Julie Anne at Spiritual Sounding Board posted a photo from Todd Friel’s Facebook page where he suggests:
I’m not a fan of his suggestions, at least not if what he means is that we should lead with these questions when meeting someone claiming to be a Christian.
First, his points are better used as topics for conversation among people. With my friends, we talk about what we’ve been reading, what the meaning of Bible phrases like “born again” mean, how great Jesus is, but we don’t boil it down to three pat questions. That’s just silly.
Also, who asks those types of things of strangers anyway? The point of being with other people is to build relationship. What a person believes will become apparent as the relationship grows. If the person needs instruction on a point and the Holy Spirit equips me to help, great. That’s a blessing for me and the other person. But I don’t think I’m supposed to interrogate and catechize off the bat everyone I meet who claims to be a fellow believer in Jesus.
Plus, I suspect Mr. Friel has specific answers in mind, and that’s another problem with these types of questions. If you don’t fall within what the interrogator considers an acceptable answer then you might find your relationship with God being discounted or flat-out denied to exist. I have a hard time seeing myself telling someone, “I judge you not to belong to Jesus.”
Jesus assured his friends that who belongs to him and who doesn’t is known by the one whose opinion matters.
I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me. (John 10:14.)
He also said that some people might fool themselves about it, but they can’t fool Jesus.
Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?” Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (Matthew 7:21-23.)
And Jesus also pointed out to his friends that some people they never expect to belong to Jesus are actually right there with them in God’s kingdom.
“Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”
“Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward. (Mark 9:38-41.)
It’s passages like these that make me not so interested in Mr. Friel’s three questions.
Instead, I’d suggest these three pursuits:
- Look to Jesus,
- Watch what he does in people’s lives, and
- Rejoice with those who belong to him.
Now there are three things worth our time and effort.