We often assume that if we could only find the right way to reach those who are opposed to Christianity that we could win them over to the Gospel. S. M. Hutchens, writing in the Touchstone blog, says that many of these folks don’t lack knowledge of Christ. They are simply rejecting Him.
Good point. But then he says that such overt enemies of God should not be given the Gospel, that they cannot be evangelized.
I would say that we are all by nature enemies of God. And that, by the power of the Word, the Holy Spirit can bring even the worst enemy of God to salvation. (I am thinking of St. Paul, who called himself “the worst of sinners” and was an overt persecutor of the Church and of Christ.) Certainly, a person can’t be open to the Gospel without first being broken by the Law, which can happen in various ways. But that is part of the process of evangelism, and everyone needs to be evangelized. (We Lutherans believe in the universal atonement, that Christ died for everyone, so we cannot assume that any given person is one of the non-elect “reprobates.”)
But is there something in what Hutchens says? Even if those who are purposefully rejecting God should still be evangelized, do we need to approach them and the trouble they give Christians differently than if they were merely ignorant? Read his argument, excerpted and linked after the jump. [Read more…]