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Featured Are there Bible proofs that Proselytism is wrong?

Discussion in 'Scriptural Debates' started by stvdv, Feb 1, 2020.

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  1. YES: The Bible has inconsistencies

  2. YES: The Bible gives verses To Proselytize and to not Proselytize

  3. These inconsistencies are fine with me OR keeps me sharp

  4. These inconsistencies made me decide to drop the Bible

  5. I have a problem with the inconsistencies, but the problem lies not in me

  6. I have a problem with the inconsistencies, so the problem lies in me

  7. I see the inconsistencies as a challenge to not blindly follow the Bible

  8. I believe Evangelism is okay

  9. I believe Evangelism and Proselytism are okay

  10. I believe Evangelism and Proselytism should not be done

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  1. stvdv

    stvdv Veteran Member

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    Are there Bible proofs that Proselytism is wrong?

    First of all what is the difference between Evangelizing vs Proselytizing?
    IMO (very short):
    1) Evangelizing is being enthusiastic about something and sharing it with others, who eagerly want to hear
    2) Proselytizing is evangelizing, but thinking/speaking/acting arrogantly, as if you know best (also for others)

    Hypothetical:
    1) God is defined as: omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent
    2) The Bible is the word of God and could be "perfect"

    Even if there are mistakes in the Bible, this 'omni'-God could change it, if He deems it necessary. All Bibles He could change within seconds. But God did not do that, hence 2 options: No errors or God is fine with errors or...

    a) There are no errors? We have gone over this on RF; no need to debate this here again.
    b) Why would God allow errors (or inconsistencies)?
    c) Why tell in 1 place to Proselytize, and in another don't Proselytize?
    d) Would you go against God (if that's possible at all), when choosing one over the other (or choose both)?
    (If you believe there are no errors, then you can remain silent. This OP is not about (dis)proving errors; just your opinion of the verse)

    Now coming back to the OP's title. I found some verse, that clearly indicates "Proselytism is wrong". Also a verse that indicate "Proselytizing is right". As a Christian you must follow the Bible, so it seems you can choose. In this OP I decided to pick "do not Proselytize". Those who pick the other one, again, need not convince others that 'all' have to Proselytize. That would be Proselytizing itself. I am fine they believe that way, they may, but need not change.

    *) I am curious if others found verses that clearly tell us "Do not proselytize".
    *) This is not about "is this an error or not"
    *) This is more about "I found errors", what I do now?
    *) Accepting Bible inconsistencies. Figure out, "why God allowed errors". Why if God is omniscient etc.?
    *) IF I have a problem with inconsistencies, does this problem lies within myself, or not?
    *) If I have a problem with inconsistencies, how I solve it?

    *) The solution "God does not exist in the first place" is ruled out in the beginning: Hypothetical-1).
     
    #1 stvdv, Feb 1, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2020
  2. KenS

    KenS Veteran Member
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    I answered before reading your definition.

    I'm not sure your definition is quite correct.

    Definition of proselytize


    intransitive verb

    1: to induce someone to convert to one's faith
    2: to recruit someone to join one's party, institution, or cause

    Merriam-Webster

    I agree that one shouldn't be arrogant... but I'm not sure that is applicable in the definition.
     
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  3. KenS

    KenS Veteran Member
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    Certainly, I would agree, that there is a line that shouldn't be crossed:

    Many times Jesus said "Come to me..."; as in "thirsty, hungry, burdened" etc... "Come to me" denotes free will and not being forced. One can be thirsty but not wanting to "come to Jesus".

    At the same time Jesus said (paraphrased), "Don't prevent the children from coming to me..." which also denotes a free will and speak against those who say "Don't proselytize or evangelize" IMO
     
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  4. stvdv

    stvdv Veteran Member

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    Neither am I. I just kicked it off. Curious how others feel about both Evangelizing and Proselytizing, and if they see a clear difference. I did not.

