40 Cliches Christians Should Never Use

July 2012 By Christian Piatt

We Christians have a remarkable talent for sticking our feet in our mouths. When searching the words most commonly associated with “Christian,” the list ain’t pretty. I think part of this can be attributed to a handful of phrases that, if stricken from our vocabulary, might make us a little more tolerable. Yes, these things may mean something to you, but trust me, non-Christians don’t share your love for these tried-and-true cliches.

So in no particular order, here are phrases Christians should lose with a quickness:

  1. “Everything happens for a reason.” I’ve heard this said more times than I care to. I’m not sure where it came from either, but it’s definitely not inthe Bible. The closest thing I can come up with is “To everything, there is a season,” but that’s not exactly the same. The fact is that faith, by definition, is not reasonable. If it could be empirically verified with facts or by using the scientific method, it wouldn’t be faith. It would be a theory. Also, consider how such a pithy phrase sounds to someone who was raped. Do you really mean to tell them there’s a reason that happened? Better to be quiet, listen and if appropriate, mourn alongside them. But don’t dismiss grief or tragedy with such a meaningless phrase.
  2. “If you died today, do you know where you’d spend the rest of eternity?” No, I don’t, and neither do you. So stop asking such a presumptuous question as this that implies you have some insider knowledge that the rest of us don’t. And seriously, if your faith is entirely founded upon the notion of eternal fire insurance, you’re not sharing testimony; you’re peddling propaganda.
  3. “He/she is in a better place.” This may or may not be true. Again, we have no real way of knowing. We may believe it, but to speak with such authority about something we don’t actually know is arrogant. Plus, focusing on the passing of a loved one minimizes the grief of the people they left behind.
  4. “Can I share a little bit about my faith with you?” Too often, Christians presume we have something everyone else needs, without even knowingthem first. Ask someone about their story, but maybe not the second you meet them. Christian evangelism often is the equivalent of a randy young teenager trying to get in good with his new girlfriend. When your personal agenda is more important than the humanity of the person you’re talking to, most people can sense the opportunism from a mile a way.
  5. “You should come to church with me on Sunday.” It’s not that we should never invite people to church, but too much of the time, it’s the first thing we do when we encounter someone new. My wife, Amy, and I started a new church eight years ago, founded on the principle of “earning the right to invite.” Invest in people first. Listen to their stories. Learn their passions, their longings, and share the same about yourself. Then, after you’ve actually invested in each other, try suggesting something not related to church to help you connect on a spiritual level. If the person really gets to know you and wants to know more about why you live your life the way you do, they’ll make a point to find out. Then again, if you come off as just another opinionated, opportunistic Christian, why should they honor your predatory approach with a visit to the church that taught you how to act that way in the first place?
  6. “Have you asked Jesus into your heart?” As many times as I’ve heard this, I still don’t really know what it means. why my heart? Why not my liver or kidneys? This also makes Christianity sound like a purely emotional experience, rather than a lifelong practice that can never entirely be realized. But yeah, asking someone if they’re engaged in a lifelong discipline to orient their lives toward Christlike compassion, love and mercy doesn’t exactly have the same ring to it.
  7. “Do you accept Jesus as your personal lord and savior?” Again, this is not in the Bible. Anywhere. And for me, it goes against the wholeChristlike notion of the suffering servant. People tried to elevate Jesus to the status of Lord, but he rejected it. So why do we keep trying? Plus, the whole idea of a lord is so antiquated, it has no real relevance to our lives today. Be more mindful of your words, and really mean what you say.
  8. “This could be the end of days.” This is one of my favorites. We Christians love to look for signs of the end of the world; we practically have an apocalyptic fetish. It’s like we can’t wait until everything comes to a smoldering halt so we can stand tall with that “I told you so” look on our faces, while the nonbelievers beg for mercy. Yeah, that sounds like an awesome religion you’ve got going there. Sign me up!
  9. “Jesus died for your sins.” I know, this is an all-time Christian favorite. But even if you buy into the concept of substitutionary atonement (the idea that God set Jesus up as a sacrifice to make good for all the bad stuff we’ve done), this is a abysmal way to introduce your faith to someone. I didn’t ask Jesus to die for me, and if I’m not a Christian, I really have no concept of how that could possibly be a good thing. he whole idea of being washed clean by an innocent man’s blood is enough to give any person nightmares, let alone lead them into a deeper conversation about what Christianity is about.
  10. “Will all our visitors please stand?” If someone finally is brave enough to walk through the doors of your church, the last thing they want is to be singled out. They probably don’t know the songs you’re singing or the prayers or responsive readings you’re reading. Depending on the translation of the Bible you use, the scripture may not make much sense, and they probably have no idea where the bathroom is. So why add to the discomfort by making them stand so everyone can stare at them? Also, calling someone a visitor already implies they are simply passing through, that they’re not a part of things. Instead of “visitor” or “guest,” try something less loaded like “newcomer.” Better yet, walk up to them, introduce yourself and learn their name.
  11. Love the sinner, hate the sin. This is a backhanded way to tell someone you love them, at best. It also ignores the command by Jesus not to focuson the splinter in our neighbors’ eyes while a plank remains in our own. Bottom line: we all screw up, and naming others’ sin as noteworthy while remaining silent about your own is arrogant.
  12. The Bible clearly says…Two points on this one. First, unless you’re a Biblical scholar who knows the historical and cultural contexts of the scriptures and can read them in their original languages, the Bible isn’t “clear” about much. Yes, we can pick and choose verses that say one thing or another, but by whom was it originally said, and to whom? Cherry-picking scripture to make a point is called proof-texting, and it’s a theological no-no. Second, the Bible can be used to make nearly any point we care to (anyone want to justify slavery?), so let’s not use it as a billy club against each other.
  13. God needed another angel in heaven, so He called him/her home. Another well-meaning but insensitive thing to say. This assumes a lot about what the person you’re speaking to believes, and it also ignores the grief they’re going through. The person who died is, well, dead. Focus on the needs of the living right in front of you.
  14. Are you saved? I’ve addressed the theological understandings of hell and judgment in other pieces, but regardless of whether you believe in hell, this is a very unattractive thing to say. First, it implies a power/privilege imbalance (ie, “I’m saved, but I’m guessing you’re not based on some assumptions I’m making about you), and it also leaps over the hurdle of personal investment and relationship, straight into the deep waters of personal faith. If you take the time to learn someone’s story, you’ll like learn plenty about what they think and believe in the process. And who knows? You might actually learn something too, rather than just telling others what they should believe.
