Spreading The Bad News

This weekend I saw a man on the street corner with a sign that read: “The End is near.  Repent or go to hell.”

What’s up with that?

Based on my experience the guy looked Pentecostal but I don’t know for sure. What I wanted to know is if this method of “evangelism” actually reaches people.  Are people really “converted” by this method?

Scare tactics on laminated poster board?

Honestly this guy is an embarrassment to other believers and probably does more harm than good with the doomsday messages.

Yes, according to the Bible the end has been near for my entire life to this point but I’m not going to hold up a sign about it.   I don’t think you see anywhere that Jesus stood on a street corner holding up a sign of doom and gloom.  In fact, most of his most fiery sermons were directed at religious people.  Interesting don’t you think?

Honestly, what is your first reaction when you see this guy on the corner holding up this sign?  No doubt most will have an eye roll of disgust.  How is that winning anyone?   Now folks will argue that this may not be a high percentage evangelism tool but will say that if they just reach one person it is worth it.

So tell me, which would be most effective – holding up a sign advertising a harsh message or taking cold bottled water to the homeless?

Matthew 25:35-40 says “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.  Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?  The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Their are far more effective ways of reaching people than holding up a sign.  If you are wanting to win someone then help someone.  I know of a church that will perform some sort of community service on Sundays instead of meeting in a building and doing church the usual way.

Jesus instructed us to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to everyone”. (Mark 16:15)  The gospel is good news.  Advertising that people are going to hell is not preaching the gospel.  So isn’t it counterproductive to spread the bad news?

In this day that we live, we need to show more than tell.  People are tired of being preached at and condemned to hell.   We need to do a better job of selling the gospel and retire the old methods of guilting people into believing.

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