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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.

19 October 2007

Imposing our Beliefs on Others

Q: Without going in to all the details, can you tell me if the Bible says anything about forcing religion or one’s beliefs onto another, especially whether it’s right or wrong?

Cramming ReligionA: A previous post on having non-Christian friends mentioned cramming religion down others’ throats. In brief, nothing in Scripture tells us to “force” the Faith on others. However, we are commanded, encouraged, and led to speak and live God’s Word before all people. The Lord wants Christians to expose unbelievers to His Word and to challenge them by our lifestyles and public behavior. We don’t need to worry about bringing others to faith — The Holy Spirit will do the convicting and converting.

While Christians cannot make non-Christians believe, we dare not keep silence, lest another’s final opportunity for repentance and salvation be lost. Our public confession of faith in Jesus Christ through our words and deeds is His light shining in a sin-darkened world. The Lord doesn’t bid you to “light a lamp and put it under a basket” but to “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:15-16)”

If you’d like to read more about spreading and living the Good News, I suggest How to Win Souls for Christ at Be Strong in the Grace and these earlier writings from me: Christians in Society and Evangelism: The Offense of Christ in a World Easily Offended.

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.

Send email to Ask the Pastor.

Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.

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Newspaper column #519


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