  15. The Lord never gives someone more than they can handle. What about people with mental illness? What about people in war-torn countrieswho are tortured to death? What about the millions of Jews murdered in the Holocaust? And this also implies that, if really horrible things are happening to you, God “gave” it to you. Is this a test? Am I being punished? Is God just arbitrarily cruel? Just don’t say it.
  16. America was founded as a Christian nation. Honestly, I find it hard to believe we are still having this conversation, but here we are. Anyone with a cursory understanding of history understands that we were founded on the principle of religious liberty – not just the liberty to be a Christian – and that many of the founding fathers explicitly were not Christian. Thomas Jefferson, anyone?
  17. The Bible says it; I believe it; that settles it. If ever there was a top-shelf conversation killer this is it. You’re not inviting any opinion, response, thought or the like. You’re simply making a claim and telling others to shut up. Also, I’ve yet to meet someone who takes EVERY WORD of the Bible literally. Everyone qualifies something in it, like the parts about keeping kosher, wearing blended fibers, stoning adulterers, tossing your virgin daughters into the hands of an angry mob…you get the point.
  18. It was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. This is a little “joke” some Christians use to assert the superiority of opposite-sex unions over same-sex ones. But here’s the thing: if you really believe the first and only two people on the planet at one point were Adam and Eve, who did their kids marryand have babies with? This, my friends, is incest (happened again if you believe Noah’s family members were the only survivors of the great flood). This just demonstrates the selective moral blindness many of us Christian have and seriously compromises our credibility about anything else.
  19. Jesus was a Democrat/Republican. Seems to me that, when pressed, Jesus was happy to keep church and state separate. Remember the whole thing about giving to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and giving to God what is God’s? And if we choose to, we can pick and choose anecdotes to support Jesus being a liberal (care for the poor, anti death penalty) or a conservative (challenge government authority, practice sexual purity). Jesus was Jesus, and if it was as simple as pegging him to one of two seriously flawed contemporary forms of government, I can promise you I would not be a Christian.
  20. (Insert sin here) is an abomination in the eyes of God. Almost always, when this phrase is invoked, it has something to do with sex or sexuality. Seldom do folks care to mention that divorce and remarriage is in that list of so-called abominations. Also, there are several words translated in English Bibles as ‘abomination,’ many of which don’t imply the sort of exceptionalism that such a word makes us think of today. And while we’re on the thread of things scripture says God “hates,’ let’s consider this from Proverb
  21. Christianity is the only way to God/Heaven. You may believe this with your whole heart, and I’m sure you have the scriptures at the ready to support it. But consider the possibility that either those you’re speaking with think differently about this, or if they haven’t put much thought into it, that what you’re saying feels like an ultimatum or a threat.  Yes, there are texts to support a theology of exclusive salvation, but there also are some to support a more universalist notion of salvation (John 1:9 – “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.”). And think about how such a statement might sound to someone who has lost a loved one who was not a Christian, at least by your standards of what that means. And theologically speaking, it opens up a whole Pandora’s Box in answering for the fate of all those who lived before Christ, who never hear about him, and so on.
  22. When God closes a door, He opens a window. Like some other cliches, this implies that, when something unexpected (and usually bad)happens to you, God did it to you. I know it’s well-meaning, but it’s not helpful in some cases. What about someone who feels like the door has closed on them, and there is no other hope in sight? That persona may benefit more from a compassionate ear, a loving heart and a simple “what can I do to help”” much more than some phrase that may or may not have any basis in reality.
  23. God helps those who help themselves. Let me be clear – THIS IS NOT IN SCRIPTURE. People treat it like it is, but it’s not. Benjamin Franklin penned this in the Farmers’ Almanac in 1757. Be very, very careful when quoting something you think is in the Bible. And even if it is, be very careful in how and why you quote it to/at people. People don’t need more reasons to resent or resist scripture; let’s not add things that aren’t even in there.
  24. Perhaps God is (causing something negative) to get your attention/It is God’s way of telling you it is time for (fill in the blank). To me, this comes off as speaking on behalf of God. It seems to me that the better thing to say, if anything is “Is there any good that can come of this?” or “What wisdom can we find in this experience?” but better than this is – as I’ve said before – being quiet, being present and being compassionately loving. Let God speak for God.
  25. There, but for the grace of God, go I. This suggests that the person who is the object of whatever misfortune you’re referring to is not the recipient of God’s grace. The thing is (at least as I understand it) grace isn’t grace if it’s selectively handed out like party favors. Relating to someone, and even sharing common experiences, or how you could see yourself in their similar situation is one thing. But making it sound like you’re not suffering because of God’s grace while they are is just unkind
  26. If you just have enough faith (fill in the blank) will happen for you. Talk about setting God up! Who are we to speak to what God will or willnot do in others’ lives? Sure, if you have a story of personal experience to share, ask for permission to share it. But be aware that someone in the midst of struggle may not be in a place to hear it. But fulfilling promises like this is above our human pay grade. As my dad used to say, don’t write checks your butt can’t cash
  27. I don’t put God in a box. This actually is a favorite of many progressives. This comes off as pretty arrogant, in my opinion. You’re implying others put God in a box, and that your theological perspective is superior because you don’t. The problem is, anyone who believes in God puts God in a box. Yes, your box may be different than others’ boxes, but unless you share the “mind of God,” your understanding of God is some conscripted, dimly illuminated view of what God actually is, at best.
  28. (Insert name) is a good, God-fearing Christian. First off, the phrase “God-fearing” is a real turn-off to many Christians and non-Christians alike. Though some understand God as a thing to be feared, a lot of folks simply do not relate to that image of God. And if you happen to be using the word “fear” as a synonym for “respect,” consider the likelihood that your audience probably hears “fear” as “fear.”
  29. God is in control. This raises a very fundamental problem of Theodicy, which most Christians I’ve met who say this are not necessarily prepared to address. Theodicy is the dilemma between belief in an all-knowing, all-loving and all-powerful God with the existence of evil and/or suffering in the world. And the other problem is that, if you believe that human beings have free will (a central tenet of most Christian thought), it needs to be recognized that that, in itself, is a concession of control by God. And like other phrases I’ve mentioned about God’s role in daily life, be careful in tossing this one around. Telling someone who was raped, abused, tortured, neglected, etc. that God was in control during that experience likely is enough to incent that person to turn from the concept of God forever.

