Hostage Evangelism

When I saw the John Brown University and Oklahoma Baptist University sweat shirts, I was immediately nervous.  I don’t like baptists, having been married to one (and having been one myself).  I found myself at a Halloween party for the English as a Second Language (ESL) class with my wife who is a student.

Things were going ok, except there was no beer, wine, or any normal beverage you’d have at a party.  That was, everything was ok, until the pumpkin carving lesson. When it came to the pumpkin carving, all of a sudden the woman in charge decided to make a half ass gospel presentation using a pumpkin.  Ok, I thought, now I know why these people volunteered their home. They didn’t want to throw a party, they wanted to lure people in with a party and then make them submit to their religious indoctrination.

My wife’s ESL class has students from Korea, Viet Nam, Thailand, Mexico, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and many other countries.  Which, if none of them were baptists, would make nice notches on the bible for these baptists.

The presentation was really fumbled, and I thought they assumed a lot about the hearers.  There are pumpkin gospel presentations on Youtube and they are meant for children. The presentation was at about a 5 year old level and assumed that the listeners were people who would accept whatever their teacher (or parent) would tell them.

I dislike hostage evangelism… which isn’t the evangelism of people in prison.  It’s the evangelism where you promise the listener something like a homeless man a meal, but first make them listen to your spiel. I prefer the folks who say here’s some food.  Afterward, we are going to talk about God and you can come and listen if your want or not. The choice is yours.

What I dislike most is that I feel like I am considered to be a project first and a person second.

Now, Catholics and Orthodox do hostage evangelism too, but they call it “retreats” and the person or parent knows ahead of time that religious instruction is included. Having a party and not being upfront about it, is not cool to me.

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