Truth in Love
By James Walker
Are you winning the argument or the person? Too often when we are witnessing
to those in alternative religions and "earnestly contend[ing] for the faith"
(Jude 3), Christians can win the argument but fail to win the person.
The Bible tells us to "contend for the faith" not to be contentious for
Yes, we should carefully construct arguments, prepare documentation,
gather proof, and plan biblical responses. But while doing so, we
must always remember that we are not prosecuting attorneys inditing an
enemy - we are saved sinners trying to rescue a fellow human being.
When I was a Mormon, I could always tell the difference between a Christian
who was only trying to prove a point and a Christian who really cared about
me as a person.
Yes, we must share the gospel with those who are lost in counterfeit
Christianity. Part of our message should include reasons why their current
faith is inadequate. As we share this truth, however, we must remember
to do so in love.
This biblical principle is found in Ephesians 4:15. "But speaking the
truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even
In context, the passage is discussing God's provision for Christian
maturity and for avoiding deception and false doctrine. The mature
Christian is to be "speaking the truth in love."
While this principle is applicable to all manner of communication, perhaps
it is most important when we are confronting "every wind of doctrine,"
and false teachers who "lie in wait to deceive" (verse 14).
When witnessing to someone in a counterfeit Christianity we must have
balance. We must have both truth and love.
More Love Than Truth?
We can not love so much that we fail to tell them the truth. It is always
harder to share the gospel with those you love - family and friends who
are lost. This is especially true of those who are in false religions.
We love them so much we do not want to say anything that may hurt their
feelings or jeopardize the relationship.
True love, however, mandates that we find gentile and kind ways to "speak
the truth" to them. When we love someone we care about where they spend
More Truth than Love?
Likewise, we should not be so focused on truth that we forget to communicate
in love. Whenever possible we should try to develop a relationship with
those we are trying to reach.
To witness in love means getting to know the individual at your front
door as more than Mormon missionary or Jehovah's Witness elder. It means
taking the time to know them as a person. It means willingness to listen
and patience when answering.
One goal of this magazine is that you may have resources for sharing
effectively with those in counterfeit Christianity. It is my prayer that
as you use these tools, you always remember to "speak the truth in love."
"And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all
men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves;
if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the
truth" (Timothy 2:24-25).