10 Emergent Christian Cliches to Avoid

Following the creation of my first five articles in this ongoing series about Christian cliches (links below), I was alerted to the fact that my lists were notably absent of particular cliches often employed by emergent Christians. While the emergent Christians are endeavoring to re-imagine the way we engage faith, one another and the world differently, the movement still is dependent on human beings. As such, we tend to screw it up.

So in the spirit of fairness, I offer you a list of things emergent Christians can and should strike from our daily lexicon…

We Don’t Use Gender-Exclusive Language for God. There has been plenty of pushback against speaking of God only as a “he,” and this has been addressed with new worship music, updated translations of the Bible and from the pulpit. And while it can be affirming to speak of God in broader terms, while also recognizing the baggage some people carry with regard to certain terminology for God, it’s unfair to suggest that any gender-specific descriptions of God are somehow inaccurate or inferior. If some people find comfort in thinking of God as father, mother or even both, it’s not our place to take that away from them. engaging in substantive discussions about why we all use the words and imagery we do to describe God can be a good thing, but not if we’re starting from a position of having some kind of theological high ground.

Is this (fill in the blank) fair trade/organic/locally grown/humanely raised? I think it’s great that part of the ecological and social stewardship at the heart of the emergent Christian movement is to know more about where all of the goods we consume come from, and at what cost. But making a big scene about such values in public serves to draw attention to ourselves more than the cause we value if not done with some discretion. And as the text in Proverbs says, to everything there is a season. There are times to ask where your chicken came from, but probably not when you’re a guest at someone’s dinner table. Trying to make others feel bad because they don’t share your values only serves to buttress the stereotype of Christians as morally superior, arrogant and insensitive.

