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Throughout much of Church history, believers have had the mistaken idea that they have to force the lost to convert to Christianity.  The emperor Charlemagne, for example, who lived from the 740’s to 814 AD, would have pagans executed if they did not convert to the faith. [1]  Although the purposes of the Roman Catholic Church’s Crusades included the retaking of The Holy Land (Jerusalem, etc.) from the Muslims, among other things, they murdered many people during these battles. [2]  In 1562 a man named Diego de Landa Calderon, a Spanish bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Yucatan, had the sacred idols and books of the Maya Indians burned. [3]  And on and on it goes.  Even today, there are those who feel it is their God-given duty to harass and harangue unbelievers into conversion.  One popularly quoted Scripture people use to justify arm-twisting evangelism is this:


Luke 14:23-  “Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.’ ”


This is a verse from Jesus’s Parable of the Great Supper.  It is taken out of context as He is dealing with the Pharisees and other Jewish religious leaders of the day in telling this parable.  Those He makes note of as being in the highways and the hedges represent the Gentiles, in contrast to the Jews to whom God sent Him as their promised Messiah.  There are other Scriptures which could be misconstrued as advocating the use of pressure or some other kind of force to get the lost to become Christians, but let’s look at Jesus’s actual instructions to those He sent out as well as His desire to be merciful:


Matthew 10:11-15:  “Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out.  And when you go into a household, greet it.  If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it.  But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.  And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.  Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!”


Luke 9:51-56:  Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face.  And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him.  But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem.  And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”  But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.  For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.”  And they went to another village.


In all this there is no hint of compunction.  We witness to others, and it is between each person and God as to whether or not they heed the Gospel.  If they reject Jesus, the consequences they will face if they do not repent are up to God, not us.  As we are led by the Holy Spirit we can either love or warn the lost, but we are never to force them to accept Christ.


Jude 1:20-23:  But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.  And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.





[1]  Wikipedia article, “Charlemagne.” Retrieved 07/19/2021.

[2]  Wikipedia article, “Crusades.” Retrieved 07/19/2021.

[3]  Wikipedia article, “Diego de Landa.” Retrieved 07/19/2021.



2 Responses

  1. Amen! Good word! We must remember, we can lead a horse to water, but we can’t make it drink the water. Regardless of how hard we try. The best that we can do is to live our lives unto the Lord and let the people (even the lost) around us see the change that the Holy Spirit has made (and is continuing to make) in our lives and let that be the example and the manifestation of our words. Most of the time, people don’t need to “hear” something “preached” at them, but rather they need to “see” that what we say out of our mouths is lining up with the way we live. :).

    And remember, “They don’t care what you know, until they know you care”! :).