Since we are currently on a theme of how we as evangelicals engage with outsiders, I would like to direct your attention to a post by Michael Spencer about the culture war and its implications on our approach to evangelism. It starts off with a Youtube video about the increasing Muslim population of Europe, which is extremely alarmist and based on questionable data.
This leads into a discussion of the culture war and its implications for evangelism. You see, the video is based on several unspoken assumptions: That Muslims are a dangerous group who must not be allowed to gain influence in any society if the people of that society are to have any hope of living in peace and freedom. That Christianity cannot survive in any culture which is not a Christian majority. That the primary goal of Christianity is, and should be, to produce a culture where the majority of people are Christian–by any means necessary.
Several problems with the video and the assumptions on which it is based: First, the numbers which it makes reference to are derived from questionable data. Second, the unspoken characterization of Muslims as a menace to any civilized society smacks of racism which ought to at least make the conscience of any Christian extremely uneasy. Third, Christianity has existed–and thrived–for centuries in places where it was strictly a minority religion. And finally: Did Jesus ever sound like the narrator of this video? I don’t think so.
Next, the article discusses the implications of the culture war upon evangelism. Nowadays, evangelism is simply not happening in many places in evangelical Protestant-dom. The reason for this is that, because of the dominance of culture war priorities and interests in the world of evangelical Protestant-dom, evangelism has become predominantly culture war-centered. Which means that it consists chiefly of asking “them” to join “our” team.
When evangelism becomes an exercise in asking “them” to join “our” team, most people simply don’t want any part in it. The ones who do tend to look at those whom they are evangelizing as “the enemy” and to adjust their tactics accordingly, which all but ensures that those who are being evangelized will not respond favorably.