A Game?


#1

In the evangelical churches I’m used to, you always hear about how we should “win souls” for Christ. I am all for evangelization, but I have always had a problem with that phrase. I know that many protestants consider it almost a competition- if they get more people “saved”, then they will get some kind of greater reward in Heaven. Never really have been sure of what the belief is. But the phrase “win souls” makes it sound like some kind of competition or game. Any thoughts?


#2

Guess I’m the only one who wonders about that.:shrug:


#3

I had never really thought about it but now that you mention it, I’m wondering if it’s sort of a competition between God and the devil. When you lead people away from the devil and to God, I guess you could say you are winning souls for God. Just a thought.:slight_smile:


#4

Yeah, that makes sense. But it still just doesn’t sit right with me. Hard to explain, I guess.


#5

Hi JF,
There are different ways of looking at this.
Some people consider it ‘pushing religion down peoples throats’, some people take a big interest in learning about religion and some people just want to know about God and you can show them what you believe in.
I, myself am a catechist for year 2 children and LOVE teaching them about God. Their parents volunteered for them to learn, and thats what im there for. At first, they thought oh my goodness, religion, this can be quite boring. But i like to bring fun and understanding into my classes and its a good way for children to learn and they love it, but that is just one aspect of evangelization.
As for me talking to adults about it etc, I let my actions do the talking. I get told often im a good friend by my friends, and I put that down to God giving me the holy spirit that makes me who I am. If they ask, im happy to talk about it, actually love talking about it, and hopefully they cotton on and learn about the way of God.
But what i have mentioned is just one aspect of evangelization, and people take it different ways.
But being part of the catholic church, its my duty to pass on the word of God to others, and im quite happy to do that in the current way i have chosen how.


#6

Hi,

I hear that prhase, seeing that Im evangelical. Although I have never used it.

I guess I think of it more as we need to do what we were told to do and spread the Good News throughout the world. I guess if you look at it as a competition it could be depressing.:frowning:

If it was Im losing to a missisonary friend of mine who is on her way back from the Sudan PTL!!:smiley:

I think we should all evangelize in/and with the ability God gaves us. Not all of us are equipped to be missionaries that travel around the world. Heck Im a missionary to my hubby and children. I dont even have to leave my home.:smiley: :thumbsup:

I talk about the Lord at my gym all the time. People there certainly know where I stand and if they have a question–they know who to come too.:smiley:

I like the phrase–One Soul at a Time. You can only reach someone if God opens their heart to the truth anyway.

With that said–I think God will give us the opportunities to spread the Word wherever we are(whether it be your home, the gym, work, or the Sudan)Dont worry about what other christians are or are not doing. Just serve and Glorify God in all you do(follow His will for you) and He will be happy with you:thumbsup:


#7

It does smack of that winning Protestant-style salesmanship and marketing,as if Christianity was a business and the seller takes credit for selling the product and brings the won profits to the boss. It shows a lack of proper humility,and there is not much mystery involved.


#8

I am not sure how to ‘take’ this question… but I am going to take it as it was probably meant, a true and honest question.

Winning Souls. Wouldn’t someone turning to Christ be like winning the lottery for them? How could that not be viewed as a ‘win’? It is not so much YOU winning the soul as it is God if that makes any sense. Like AllForHim I have never really used the phrase but if someone puts their Faith in God because they have listened to the Good News that Christ sent us out to spread then that would be a ‘win’… if they don’t and they choose a life without God and go to Hell that would definitely be a loss, for them and God’s family.


#9

It’s too serious to be a game, more like spiritual warfare. You want to win at war as well as at a game.


#10

Don’t get me wrong, I know that Protestants are extremely active in evangelization and missionary work, and I thank God for it. My former church (also evangelical) has missionary activities in South Africa, and they recently bought a TV studio to go on air and preach. But they spend more money on that than on their own community, where people are not only in need of salvation, but temporal help, too. It just seems like maybe the emphasis is more on evangelization than doing anything for people after they get “saved”. There was a funny article in the Onion last year, can’t find the link, but it was about a missionary group raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for thousands of new, shiny, leatherbound Bibles, and taking them to some African nation, handing them out to all the starving villagers. The point obviously being that while the starving Africans may need Jesus, they need FOOD, too. That kind of made me think about the whole competition thing, I guess.


#11

I agree with you about feeding them. I do believe that missionaries do what they can while there. The one we support in our church just went to Sudan and it was also a medical missions trip.

I think the missionaries do more then we see. :smiley: Plus unless you here about it through the church–the news never covers the humanity stories. They would rather cover Iraq.:mad: Our missionary brings back pictures for us so we can see what went on. News organizations just arent interested enough to cover the POSITIVE things that people are doing. Plus if it is a religious organization, the news most likely wont cover it.:mad:

Im sure you would agree;) :shrug:


#12

I have never used that phrase, but when I hear it I think in terms of a Christian Soldier rather than a salesman or gamer. Like winning the battle for souls, you know?
Ravyn


#13

I guess I don’t see that term as applying to a frivolous game or some sort of competition but a common phrase that conveys the message that as Christians we are called to be apostolic. If you recall St. Paul took solace in the fact that he “ran the race well” so he clearly saw his apostolic mission in that light so I’m not as sensitive to the issue as you are.

Having said that, to the extent that there is a lack of purity of intention (i.e., I am trying win an argument rather than bring precious souls to a closer relationship with Christ, I am trying to take credit for conversions even though all are brought to Christ by the Holy Spirit, etc.) then using the phrase “win souls” might have a negative connotation. If its a term you aren’t comfortable with then don’t use it. When you perceive that it is being used in a negative way I would charitably point out that saving souls isn’t a sports event but that you are grateful they are cooperating with the Holy Spirit to bring Christ to others.


#14

Can I be honest and tell you what it sounds like to this cradle Catholic?

It sounds like a competition between churches or peoples… and it really bugs me. It seems like these folks are not giving the glory to God…they want it for themselves. My understanding is that the grace needed for salvation comes from God alone not from man. Now I do believe that men cooperate with God in carrying out his plan for salvation, but that means we can take no credit as humans for any body’s salvation.

People accuse Catholics of not evangelizing, this is silly… we just don’t do it in the same way. What about Mother Teresa? What about Pope John Paul II? They were both evangelists…in different ways. Mother Teresa knew that you can’t evangelize to starving dying people, so she showed them about Christianity by her actions… caring for the sick, feeding the poor etc. Pope JP II was an evangelist in that he was very good at freeing us from the human barriers (communism) so that we could choose to follow God. He also was very good at talking with people of other faiths… What about Catholic Charities, or Catholic Relief Services? Don’t they qualify as organizations that evangelize by their actions?

How about my father as an evangelist? Yep, My dad. He taught me by his words and by his actions. He taught me all my prayers as a child, made sure I learned about my faith and he exposed me to his example. I used to see him kneeling by his bed praying and crying for my mothers soul. He never left (Boy did I think he was stupid when I was a kid for not leaving mom) but now I see the great example he left for me and my siblings… what a testament to a human father’s love! What a testament to our Heavenly Father’s love too…

How about me? What do I do? Well let’s start with raising my kids with faith. How about being an example that the easy way isn’t the right way? I could have taken the easy way out many times, but I chose to teach my kids that the right way is better than the easy way.

God doesn’t give all of us the same gifts… we wouldn’t appreciate them if he did. Some of us are called to teach in schools and churches, some of us are called to be living examples of his Word. Others are called to be reminders of why we need God’s love too. We all give according to our gifts, the point is, none of us is solely responsible for “saving” or “winning” another soul for God.


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