“Confessing Christ Boldly To Others” by J.C. Ryle
“The wickedness of being ashamed of Christ is very great. It is a proof of unbelief. It shows that we care more for the praise of men whom we can see, than that of God whom we cannot see. It is a proof of ingratitude. It shows that we fear confessing Him before man who was not ashamed to die for us upon the cross. Wretched indeed are they who give way to this sin. Here, in this world, they are always miserable. A bad conscience robs them of peace. In the world to come they can look for no comfort. In the day of judgment they must expect to be disowned by Christ to all eternity, if they will not confess Christ for a few years upon earth. Let us resolve never to be ashamed of Christ. Of sin and worldliness we may well be ashamed. Of Christ and His cause we have no right to be ashamed at all. Boldness in Christ’s service always brings its own reward. The boldest Christian is always the happiest person.
Ryle’s piece reminds me of Bill Hybels’ “Walk across the room ice-breaker” approach, which seems to me very much like the “first make him a friend and then a client” approach.
The problem is that while you (the evangelist) and your unbelieving friend are skating on the thin ice of life (in the room?), the ice may suddenly break, and drown one or both of you. So, don’t take too long with the “ice-breaker” stage, or better still sock it to ‘em straight. But with, of course, patience and gentleness, as recommended by the Apostle Peter: “…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense (apologia “reasoned argument”) to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).
Oh shucks, does that mean I have to wait until someone asks me for the hope that is within me, does that mean that I can’t thump them – gently, naturellement – over the head with my Bible?
“Well, sometimes, you’ll just have to wait Raphy,” my pastor tells me. “You might have to break a little ice sometimes. Break a leg.”