I’ve kind of moved beyond the whole (fill in the blank) Christian doctrine. I bristle as much as anyone in emergent Christianity when someone tries to pin me down with acertain Christian doctrine like my position on the trinity or my doctrine of salvation. But to reject these traditions outright is both a potential affront to those who still embrace them as well as a rebuff of our religious history. It’s healthy to have a reason for embracing or setting aside doctrines of our faith, but if we talk about getting over them or moving past them, it implies those who don’t agree with us are, well…dumb.

That is a very colonial/imperial attitude. Most people would agree that plenty of harm has been done in the name of the Christian faith, or faith in general, for that matter. And while some call for the dissolution of religion all together, others believe that it is the marriage of faith to the power of a political empire that creates the real abomination of an otherwise peaceful and affirming faith. But while it is a worthwhile endeavor to seek to separate Christianity from its history of Christendom, casting knee-jerk judgments on sentiments or perspectives held by others only deepens the divide between two already deeply-entrenched camps. Yes, Jesus spoke truth, but he did it in love. And if we’re not coming yet from s place of love, it’s probably best not to speak at all.

I love Jesus but not religion/the Church. Though this kind of began as an emergent Christian mantra, it’s actually begun to be embraced even by some evangelicals. But can we really cast such a broad net over the whole of organized religion and the entire history of the church? Has nothing good at all come from our two thousand years of history? Can we take nothing forward with us, despite our resistance to the established norms of institution? The whole “I love this but hate that,” attitude reeks of modernist duality, which seems to work directly against what emergents claim to value. So be bold in critiquing the institutions of power in our midst, religion included, but don’t throw our entire collective history under the proverbial bus because the phrase trends well on Twitter.

We don’t do traditional worship. Emergents tend to define ourselves as much or more by what we’re not than by what we are. And like the cliche above, we have a bad habit (bordering on tradition?) of kicking everything that smacks of traditionalism to the curb. Yes, some traditions become false idols that should be challenged, if not completely toppled. But tradition also is part of how we continue to create and pass on our collective story. Plus, while many emergents reject the very idea of tradition, we’re already in the process of creating some new traditions of our own. I wonder how we’ll react when a future cohort of Christians calls us on our own dusty, rigid ways?


This last one isn’t necessarily limited to emergents at all, but it came to mind as I was wrapping up the list I’ve created so far. Plus, after compiling the list of emergent cliches above, I realized I had thirty-nine, so I squeezed out one more to make for a nice, round number.

I don’t (insert activity here); I’m a Christian. It’s fine that you choose to live differently because of your faith. In fact, one’s faith should inform much about their daily life. But by making public announcements about what you do and don’t do because of your religious beliefs, you’re not only implicitly casting judgment on those who think or act differently than you; you’re also exalting yourself, which I’m pretty sure is something Christians aren’t supposed to do. Yes, I know we can find a Biblical basis for “boasting in Christ,” but if what you’re doing makes you look like a self-righteous tool, you’re probably doing more harm than good.


28 thoughts on “40 Cliches Christians Should Never Use

  1. Dear Lord! What are you trying to do, Greg? Remove everything about anything to do with evangelical connections to their beliefs?

    And where are the alternatives? I know these are clumsy and slightly annoying for some people, but they have been effective.

    Give us some positives and stop tearing down evangelicals.

    This is just so over the top and contrary.

    It belongs over at Jakes, not here.

  2. Can I add one that makes me cringe.

    “In the natural…”

    What the hell is that. Only ever heard Pentecostals talk like that.

    Oh and

    “I feel the love…”

  3. “You should come to church with me on Sunday.”

    The pope seems to think that he can change the law and times and seasons to suit himself. Is Sunday really the sabbath day?

  4. Just picked some off Steve’s last message

    Five New Christian Cliches to Avoid

    Bless his/her heart: This usually follows one of two less-than-Christian kinds of statements. Either it’s said after some kind of thinly veiled insult or after a juicy bit of gossip about the person whose heart you want to be “blessed.” Examples include, “Did you hear Nancy’s husband got caught sleeping with his secretary? Bless her heart,” or, “He’s not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed, bless his heart.”
    If you’re from the south, you definitely know what I’m talking about.

    He/she is a good, strong Christian: I actually heard this when buying our house. The sellers were glad to be selling their home to “strong Christians.” I’m not sure what they based this on since they knew almost nothing about us, but I expect it had to do with the fact that we both work in ministry. But the whole thing leans on so many assumptions and personal biases, while also casting a plenary judgment on those so-called “bad” or “weak” Christians that it should be avoided all together. It contributes to the “country club” mentality of Christianity that there are some who are doing it right and many who are doing it wrong. And, of course, the one making the judgment pretty much is always on the “right” side.

    Are you Catholic or Christian?: I heard this most often in southern Colorado, which was home to more Catholics than any other religion or denomination. But this suggests, first of all, that Catholics aren’t Christian. Second, it draws firm lines between Catholics and Protestants that (thankfully) have become increasingly blurry in recent years with things like Taize-style worship and other “ancient-future” practices.