    I came across this today, where the Pope explains a bit about this:
    Proselytism is the strongest venom against the path of ecumenism - Pope Francis, Oct. 13, 2016
    The Holy Father isn't discouraging evangelization. He's discouraging proselytization.
     
  5. KenS

    KenS Veteran Member
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    "Does that mean we must all go door to door, handing out tracts and pamphlets on street corners, proclaiming fiery speeches and haranguing our neighbors?"

    I would agree with the Pope but I would hold to the position of "that is not proselytizing" - that is harrasment--although pamphlets would be OK with me.
     
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  6. Gerry

    Gerry Well-Known Member

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    You didn’t give enough possible choices to answer the question in the title.
     
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  7. Gerry

    Gerry Well-Known Member

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    Let’s see:

    John 6:44. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
    The Father draws him, NOT the proselytizer.

    John 14:6. Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
    NOT through the proselytizer.

    Ephesians 2:8. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
    NOT your doing, NOT the proselytizer, but a gift of God.

    Isaiah 43:11. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.
    NO other, the proselytizer will not save you OR even help you find the way.
    The only thing the proselytizer can do, is lead you to their religion, along with its falsities.
     
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  8. Gerry

    Gerry Well-Known Member

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    a). There are no errors in the Bible. It’s true, mistranslations are errors, but the word of God is without error. You can discover mistranslations (some done on purpose because of an agenda). It’s not hard to do. Also, after a while, you will not even be bothered by the errors in translation, because you will know what is correct.
    Jeremiah 31:33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

    At that time, you will also know what is meant by “the people of Israel”. :)

    b). Since there are no errors, this becomes moot.

    c). Once one has a clear understanding who (what) God really is, the Bible message becomes coherent. At that time, one sees the big picture, and no longer needs to cherry-pick select verses to support their personal misguided views.

    d). I make every effort NOT to go against God.
     
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  9. 1213

    1213 Well-Known Member

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    Bible tells this:

    Into whatever city or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy; and stay there until you go on. As you enter into the household, greet it. If the household is worthy, let your peace come on it, but if it isn't worthy, let your peace return to you. Whoever doesn't receive you, nor hear your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake off the dust from your feet.
    Matt. 10:11-14

    I think that is “and sharing it with others, who eagerly want to hear” and not forcing the message to all.

    All the “errors” I have seen are in the interpretations of people.
     
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  10. stvdv

    stvdv Veteran Member

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    Proselytize: Thank you for the definition above
    Arrogance: I have put the definition below
    An attitude of
    superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions

    Why I believe that Proselytize is arrogant, as per the definitions of the words given in Merriam-Webster.
    1) "Attitude of superiority":
    Why do you proselytize? ... Because you hope that the other converts to your faith
    Why do you hope that the other converts to your faith? ... Because you believe your faith is the superior one

    So, it seems (according to Merriam-Webster definitions) that Proselytizing is done from a feeling of superiority, which is the basis of the definition of Arrogance, hence Proselytizing implies arrogance IMO.

    I can think of one example where Proselytizing is not arrogant. A man wants to marry a woman. Both have different belief systems. But they both believe, that their faith is "not superior" to that of the other. Then one person can ask the other to join his/her faith/Church, because that's more practical (same agenda...).

    Definition of Arrogance:
    An attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions
    1a: tending to overwhelm : OVERPOWERING
    had to deal with his overbearing mother
    1b: decisively important : DOMINANT
    didn't think it was the overbearing consideration here

    2: harshly and haughtily arrogant
    the mayor's overbearing manner of dealing with employees
    (of a person or their behaviour) failing to observe the limits of what is permitted or appropriate
    A person who is presumptuous shows little respect for others by doing things they have no right to do
    A thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof.
     
