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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

ePharmaceuticals and evangelism

I'm still training the email program to spot junk mail on my G4. Therefore, I see all the mail that is coming through with it highlighting what it believes to be junk. This, of course, means that I see the spam mail about pharmaceuticals. Just a couple thoughts that have crossed my mind as I see these enter my email:

1. Who would buy perscription drugs online? I would think that it would be scary to be buying a substance you place in your body when you don't know where it comes from. You may get ripped off, paying for something you aren't getting. But scarier yet, you may get more than you paid for. I'd be terrified of what I may be ingesting.
2. They're certainly persistant. First, there's the creative names they use to bypass your filter. Names like "Fundamental Graphite" or "Peppermint C. Briefcase." Then they spell the drugs in creative ways. This morning, their drugs of choice were spelled the following ways: "Vlipagra, Levitora, Cialkis, Imitrhex, Fnlomax, Ultraam, Vioaxx, Ampblem, VaIioum, Xantax, Soema, Merindia." At least I hope they are intentionally misspelling things to bypass filters. Scarier yet, maybe they are sell "knock offs" by these names. Yikes!
3. If we at least get one sale!" Mass emails for garbage like this is are why we have filter programs. I imagine in the business world a program that sends out mass emails is probably relatively cheap. You can probably justify the expense that if just a couple of people respond, you've made your money back.

Can we respond the same way with the Gospel message? Using the same principle, can we approach evangelism with the same attitude? If a method offends or shuts most people off, but has even the remotest chance to reach someone, is it then a productive evangelism method? If I get junk mail for a perscription drug, I can filter it and never go there. If I approach someone about the gospel in a way that turns them off from futher conversations, isn't the harm greater?

Do we change the name? On the flip side, do we ever change the message or terminology slightly to try to bypass a person's filter? Then once the conversation is entered we reveal our real views. Is this just the spiritual "bait and switch" method? Can't we just frustrate people even more?

Lately I've seen some pretty interesting conversations about evangelism online. I strongly believe we must ACT AND SPEAK the gospel message (for that is what Scripture clearly says). The gospel message is pretty clearly mapped out for us (in Scripture, yet conversion is out of our control. There will be times people will be offended at the message, regardless of the grace we extend with it. I also know, if I'm not walking in the Spirit, I may try to manipulate a situation where God is not working.

I'd much rather stand before God and confess that I was at least trying, and lately I've felt much conviction to start doing some much more intentional things to evangelize (dare I say: tracts?). But I pray that in the midst, people know that the desire of my heart is to see God glorified and that they would enjoy Him for eternity. Not that I"m looking to make a heartless sale.

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