    Yes, I do value much about the protestant reformation, placing power of scriptural interpretation in the hands of the faithful rather than the priesthood. But we also lost much that was valuable in our faith, like an emphasis on the Divine Feminine. Also, just to clarify, the word “Catholic” means “Universal Church.” So technically all Christians are still Catholic, if you ask me.

    I’m praying for you: I had a guy say this to me last week who was not a fan of my work. And although sometimes people mean well when they say this, often times it’s basically the religious equivalent of the middle finger (I don’t like you and wish you would change, so I’m going to pray you become more like me). Now, there are those times when people say it with truly benevolent intent, but it’s still a very personal thing. Instead, consider asking someone if they would like for you to pray for them, and ask what they would like you to pray for instead of making too many assumptions.

    That’s another jewel in your crown: This may not make a lot of sense to some non-Christians, but I’ve heard it my entire life. Basically, it suggests that doing good deeds now builds up the rewards you will receive in heaven. This, I believe, is a gross distortion of what Jesus taught. He didn’t teach us just to delay our selfish motives until after we die; he taught us to get over ourselves entirely. And if we look at stories like the vineyard laborers and the Prodigal Son for examples, I think we may be surprised how we’re all treated in the sweet by-and-by anyway. In short, stop doing things for some expected reward, whether in this life or the next. Do it because it’s the right thing to do, and it’s the “way, truth and life” to which Jesus calls us.


  5. Ten Antidotes to Christian Cliches:

    1 Listen more; talk less.
    Yes, there were times in the Gospels when Jesus sermonized, but most of the time, he said much less than people expected. He listened first, and when responding to problems or questions, he often left room in his answer for the listener to wrestle with what was said and to arrive at their own understanding. We Christians don’t like to give up such control, though. We want to know that the person gets what we want them to get. But if we’re ever to get past the widely held perception that we’re a bunch of tone-deaf talking heads, we have to be quiet and pay attention more.

    2 Stop trying to fix everything.
    Christians hate loose ends. We want to end every conversation with everyone smiling and assured that everything will be just fine. But that’s not always reality, and sometimes, what people need is to grieve, wrestle or reflect rather than feel better and move on. Being a Christian is not about having all the answers at the ready, despite what some evangelism training will tell you. People may even ask for answers, but what we’re all looking for, at a deeper level than our search for those answers, is peace. Sometimes that takes time.

    3 See yourself in the “Other.”
    Somewhere along the way, Christian outreach became more about personal conversion than about empathy and compassion. One of the biggest turn-offs I hear about Christians is that folks see us as trying to make everyone like us. But Jesus himself was moved, affected and – yes -changed by the people he encountered. And lest we forget: the Greatest Commandment was not to convert people to Christianity. It was love others with all you have an all you are. Part of loving others is actually understanding what they want or need, not just giving them what you think they want or need.

    4 Pray.
    This one sounds self-evident, but I think it needs to be mentioned. Notice I didn’t say to tell people “I’m praying for you.” I hear from too many people that such a phrase is used passive-aggressively toward them to suggest they’re screwed up and need help. If you really believe prayer works, then just do it. And this doesn’t need to be some pietistic ritual, with knees bent, eyes closed, head bowed and hands clasped. If that helps you feel closer to God, fine, but it’s not a performance. There’s not a right or wrong way to “do” prayer. I think it’s more about noticing, about recognizing the Divine in all of creation and in one another, in noticing the brokenness in the world and responding to that need. This is what it means to make our whole lives a prayer. The Buddhists call it mindfulness. We Christians could use more of that.

    5 Quality over quantity.
    We have a bad habit of practicing what I call “Air Drop” Christianity. Whether it’s a quick in-and-out mission trip, a door-to-door evangelism or a quick handshake on Sunday morning and then we move on, we have a bad habit of sprinkling ourselves here and there as if our faith is a garnish, rather than at the heart of who we are. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I’m sure: INVEST IN PEOPLE. It’s hard work, but it’s the stuff of life when we have the proper perspective.

    6 Share generously of yourself.
    This doesn’t mean simply sharing a pre-packaged testimonial story you’ve told over and over again, or dropping a few dollars in the offering plate or in a homeless person’s cup. It means taking emotional risk, making ourselves vulnerable to others in ways that we hope they will feel comfortable being open and vulnerable to us. The way we approach people often times in the context of Christian evangelism assumes an inherent imbalance of power, with us on the side of that power. We know the truth, and you dont; we are saved, and you’re not; we are here to rescue you from yourself. But discipleship should be a lifelong and mutual investment. and why should we expect anyone to invest in us or what we believe if we’re not willing first to take a chance with them?

