I just finished reading a book about evangelism that troubled me. The author forcefully promoted the idea that Christians should share their faith because 1) it is their duty, 2) it is what God commands, and 3) they likely aren’t true Christians if they don’t.
Reading this book took me back to my younger years growing up in a legalistic, guilt-based, grace-less church environment.
Using guilt and fear to urge people to do things, even good things, is not a good idea - nor is it the biblical, gospel-centered model.
The author failed to understand that we serve a God who concerns himself with motives of the heart. Why Christians do things is as important, if not more important, than what Christians do. Jerry Bridges states, “the motivation for commitment, discipline, and obedience is important to God, perhaps even more so than our performance.” I'm not saying that the author is wrong regarding his three points, I just don't believe those three points should fall under the "why" category.
Believers are not to serve out of legalistic duty, but out of love. Because of what Christ has done for us (e.g., the gospel), we are to worship him by joyfully serving, loving others, giving, and sharing our faith.
The gospel is what should propel and motivate us to action, not guilt.
It is unfortunate that some believers may get the feeling after reading this particular book that they are not yet good enough in God’s sight, or that God would love them more if they would evangelize.
Thankfully, that is not the case. God’s love for his children is not based on their performance; it is based on the work of Jesus Christ.
May that be our motivation and inspiration for joyful service; not guilt and fear.