Summary: How to Bring Idol Worshippers Christ and then on to Maturity (Eph. 4:14,15)
How To Evangelize Idol Worshippers
1. The students will explain three hindrances that inhibit idol worshippers from becoming Christians.
2. The students will explain the ways that scripture suggests we bring idol worshippers to faith in Christ.
3. The students will discuss in a short paper what motivations a missionary can appeal to with idol worshippers in seeking to start a new church in their area.
Introduction - In Nigeria, we are sadly witnessing the return of some people to their traditional religions. A Vice-Chancellor of a university consulted a witch doctor to see if he would cast a spell on the Chancellor enabling him to become the top man in the school. Even though this man claimed to be a Christian, had a Ph.D. from a distinguished school in the U.S., and knew this was against all the principles in the Bible, he went ahead. Numerous reports are being told about how many so-called Christians are returning to their juju or dodos for protection, prosperity, and power over their enemies.
In addition to the people who seem to be reverting back to their traditional religions, there are many yet to make a first time decision for Jesus Christ. Let us ask the Lord’s help in learning how to evangelize idol worshippers. However, let us also examine how to instruct the backsliders who falsely believe that they can serve two masters.
Jesus said, ``No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other or he will support the one and treat the other with contempt. You cannot serve God and money.’’ (Mt. 6:24)
I. What is a Biblical Theology of Animism (Idol Worship)
A. Animism - A deep-lying belief in spiritual beings which expresses itself in the worship of idols, spirits, or charms etc.
B. In the Old Testament there were many idol worshipping pagans (Baal worshippers, Dagon followers, Molech men, Chemosh etc.)
C. The idol worshippers traditionally have a history of beliefs that were formulated by the elders of a society. For this reason, elders are sometimes given the powers of the gods in decision-making.
D. Healers and traditional doctors play a key role in traditional religions as sometimes they will use special mixtures of herbs, spices, or spit to supposedly cure people. The problem is in their source of the powers to heal!
E. The Bible is clear in stating from the 10 commandments,
``You shall have no other gods before me.’’ (Ex. 20:2-6)
F. Idol worship can be seen on cultural, social, religious, medicinal, educational, mental, psychological, and monetary systems.
G. In the New Testament, Paul teaches the evils of idolatry and the solutions that come through faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:18-25)
``On the other hand God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all impiety and wickedness of men who through their wicked ways suppress the truth; because whatever can be known regarding God is evident to them, for God has shown it to them. From the creation of the world His invisible qualities, such as His eternal power and divine nature, have been made visible and have been understood through his handiwork. So they are without excuse.’’
H. Help idol worshippers to come to Christ through a group experience if it is possible! Note the processes that people became Christians in the first century church. Remember we are normally not dealing with individual in isolation. Instead we are approaching people who live with close cultural, family, and religious ties. (Acts 2:41-47, Acts 4:32, & I John 1:1-3)
I. Recognize that God has put eternity in their hearts. People long for a Savior. We just need to teach them of the truth, the way, and the life found in Jesus Christ. (John 14:6)
J. We need to see these people as those who worship what they do not understand. As Paul described to the idol worshipping polytheistic people of Athens in Acts 17:23-29)
``I found an altar of yours with the inscription, TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship without knowing it, that I proclaim to you . . . Now then, since we have our being from God, we certainly should not have the idea that the Deity resembles gold or silver or stone or anything humanly manufactured or invented.’’
II. The Hindrances That Must be Overcome in Witnessing to Idol Worshippers!
A. Converts to Christianity from paganism must change their allegiances, loyalties, and beliefs to Christ alone!
Example - One Pastor insisted that an idol-worshipping man burn his charms before becoming a Christian. The people in the church thought the Pastor to be too hard on the man. However, after 3 months of living with guilt, the man consented to burn his charms in front of the public. After a public display of his turning his allegiance from idols to God, the man became an evangelist. Today, the man is in Bible College!