    7 Be open to the possibility that you’re wrong.
    Anyone who tells me that their faith has not evolved over time into something different than how it started makes me really nervous. for some this may only involve a deepening (or hardening) of existing beliefs, but for others, it is a never-ending process of growth, pruning and adding on. Consider the disciples; were they ever wrong? Did they ever change their understanding of what they believed? Of course. So why do we think we should be any different? Also, being open to the possibility that the person you’re with could actually teach you something honors their wisdom and experience, wherever they are coming from. Christian or not, every person has a unique story, because no one in the history of the world has ever lived that life except for them. Allow yourself to be moved and even changed by those experiences.

    8 Apologize.
    I have found that sometimes all people really want is a simple apology for the hurt inflicted by other Christians. Sure, you may not have done anything personally to that individual, but if you’re a Christian, you represent the whole of Christianity to that person. It won’t kill you to say “I’m sorry you were pushed away, made to feel like less of a person, judged, condescended to, denied rights in the name of the faith I claim.” Name the wrongdoing, validate the hurt, and then sit back and see what happens. More often than not, in my experience, such apologies are met with tears of relief, embraces, generous forgiveness and, perhaps the best of all, fascinating stories.

    9 Own your love.
    We Christians love to say things like “God loves you” or “Jesus loves you,” but for someone who isn’t sure what they believe, or who has been deeply hurt by the faith, this may ring very hollow. Instead, why not say “I love you”? Yes, it’s risky, and if you don’t actually mean it, don’t say it. But if you follow the steps above, it’s not hard to find a spark of Christ-like love for the person you’re with. Can’t muster such a personal offering of love? At least try something like “You are loved,” rather than leaving it all to God or Jesus. If we are Jesus’ body in the world today, this includes the heart. If only we were as good as being Christ’s heart to the world as we are at being his mouth!

    10 Make sure your life reflects your faith.
    One of the words I hear most often in describing Christians is “hypocrite.” There’s a reason for this. One solution to this is to stop making verbal promises your life doesn’t live up to. Another is stepping up our game in daily life. St. Francis famously said, “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” The fact is, if we’re really living the live we find revealed in the Gospels, there will be little need for words to explain what it is that we believe.


  6. What a pain in the posterior it would be to have cantankerous moaner like this in your assembly.

    I see Mr Platt holds to the universalist perspective, where everyone is saved regardless, so, in his world, why would anyone bother to evangelise?

    By the way, if you ever get to the place with a person where asking, “Have you ever asked Jesus into your life” is a reasonable next question, don’t worry about whether Mr Platt is annoyed by it, just proceed because the chances are you’re very close to leading them to the Lord (yes, He is Lord), so what you ask and how you ask it is largely irrelevant.

    By the way, is Jesus your Lord, Mr Platt?

    Now there’s a question!

    Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
    Philippians 2:9-11

    I guess one day Mr Platt will confess that Jesus is Lord, one way or another.

    “Have you asked Jesus into your heart?” As many times as I’ve heard this, I still don’t really know what it means. why my heart? Why not my liver or kidneys?

    Which is a tell-tale sign that Mr Platt doesn’t either understand or read his Bible with any conviction.

    Is he seriously saying he doesn’t know where the heart is or what it represents, or that most unsaved people grasp immediately what the meaning is?

    Has he ever read Romans 10:8-10?

    But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

    Yes, the heart is where we believe!

  7. Another blog post from a Christian telling other Christians they are wrong.

    No wonder so few people evangelize or do anything these days.
    There’ll always be someone (make that multitudes) to tell you that what you are saying and doing is wrong.

  8. Usually the armchair critics are the ones giving reasons for why they don’t evangelise and expecting the rest of us to agree and comply with their grumbling.

  9. Bones, the antidote is fine, but only necessary to the one who is complaining. If he gave the antidote alone and left out the grizzling he would have something to say.

    People who do take the trouble to do their best at evangelising need encouragement not some big headed pastor telling them their best efforts are clichéd nonsense.

    Some of these clichés, by the way, I have seen to be rather effective. Others I have not head of. The fact is that when speaking to people about Christ, or their faith, or helping them along the way to making a decision, we are often clumsy, say things we would later consider inadequate, or even wonder why we said some things at all, only to find, during a later conversation with the now converted person that we had said something which helped change their mind and heart and led them to make a decision.

    To me this is the Holy Spirit backing us up in our evangelism.

    Picky people like Platt need to cut the rest of us some slack and be kinder about what they criticise.

    All he is doing is attempting to make himself look superior. God doesn’t choose the superior. he uses the base, weak and innobe to confound the wise.

  10. ” Usually the armchair critics are the ones giving reasons for why they don’t evangelise and expecting the rest of us to agree and comply with their grumbling. ”

    The TRUE evangelists are the ones that don’t have to go around blowing their own horn.
    eg: i got this many saved; i got that many saved; i preach here and i preach there and i preach almost everywhere.
    The TRUE evangelists don’t live for a popularity competition with bitter jealousy, envy and contention, rivalry and selfish ambition.

