Adventists’ Position Regarding Proselytism

Adventists’ Position Regarding Proselytism

 
A Look at Proselytism
Today, I resume my series on articles from the book 101 Questions Adventists Ask by B. B. Beach and John Graz. In responding to the question, “Where do Adventists stand in regards to proselytism?” Beach and Graz observed that, “we are faced with the problem of the multiple meanings of proselytism.”  They note, “The time-honored definition has been to convert people from one belief (or lack of belief) to another belief.  That is what evangelism is all about.” Given the explanation it must be clear that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is not opposed to proselytism- and for good reasons. The Lord’s mandate is clear, “we are to make disciples of all.”
 
Wrong Use of Proselytism
“Increasingly, often in ecumenical ranks, proselytism has taken on a pejorative connotation,” contend Beach and Graz.  They explain, “In this context, it refers to corrupt witness, that is, using wrong methods in evangelism such as offering material inducements (remember the expression ‘rice Christians’), using cajolery, making false statements, and taking advantage of people.” No doubt you may have witnessed some questionable approach to winning others to the faith. We ought to ensure that we are not crossing the line offering “carrot” as a bait. The gospel of Christ possesses the power to convert and change the vilest of sinners.
 
False Proselytism
On the other hand, Beach and Graz pointed out, “in certain Orthodox and some ecumenical circles, any effort to convert to your church or belief a person, once baptized into a church, even as a baby, is viewed as proselytism, using ‘the wrong address.’”  However, I need not tell you that, “Adventists cannot accept the concept that a person, baptized as an infant, who never goes to church, who has no living connection to Christ, is off-limits to evangelism.”  Instead, opined Beach and Graz, “We prefer to stand in this matter with a long line of evangelistic witnesses, including the apostle Paul, John Wesley, and Billy Graham.”  The Apostle Paul says, “woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” (I Corinthians 9:16).  After all, “Witnessing to others about the gospel of salvation in Christ is a Christian mandate from God.  While authentic evangelism liberates from intellectual and spiritual drought, false proselytism enslaves and replaces ignorance with subservience to legalism and formalism.” And that we will not subscribe to or have any part there in! Nevertheless, let’s be responsible in our attempts to lead others to the Faith.