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  11. stvdv

    stvdv Veteran Member

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    :)✝️ ..........To Cross or not to Cross..........✝️:)
     
    #11 stvdv, Feb 2, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2020
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  12. stvdv

    stvdv Veteran Member

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    Or, as in my case, I already have a faith, which includes Jesus also. Because my Master says "You need not change Religion, I make you better in your Religion". So, as I was born in a Christian country, I do have familiarity with Christianity, Bible and Jesus. But I was never into Church going when I was young. Then, at age 25, I started traveling and God called me to India. I went, and it felt so good, that I choose Sanatana Dharma as my Faith. As my Master speaks a lot about Jesus, I Love Jesus too. And my Master has shown me incredible things about Jesus, that blew my mind. So definitely it does not apply to me "not wanting to come to Jesus".
     
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  13. Ayjaydee

    Ayjaydee Active Member

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    They're certainly wrong if they occur on my doorstep and you'll be made very aware of that fact
     
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  14. stvdv

    stvdv Veteran Member

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    Thank you Ken for quoting this verse. A very valuable verse.

    * I agree with: "which also denotes a free will":
    I find this verse of Jesus very important, one of my favorite verses: Matthew 19:14
    14But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them! For the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

    Why I think this is of paramount importance. Here Jesus gives the key, how to get into Heaven. It's so simple. My Master always shares this story: "In the olden days, there were poor little girls tending the cows, and who were singing the glory of God. They owned nothing, knew nothing from grammer rules or Scriptures, but let me assure you, God loves them very much".

    Note: Jesus says "For the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these", Jesus does not say "will belong to such as these"
    This tells me, that the children do not need to do anything, it already belongs to them. Jesus does not say "convert them first'
    Adults is a totally different story, they first need to become "such as these".
    (I just picture myself in that time with Jesus...Just let the children walk up to Jesus. They are pure and innocent, don't spoil them first)
     
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  15. stvdv

    stvdv Veteran Member

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    You are completely right. Perfect example. Thank you very much for sharing this beautiful verse.

    I think that this verse gives us valuable advice:
    "If the household is worthy, let your peace come on it, but if it isn't worthy, let your peace return to you"
    You might loose your peace if you stay in a place that is not worthy (respectful) towards you.
    It reminds us of the second part in 'Love your neighbor as your self" ... love yourself also, as in "keep your peace"

    shake off the dust from your feet.
    I think this means that you "let go" of whatever happened there "disturbing your peace of mind"
     
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  16. stvdv

    stvdv Veteran Member

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    Yes, I see that is a bit confusing. The title is a question if there are Bible proofs that proselytism is wrong. And you don't see it in the poll.

    I had in mind that the title would be answered in replies. And in the poll I had a bunch of questions, I was curious how others thought about it.
     
  17. stvdv

    stvdv Veteran Member

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    Thank you for sharing these verses. I think, being humble in devotion is a wonderful path to follow

    Interesting honest line, the last line you wrote.
    So, if the proselytizer lead someone to their religion, how does it go from there in your opinion?
    How to come to the Father:
    a) Through God's Grace
    b) Through The Religion
    c) Through Self Effort
    d) Through Follow Teachings
    e) Through Our Devotion
    f) Through a combination
    g) ....
     
  18. stvdv

    stvdv Veteran Member

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    Thank you for sharing.
    The Word of God is my great treasure. And I see mistranslations as an interesting challenge.
    I might be worried, if I found "Zero Errors". So errors do not bother me at all.

    Nice verse
    I also liked the 2 verses following this verse (esp. in the context of the OP)
    :)

    I agree.

    #MeToo.
     
  19. stvdv

    stvdv Veteran Member

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    Yes reading those words in the article of the Pope surprised me a bit. I also had the feeling "This is a bit too much for me". Pamphlets is OK with me too. And I love to listen to personal inspiring experiences of people. As long as there is "mutual equivalence" I like to share with others.