  11. The Catholics said they’re happy not having whingers and grumblers like you in their church Steve.

    You can dismiss any critic as a whinger or grumbler.

    Critics of C3, people who disagree with your own myopic view of scripture..

    All whingers and grumblers.

    Jesus, I suppose would be a whinger and a grumbler.

  12. “Another blog post from a Christian telling other Christians they are wrong.”

    Yeah terrible that. Of course Christians never tell other Christians they should speak in tongues, worship in a ‘Spirit=filled’ church, go to a Bible believing church etc.

    Never happens unless someone disagrees with us.

  13. @Bones. I don’t mind being told that I should speak in tongues or I shouldn’t or what church I should attend – whether that be Catholic, C3 or SDA.

    Firstly, I don’t attend a pentecostal church.

    My problem with this blog is that it’s yet another example of someone telling lay-Christians where they are wrong.

    Many of those “cliches” are said by not only by Christians other than evangelicals, but also people who don’t attend any church at all.

    There are many people eg who don’t know what to say when a family member/friend of someone they know dies. (And this has nothing to do with whether they are evangelical or not). I also know what it’s like to not know what to say because I second guess that this comment will be corny or upsetting or whatever. But some of the comments or “cliches” said to certain people at certain times have been helpful.

    I don’t understand the hate and bitterness on this website anymore.

    Don’t you guys get tired of it?

  14. Eyes,
    The TRUE evangelists are the ones that don’t have to go around blowing their own horn.

    The true evangelists are people who meet with unsaved people and build relationships with them to earn the right to serve them with the gospel.

    The true evangelists are not ashamed of the gospel, and do not fear what men may say, including whether they use what critics consider to be clichés in their dialogue.

    My wife and I were saved in an Anglican Minister’s clichéd question about whether we should receive Christ after he shared the very clichéd Romans Road.

    Accordingly, we used the same clichéd approach to people we evangelised over the years, to which we have since added further clichéd approaches to evangelism.

    The premise to an often clichéd approach is that there is nothing new under the sun, and that it is better to imitate successful approaches than to do nothing at all.

    The writer of the piece above is just having a moan.

    Anyone who has ever gone out into the fields of harvest would spot that a mile off.

    Good workers operate the same tools with the same results.

    Nothing new under the sun.

  15. Bones,
    The Catholics said they’re happy not having whingers and grumblers like you in their church Steve.

    Actually, the majority of Catholics, Muslims and other religionists I meet on a regular basis are very happy with me because they know Who I stand for and I have learned over time how to tell them the truth in a non-confronting, non-condemnatory way which opens the gospel up for them.

    What I write here on this blog in regard to my opinions on various aspects of dogma, doctrine controversy or false claims by participants is far removed from the methodology I use in evangelism.

    I am far more forthright and stronger in my defence of the gospel here with people who purport to be Christians and mature than I would be when sharing Christ with an unsaved, unchurched, person who has no understanding of the gospel.

    Jesus called it being as wise as serpents and harmless as doves.

    As Paul says, we have to be all things to all men when we evangelise.

    The key thing is to present the good news, and allow the Holy Spirit to work on people’s hearts. Jesus did not come to condemn the world. Neither do I.

  16. My number one peeve is “You have to die to self”. If it is no longer I which lives, but Christ which lives in me, then how can I die to myself – when my self is Christ? MY bible says to reckon my self dead to sin and alive to Christ. 0(:->)

    Agreement is the power of Babylon – but an agreement is not a covenant when it is but a crafted convenience or conveyance. Christianity is all about covenant, specifically the covenant cut on our behalf and sealed by the blood of the Lamb.

    Therefore contention over the things of God is actually healthy – far better that than some contrived cultural contract where we agree to disagree – no one grows by that, they simply get more and more set in their own ways and opinions. God actually seems quite adept at upsetting the apple cart and turning over the tables of tossers….

    Iron sharpens iron – ironically…

    Steve – I agree – the best thing to do is to present the ‘good news’ – but do you give a starving man a recipe or a cake? Do you proffer words or do you demonstrate the Power? Jesus had such a simple message – (ex)change your (old) way of thinking, for the kingdom (New Way) is approaching – for the kingdom does not come by the observation of the Law, but by the grace of God, as grace granted gift, and righteousness of Christ is imputed or credited to our account. No matter what we did or do, the blood payment obliterates all debts to the flesh, so that now e may be free and be the servants of the Most High – but then it it all gets too easy and we get greasy and we slip….don’t forget to tell them that part!

    The kingdom of God does not consist in WORDS but in DEMONSTRATION OF POWER. I often pray now without so much as a word, just an emanation of grace – for God knows the prayer of my heart – He births it in me – it is His Will!

