What do we share with people when we share our faith with them? In his book Speaking of Jesus: The Art of Not-Evangelism, Carl Medearis argues that more often than not we are telling people about Christianity and not Jesus. At first it sounds a bit crazy that you could do this. How can someone tell about Christianity and not tell people about Jesus? Donald Miller proved that this is possible in his book Searching For God Knows What when he shared the Gospel with a group of Christian college students and left one thing out. He asked them what he left out, and they didn’t know. He left out Jesus. It’s possible to talk about our faith and forget the most important person. So often, we tell people about sin, the origin of the world, we present logical arguments for the existence of God and the supernatural, we may even tell them that Christianity offers freedom from sin and eternal life, but we can fail to introduce them to the person of Jesus Christ.
There are a lot of things about this book that someone could say, but to do that would miss the critical point that Medearis is making. Medearis challenges the way that so many of us try to go about convincing people of the truth of Christianity. Instead of presenting our rules, formulas, and practices, we ought to be presenting the main attraction. Jesus is at the center of our faith and needs to occupy the prime spot when tell people about Him. While I’m not a big fan of people trying to nuance the difference between the Christian religion and “following Jesus”, I love the reminder that Speaking of Jesus presents. We get caught up in the structures and formulas that we have made to support the Christian religion that we forget to share the foundation, and, in Medearis’s experience, speaking the truth of Jesus gets a better response than introducing people to the “Christian Religion.” He writes,
“My prayer, encouragement, and challenge for you today is to let Jesus go. Let Him out of the box you have Him in. He’s bigger than our religion.”
Jesus is bigger than the religion that we create, even if we are doing our best to honor and represent Jesus. We need to show people Jesus first. Jesus will bring people to Christianity and to salvation, not the religion that we have developed. I was certainly challenged, and I hope that you will be challenged as well.
Are you introducing people to Jesus or Christianity?