Reasonableness

For years I thought this meant that our sharing of the Gospel should be done in such a way that it is “reasonable”, that it makes sense, has logic, and this is how people would come to faith – by a reasoned, logical, explanation of Christianity.

Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;
Philippians 4:5

As many people who know me know, I’m quite a fanatic when it comes to all things Star Wars. The first movie came out when I was 12 and I was hooked the moment I saw Luke blow up the Death Star that summer at the Genesee Theater in Waukegan, Illinois.

During one scene in Star Wars: The Attack of the Clones Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala are sharing stories of their adventures.

Anakin recounts one story where he and Obi Wan Kenobi had to begin “aggressive negotiations” with some group of people who were at odds with the current government or some such.

Padme asks what he means by “aggressive negotiations.”

Anakin replies that it is “negotiation by lightsaber” (a laser sword in the Star Wars universe). He implies that instead of peaceful discourse, the negotiations had devolved into a battle.

Photo by Rene Asmussen from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/war-battle-middlage-25755/

Throughout the long history of the Christian Church, “aggressive evangelism” has been used at various times.

Aggressive evangelism?

“Evangelism by sword.”

Basically, ominous threats to non-believers to “believe in Jesus or be killed.”

While this certainly produced results, it did NOT produce the results that God intended nor encouraged in his Holy Word.

St. Paul, in Philippians 4, instead encourages us to let our “reasonableness” be known.

For years I thought this meant that our sharing of the Gospel should be done in such a way that it is “reasonable”, that it makes sense, has logic, and this is how people would come to faith – by a reasoned, logical, explanation of Christianity.

But I’ve since learned that this is not what “reasonableness” means at all!

Dr. Richard C. H. Lenski, in his Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Galatians, Ephesians and Philippians, defines the Greek word often translated as “reasonableness” in this way:

“Ever filled with joy and happiness in all heavenly blessings that are ours, anything like rigorousness must be foreign to us, sweet gentleness, considerateness, Lindigkeit (Luther’s beautiful rendering) must ever emanate from us so that all men with whom we come in contact may get to realize, feel, and appreciate it” (R.C.H. Lenksi, Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Galatians, Ephesians and Philippians, ©1961 Augsburg Publishing House, p 875).

Lenski uses the English word “yieldedness” instead of “reasonableness.”

In other words, we need to be always gentle, always loving, always kind and considerate, when sharing the Good News about Jesus.

That doesn’t mean we do not hold fast to our Scriptural integrity – no way! We do not back down in face of opposition. We always and forever should hold forth the Truth of God’s Word and Will.

But never holding up a sword in doing it!

Aggressive negotiations may work for Jedi Knights in Star Wars, but the Christian is called to share the Gospel differently, lovingly, with reasonableness.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank you for dealing with me with reasonableness and not treating me as my sins deserve. You love me, instead, and forgive my sin for the sake of Jesus’ blood and righteousness. Give me your Holy Spirit that I may share the Gospel of Jesus with the same reasonableness. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

© 2017 True Men Ministries

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