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Intentional Evangelism

I just had to share the joy. Tonight at work at UPS, I had an intentionally evangelistic conversation with one of the girls on the belt. And it centered around, of all things, theology!

It all started when I was telling the girl (we’ll call her Short Stuff) about the spectacularly crappy day I’d had (multiple things had gone disastrously wrong for no apparent reason) and how I could still be happy because of a single thing: I have a theology test today. It’s one of my favorite subjects if not THE favorite.

Yes, yes, I know–the Jock in me is going into seclusion and the Geek is taking over. Al Mohler would be proud.

Anyway, Short Stuff kind of looked at me funny and asked me why that was. I told her that was because theology basically tells us how to be Christians. She gave me a quizzical look and asked me to explain that. I said, “well, theology helps us to understand what we believe about Jesus, for example.” Not quite getting it, she asked for an example.

“You know how these days most people say Jesus was just a great teacher? See, theology shows us that in the Bible, Jesus said that he and God were basically one and the same. If I understand Jesus in that way, and not in the way that says he was ‘just a great teacher,’ then it changes the way I look at Jesus and as a result it changes the way I think about what Jesus said in the Bible and what people said about Jesus in the Bible.”

She got very interested at that point and asked me about atheists. I told her that atheists for the most part don’t even need theology since they don’t believe in God. “But just suppose what if,” she said. So I decided it was a bullet worth biting and replied, “Well, for an atheist, theology basically tells them that they are wrong about God; and theology tells them that they must believe or be miserable for the rest of their lives. Atheists don’t want to hear that and spend a lot of time, no they WASTE a lot of their time trying to prove the Bible wrong, and they waste MY time because I have to answer them.”

She seemed satisfied with that answer. She started asking about other seminary students in the building (especially the illustrious Shane Morgan) and if we all believed the same. I told her that for the most part we were all on the same page. “Why study theology?” She asked. Now that was the question I had really been waiting for.

“Because for the most part, Christians don’t really know what they believe. They just want to go to church and let the preacher tell them what to believe and they’re satisfied. They don’t want anything more than that. And while that isn’t all bad, people like me and Shane think there is so much more to being a Christian than that, and we believe that because we have studied theology! People like us want to teach Christians theology and help them become just as hungry for theology as we are if not more so!”

That started a discussion about televangelists and morons like Pat Robertson. I have to admit I wasn’t too nice in my assessment of those guys, but I affirmed to her that they are good examples of what I meant by that. I told her that I thought these guys had a bad understanding of theology which in turn made them think it was okay to take advantage of people in the ways that they did. Then she asked me a bombshell question: “Do you think the reason the Catholic Church had problems with the priests was because the priests had bad theology?”

Dang. HOW do you answer a loaded question like that? “I think,” I said, “that if those priests really believed what the Church teaches and really studied it, then there might have been a lot fewer problems than there were. But we don’t know that for sure.”

She mulled over that for a minute, and then I interjected, “But see, that’s why it’s such a big deal to be a preacher, because the preacher’s job is to teach people and help them grow as people. A preacher can’t do that unless he cares for people, and it’s hard for a preacher to care for people in the right way if he does not study theology! So, you see, people like me and Shane feel that we don’t know how to care for people if we don’t know theology!”

Shane, I hope you don’t mind that I kinda took it upon myself to speak for ya there, bro. *innocent look*

She told me then that she’d never really had the chance to study theology, which was surprising to me because she was apparently raised Catholic. But she shared that she went to a school where they only went to Mass on Fridays, and when I asked she said there were no catechism classes or anything like that. She didn’t even know what a catechism or a catechism class was until I explained it to her! Ah, that explains it. She is a Catholic, and she doesn’t even have a basic understanding of her faith! How horrible!

“That’s why it’s so important to study theology,” I told her, “because when you do that, you learn what your faith is all about.” She continued to think about that for a few minutes and then the conversation petered out as we started to get slammed with boxes.

I only have one thing to say about this conversation: PRAISE GOD! Only He could have set the events of the day into motion in such a way as to culminate in this conversation. Let me ask you guys to pray that another such opportunity will come our way very soon!

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