I received an anonymous email from someone whom I’m guessing was a member of a house church in Korea. He criticized his pastor for implementing the house church not because he wanted to save souls, but because he wanted his church to grow. He also complained that his pastor pushed his church members to evangelize even though they were not yet ready. I’m posting my reply here because my answer may be helpful to some of our church members.
“You accuse your pastor of implementing the house church not because he truly desires the restoration of the New Testament church but because he simply wants to grow his church, that the latter is his primary motive. I believe the former is closer to his true motive, because house churches don’t accept as members people who have been members of other local churches. If the pastor’s motive for implementing the house church is to make his church grow, this doesn’t make sense.
You also complain that your pastor pushes church members to evangelize too hard when they’re not spiritually mature enough. Evangelization does not require too much maturity. The Gospel of John records that a Samaritan woman talked to townspeople about Jesus and his message as soon as she became a believer. The most common expression for evangelism in the New Testament is “witness.” It doesn’t require much Biblical knowledge or spiritual maturity to tell people what God has done for you.
You seem to believe that verbal evangelism is overly coercive and ineffective. You seem to believe that when Christians live righteous lives, nonbelievers will be impressed and seek God on their own. In my experience, I have yet to meet a person who became a Christian because they were impressed by Christians’ good behavior. Every new Christian I’ve ever met confessed that they became a Christian because someone shared the Gospel with them and urged them to make a decision to receive Christ, or led them to churches or house church meetings. In fact, many of them wondered why their old Christian friends never told them the good news or asked them to come to church with them.
17% of the Korean population is Christian. That means that if Jesus were to return tonight, 17,000 people from a city of 100,000 will go to heaven, and the remaining 83,000 will go to hell. I wonder with whom God would be pleased: those whose motives may not be 100% pure, but who lead people destined for hell to Jesus and eternal life in heaven, or those whose only concern is becoming spiritually mature and living a holy life, who don’t lead a single person to Christ.
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