Guidelines for Witnessing to Your Orthodox Friends
1. Remember that salvation does not depend on works or on your association with a church. It depends on a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. This relationship comes through faith (see Eph. 2:8-9).
2. Pray and trust the Holy Spirit to reach the hearts and minds of those who are lost with the gospel message.
3. Share your testimony. Many Orthodox have never experienced a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Your testimony of what Jesus has accomplished in your life could have a great impact on them. Keep your testimony short. Avoid using terms that are unfamiliar to Orthodox, such as: “walked the aisle,” “got saved,” and “born again.”
4. Explain that you are certain of your salvation because of God’s grace. Make sure that you communicate that your assurance is derived from God’s grace and not from good works or your ability to remain faithful (see 1 John 5:13).
5. Give them a copy of the New Testament. Lead them to texts that explain salvation.
6. Avoid issues that are not central to salvation.
7. Keep the gospel presentation Christ-centered.
Taken from “4Truth.net” http://www.4truth.net/Eastern_Orthodox/
I have to thank my friend Sabrina Messenger for alerting me to yet another reason why I am considering converting to Eastern Orthodoxy. Arrogance has to be one of the worst traits of the Baptist denomination (Q: How do you tell a Baptist? A: You can’t tell a Baptist much). While not all of us are narrow-minded toward other faiths, there is a tendency among our leaders to act as if everyone else is wrong without entertaining the idea that we could be wrong. I find this attitude very disturbing when it comes to Orthodoxy. How do we have a nerve to try to teach the Gospel to the church who put the books together and canonized them for us? Are we to correct the likes of Ignatius and Polycarp about church doctrine when they were trained by the 12 Apostles? Which Southern Baptist Convention president or National Baptist Convention USA Inc. (?) preacher gave the opening address at any of the Seven Ecumenical Councils? We Baptist are products of the radical reformation, rebels against the first rebels (the classical reformers), against the most successful rebel (the bishop of Rome). Having been so far removed from the foundation of the church, us criticizing Orthodoxy is like a junior high school basketball team playing against the Miami Heat. So please, my Orthodox friends, be patient with us. We have little exposure to you and too many of us already “know” that we are right.
Guidelines for Witnessing to Your Baptist Friends
- Remember that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). Jesus requires disciples to deny themselves, take up their crosses and follow him (Matthew 16:24-27, Mark 8:34-38, Luke 9:22-26), which clearly calls for disciplined effort.
- Pray and trust the Holy Spirit will guide you to people who are sincere about learning Christian history and spirituality and will listen (Acts 8:26-39, John 6:66-68). Have confidence in God when some people reject the truth (Matthew 13:14, 15, Mark 4:10-12, Luke 8:9, 10, Isaiah 6:9, 10)
- Let them see you work out your salvation in the model of Christ (Philippians 2:1-16). Many Baptist have never befriended someone who prays The Hours, fast, and venerates icons. The example of your lifestyle will have a major impact on them. Don’t force them to kiss a large icon of the Theotokos. Share with them basic examples of prayer that do not conflict with Baptist doctrine and practice.
- Explain to them that salvation is not to be taken for granted and that we must be mindful of how we live (Matthew 25:1-46) and that God can reject even those who have been called if they try to come into the kingdom on their terms instead of his (Matthew 22:1-14). This is why Orthodox Christians observe the traditions of the church fathers handed down orally and written from the apostles as well as the Bible (2 Thessalonians 2:15, I Corinthians 11:2).
- Explain to them that the church existed 300 years before the Bible came into being and that it was the Orthodox fathers that finalized the canon. Ask them to compare your Orthodox Bible’s Old Testament to theirs (2 Timothy 3:16, 17).
- Be humble toward them (Matthew 20:24-27).
- Remember, God alone judges a person’s confession (Luke 23:39-43).