I saw a video over at The Anchoress‘ where Penn Jillette laments how Tommy Smothers (for you young whippersnappers, the Smothers Brothers were some of the best entertainment of the late 1960s and early 70s) yelled at him for appearing on the Glenn Beck show. I heartily disagree with Jillette on, well, pretty much everything – but his thoughtfulness and honesty just makes me like him. He’s an avowed atheist, but he was appreciative when someone gave him a bible, commenting that if you truly believe in heaven, hell, and eternal life, how much do you have to hate someone to not tell them about it? At the same time, he gleefully proselytizes for atheism.
As a reformed charismatic, my doctrine includes predestination – I believe that those who are saved, who “accept” Jesus (I hate the way that sounds, as though we are doing him a favor!) are actually called by God; that before we were ever born our eternal destination was known to God; that in his mercy he plucked us out of the fire. In short, Romans 8:28-30. I also know that we are called to evangelize – the bible clearly, repeatedly commands us to go out and preach the good news. The combination of those two facts is that I don’t worry about proselytizing in the sense that I feel personally responsible if I share the gospel with someone and they reject it. Jesus saves. Not me. There is absolutely nothing I can personally do to persuade, convince, debate or otherwise “lawyer” someone into Christianity. If God has not called that person, if the holy spirit is not present, no argument will suffice and they will continue to reject salvation. My concern, first and foremost, is to BE a witness for the people in whose lives God has placed me. Relatives, friends, business associates, people I encounter as I go about my day. I try to live as I am called to live and to prayerfully look for opportunities to speak about what God has done for me. As Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”
Why bring all this up? Because it appears that since Jillette’s original video was used by he’s been targeted by well-meaning Christians; he says he’s approached by strangers in this fashion several times a week. I honestly don’t get that. If you “get” somebody famous, do you get a free set of steak knives or something?