    The thing is folks, IF we put on CHRIST and He is made manifest, the convincing actually becomes quite simple – it is not you they are looking at, and as long as it is, then I suggest that we have not really put on Christ but are in fact robed in our own self-righteousness, thinking that we really know Him when what we have is a form of godliness which DENIES the POWER and so we become apologists to cover for our shame of not really naming the name nor putting on Christ and we pretend to a power which is not really ours to command.

    Debate is wonderful – it is to be encouraged – but to me the whole purpose is the God shaped whole – and to be in that special place where you need no that any man should teach you, but the Spirit within you will teach you/us all things and lead us into All Truth. Like Jesus did, we should perhaps learn to ask better questions, yes?

    When I evangelize, I tell them of the lover of their soul who wants to get to know them and they Him, but most of all I just try to represent and manifest Him in what ever way or means He determines to be appropros at the time – to be a Roman to the Romans and just let Him whisper in your inner ear what he wants them to be told – it is so easy – a child could do it…funny that…and my God, they don’t even need a degree in Ex’ing Jesus to do it!!! LOL…..

  17. BY the way Bones, I liked that 10 point sermon you posted – Christian Piatt made some very pertinent points.

    As for asking Jesus into your heart, this is simply not scriptural – it is more about allowing Him to INVADE YOUR BEING to consume you – for He is the HEAD and His is the CONSUMMATION.

    It is with the heart that man believes, for this is the seat of the Father of faith, and the faith is not yours, it is a grace granted gift – it comes by the hearing – just as Abram heard and believed and became Abraham. The faith is in the Word – we hear it and it witnesses with the Life within us and we submit to, yield to or believe that witness and so that faith becomes imputed to us as righteousness. In the Aramaic it says that we are saved, not by our own oaths but by the Word which was spoken over us. In other words, IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU OR YOUR FAITH. It is ALL ABOUT THE FAITH OF JESUS!

    Romans 10 is another one of those oft miss-applied and misapprehended scriptures.

    5. For Moses thus wrote of the righteousness through the Law, that whoever performs these [commandments] shall Live through them.
    6. Righteousness through faith, however, says thus, that you shall not say in your heart, “Who goes up to heaven and is with (under) Christ?
    7. “And who goes to sheol’s abyss and is raised by Christ from the (house of the) Dead?”
    8. Except what does it say? Hold close this answer to your lips (mouth) and in your heart, this is the Manifestation (Word) of Faith that we preach,

    9. And if you confess with your mouth our Lord Jesus And believe in your heart that God raised him from the (house of the) Dead, you shall Live.
    10. For the heart that believes in him, is sanctified, and the lips that confess in him, Live.
    11. For Scriptures says,

    “Whoever believes in him shall not perish.”

    12. And through this, He does not differentiate, neither the Jews, nor the Arameans, For One is He, Lord of all, who is bountiful to all who call on Him.
    13. For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall Live.
    14. How will they thus call upon whom they do not believe? Or how will they believe in whom they did not listen to? Or how will they hear [about him] without someone preaching [to them.]
    15. Or how can they preach if they are not sent as apostles? As it is written [in Scriptures,]

    “How graceful the feet of those who proffer peace and blessings!”

    16. Except not all were receptive to the preaching of God’s Revelation For Isaiah said,

    “My Lord, who believes in our echoing [Your Voice?]”
    17. Therefore, faith is in whoever lends an ear, and to lend an ear is from the Manifestation of God.

    To lend an ear is from the Manifestation of God. Paul wrote “I do not know why God has not granted them repentance to the acknowledgement of the Truth, so that they may escape the snares of satan by whom they are captured according to His will.” No man comes to God lest he first be drawn – evangelism is an utter waste of time if someone is not ready for salvation – try saving a rampant prodigal or rich young fooler….

  18. Everyone’s a cliché. I can’t work out whether Greg looks like his mother and sounds like his father or the other way round.

  19. Ironically, left-wing, liberal, progressive thought has become so cliché it has outmoded conservatism.

    There’s a massive difference between modal and classical expression. Generally classical is so because it transcends time, age or trends. Modal can become classical but it can also relate a definable era. So Shakespeare borrows from the classics and becomes instantly classical in a modal way.

    The Bible is so classic it has power, stature and authority in any age from genesis to revelation. Between the lines it is timeless and ancient, modern and archival, revelatory and established, shadow and enlightenment, prose and instruction, law and grace.

    The trends of our times will come and go, laws will reflect our whims and will, but the Word will continue to be the basis on which a true life can be built.

  20. Your comments on number 21 makes me wonder if you have ever read Romans. According to Paul, ignorance is not an excuse. The good news is that prior to Jesus people were saved by grace according to the promise. (See Heb 11:39-40) After the resurrection we are saved by grace according to His finished work on the cross.
    It’s not that hard.

  21. And mike, your comments on the authors comments, make me think you didn’t read the comments! We know you can pull out scriptures that support exclusivity of salvation, and we can pull out scriptures that support a far broader view! So why do the exclusive texts trump the broad texts in your opinion?

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