A survey was conducted in order to assess why 95 percent of Christians never witness. Most of us might think the No. 1 answer to this deplorable situation would be a simple and understandable, "I don't know how." But according to the late Dr. James Kennedy the No. 1 answer to the question, "Why don't you witness?" was, "Because of the life I live." Sad.
I am convinced that the biggest hindrance to Christianity is Christians who live and act like those who make no profession of faith. More damage is done to the cause and name of Christ by those who claim to be Christians but live like the devil than is done by all the atheists and skeptics in the world. That's the negative.
On the positive side of this, I think that the biggest draw to Christianity is Christians who are living Christ-honoring lives.
Dr. Dudley Woodberry is the professor of Islamic Studies at Fuller Seminary. Dr. Woodberry notes the large scale conversions of Muslims to Christianity that is going on in our world today, a trend that the media neglects to report and a trend that has Islamic extremists on guard. In Russia for instance, in 2007, 2 million Muslims converted to Christianity, according to the Web site, Islamic Watch. In France, 10,000 Muslims converted and in Turkey 35,000 Muslims converted to Christianity. In India, there were 10,000 reported conversions.
The numbers don't stop there; Joel Rosenberg in his book "Epicenter" reports that in Algeria 80,000 Muslims have turned to Christ in recent years, despite the stiff opposition from Islamic clerics who have passed laws banning evangelistic efforts by believers.
In Morocco, some 25,000 to 40,000 Muslims have bowed the knee to Christ. In Iraq, some 5,000 have accepted Christ. In the Sudan where persecution of Christians by Islamic Jihadists is so extreme, 5 million Muslims have accepted Christ since the early 1990s. And the numbers continue to grow. According to Sheikh Ahmad Al Qatanni, a leading cleric in Saudi Arabia, "16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity every day." He made that statement on the Al-Jazeera news network.
Now, Dr. Woodberry seeing this trend began a 16-year study in an effort to find out why this was happening. He reports that his study revealed, "The number one reason Muslim converts listed for their decision to follow Christ was the lifestyle of the Christians among them." He observes, "When Christ's love transforms committed Christians into a loving community, many Muslims [identified] a desire to join such a fellowship."
Charles Colson writes, "Woodberry's research shows that when the Church is being the Church -witnessing to the love of Christ and of his transforming power-Muslims are drawn both to us and to him."
Now, I propose that if Christians living as Christians have this type of draw on Muslims, it will have the same draw on those who are lost around us.
I am personally convinced that anyone who calls themselves Christian has one of two effects on people, and I don't believe there is any middle ground.
If we identify ourselves as Christians, every thing we do and say is either going to draw people to Christ or drive them away from Christ. We who take the family name have a tremendous responsibility. Like it or not, one day we are going to account for our effectiveness or lack thereof.
The Bible says, "Sooner or later we'll all have to face God, regardless of our conditions. We will appear before Christ and take what's coming to us as a result of our actions, either good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:10, The Message).
Too many of us are living far below the standard. God's ultimate purpose for us is to make us like Jesus, but too many of us have set our sights on living a life of ease, of living a life that won't rock the proverbial boat, that won't call us to sacrifice that won't cost us anything down here. Our mantra is "salvation is free so I have no obligation." And the result is millions are going into a Christ-less eternity because they see no compelling reason to accept Christ.
Why should they? Most Christians they observe are just like them, only with unpleasant restrictions.
Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church. Write him in care of the church at 11677 Brown Bridge Road Covington, GA 30016. Or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org For more information visit the Gateway website at www.gatewaycommunity.org