Why Try to Change Other People’s Religion?
Those of us that make up the church of Christ honestly and sincerely believe that we are God’s people. We believe that we are God’s people because of our understanding of the Bible’s teaching. We believe that the method of interpretation that we accept is precisely what the Bible teaches about all things that pertain to man’s relationship to God and his eternal destiny. We therefore are convinced that we are Christians in the strictest sense of the use of the word in the New Testament – we are disciples that follow God’s instructions.
OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE EVANGELISTIC PROCESS
The instructions of our Lord regarding evangelizing of the world’s population states “And Jesus came to them and spoke unto them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (ASV) – Matthew 28:18-20.
From the instruction of Christ and the example set by His apostles after the church began (cf. Acts 2:1-47); we can see a continuous pattern by the early Christians of going everywhere attempting to change the sinner and those that possessed other religious beliefs. The early disciples of Jesus Christ attempted to convert the Jews of their day, they attempted to convert those that followed idolatry (i.e. worshippers of images), they sought to convert those that were irreligious both men and women, they attempted to convert sorcerers and those that practiced the occult; they sought to convert those that worshipped Caesar. The Christians of the 1 Century understood that their mission was to convert everyone to religion of Jesus Christ. We know that 3,000 Jews were converted from Judaism (i.e. the Law of Moses) on the birthday of the church of Christ – please observe the following reading found in Acts 2:36-42, “36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified. 37 Now when they heard (this,) they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do? 38 And Peter (said) unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, (even) as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him. 40 And with many other words he testified, and exhorted them, saying, Save yourselves from this crooked generation. 41 They then that received his word were baptized: and there were added (unto them) in that day about three thousand souls. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (ASV)
NOTE: From these verses of scripture we understand that even though the Jews of the first century wanted to hold on to their old religion (i.e. the Law of Moses), the disciples of Christ insisted that they needed to break from that dead law and turn to Jesus Christ and his church in order to be saved from sin because the Lord’s church had replaced the Old Covenant (i.e. the Law of Moses) – therefore they we told to turn to Christ for salvation from sin – cf. Romans 7:1-4, “1 Or are ye ignorant, brethren (for I speak to men who know the law), that the law hath dominion over a man for so long time as he liveth? 2 For the woman that hath a husband is bound by law to the husband while he liveth; but if the husband die, she is discharged from the law of the husband. 3 So then if, while the husband liveth, she be joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if the husband die, she is free from the law, so that she is no adulteress, though she be joined to another man. 4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ; that ye should be joined to another, (even) to him who was raised from the dead, that we might bring forth fruit unto God.” (ASV)
The evangelizing process is a process of converting all people in the world to the religion of Jesus Christ; this concept is exemplified (i.e. undertaken in the world today) by Christians that make up the churches of Christ (i.e. Rom 16:16). Therefore those of us that constitute the church of Christ are to go into all the world and actively work at converting everyone that is not yet a member. The churches of Christ are simply carrying out the instruction of its head; Jesus Christ. Indeed we are obligated to God to work at converting all of the lost in our sphere of influence – to do any less is fail as we have been instructed – cf.
Mark 16:15-16, “15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned.” (ASV)