ve known Jesus for twenty years. As Gary said, we need to earn the right to be heard. And often that starts with listening.

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