    You are Pastor. I thought the difference between Evangelizing and Proselytizing has to do with "how you bring the Gospel". Where Proselytizing is the more aggressive approach (making claims instead of sharing opinions). Could you tell me what you see as the major difference? Does the below, how the Pope says it, is how you see it? (Feels quite good to me)

    These quotes of the Pope show the difference between evangelizing and proselytizing :
    Proper evangelization is a proclamation of Jesus without fear or apprehension that no one will listen. It arises out of our living relationship with Jesus through prayer, regular reception of the Sacraments, performing the works of mercy, and fulfilling the duties of our state in life. We become transparent to Jesus and so are living proclamations of the Gospel. We don't all need to be saints or scholars to evangelize; we simply need to love Jesus and be prepared to share that love with other people. At the same time, we are to present Jesus as clearly and as accurately as we can, so we must study Church teachings in Scripture and Tradition, learn the lives of the saints, and be prepared to defend the faith to the best of our ability.

    Proselytization, on the other hand, is essentially spiritual bullying, driven by the fear of God and the fear of neighbor. We fear that if we don't make converts, we are failures and will be punished, because we believe that making converts depends upon us and our efforts, rather than on our cooperation with the Holy Spirit. We fear that if our neighbors don't convert, there's something wrong with the Gospel or with ourselves. Proselytization isn't inspired by the Holy Spirit, whose fruits are "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Gal 5:22-23). Proselytization arises from the works of the flesh, whose bad fruits include "hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy" (Gal 5:20-21).

    Evangelization goes out to others and listens to them;
    proselytization excludes others and simply talks at them.

    Evangelization is a proclamation of Jesus, allowing people to have an encounter with Christ;
    proselytization is proud and convinced that it has all the answers.

    Evangelization trusts in the Holy Spirit as the true evangelist, as the one who makes converts;
    proselytization believes it's up to us, to the force of our arguments and persuasive power.

    To summarize the Holy Father's points: evangelization is about trust, proselytization is about fear.

    Let us trust in Jesus and the Holy Spirit to evangelize through us, if only we say yes to God, if only we act from love of God and neighbor.
     
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  20. Gerry

    Gerry Well-Known Member

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    You posed an extremely important question.
    My answer will undoubtably be incorrect, but it’s what I have, so I will try to give it as best I can.
    To start off, I have wondered why the religions don’t lead people to the Lord before anything else. In other words, when you get a new person in the church building, provide a mandatory class that teaches who and what the Lord is. But, the many many churches I have gone to spend their effort on teaching their doctrine. And, unfortunately, for me, that didn’t lead to the Lord. It led away from Him.
    I kept sensing something wrong with the classes and bible studies. Also, what I was hearing wasn’t ringing completely true, although it’s mixed so cleverly with the truth. So, I searched on my own, online of all places. (Self effort)
    Generally, self effort can lead you astray worse than the churches, if you are not careful. Initially, I would search for those places, people, and commentators, that supported my ideas. It’s easy. Kind of like trump supporter watching only Fox news. But, I consider myself an independent thinker. Plus I realize that I know almost nothing. (As compared to those who know everything). The important part of my journey was that after anything I read, I would go to the Bible and do some research. Not just supporting verses, but anything and everything. I’m impatient and wanted everything immediately. I would stay up late at nights reading for hours trying to understand a single verse in Genesis. I eventually discovered, the Lord doesn’t work that way. He gives you your daily bread. Only He knows what and how much you can handle. So, after a (VERY frustrating) process of this research and Bible study, I finally discovered the Lord. I now knew the Lord. Once I knew the Lord, my eyes were opened. (God’s grace).
    Psalm 119:18. Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law
    Luke 24:45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures
    My efforts were my plea to understand the Word, and the Lord answered me.
    Only He can open our minds to understand what is written. Up until that point we can only know our own understanding of what is written. And that is most likely wrong.
    Bottom line, since that time, I can read the Word (especially the OT) and see beautiful things. “Wonderful things”. No more contradictions. No more strange stories that make no sense.

    Therefore, my answer is: a combination of “a” and “c”
    It’s a mutual union. “The Lord in me and me in the Lord”

    Sorry, it’s so lengthy.
     
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