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How Would Jesus ‘Witness’?

I got a letter from a friend in New England who shared a touching experience he had recently offering Jesus to a homeless man in New York City. A day later I saw a man from a local church ‘witnessing’ in a manner that troubled me deeply. You tell me: which embodies the spirit of WWJD?

The first young man saw the older homeless man caught in a downpour. He knew of a local group for him but he wanted to do more so he took him to a nearby restaurant. Over a hearty lunch he learned that the man couldn’t read and hadn’t been able to get a job for a long time. He asked the man if he believed in God and he said yes, but he didn’t know much about Him, whereby my friend shared the depth of God’s love for all people and the sacrifice Jesus made to reveal that love. He then asked if the man would like prayer. The fellow said no one had ever offered him that before and he would love that. As they prayed, God touched the man and he began to weep. He thanked my friend profusely and told him he finally had some hope that he could make something of his life. My friend assured him that this homeless center would help him do just that.

The second ‘witness’ was a yuppie from a local fundamentalist church. At a street fair at a beach near me, as a long line of people waited for the bus to the parking lot, this fellow stood on a stone wall yelling that they would all go to hell if they didn’t accept Jesus. People were trying to talk and enjoy their outing with family and friends but this guy had a captive audience and felt it was a prime opportunity to save doomed sinners.

An uncomfortable looking woman stood nearby photographing her shouting friend. I asked her what church they attended. Ironically it’s one whose founder was criticized because she refused the hell fire and damnation message of the preachers in her day, choosing instead to share God’s love, grace, healing and yes, even food, with any who needed it. As I walked away I realized that the Jewish carpenter I work for probably would have also liked to say some things to the guy. You see, the only people Jesus warned about impending damnation were religious hypocrites. He never used the hammer of hell on prostitutes, drunks, shady business men, soldiers or even the hated tax gatherers.

I wanted to remind this man of His founder’s and His Lord’s methods, but I was too angry to do so in a civil fashion. This second ‘witness’ has the right to say whatever he wants, but he also has the responsibility to make sure it’s consistent with His Master’s message and methods. Few things have done more to turn people off to Christianity than an unbiblical exposition of the doctrine of hell. Conversely, few things do more to turn people on than those who care as deeply as Jesus did about human pain and need.

I can only pray that more people model my first friend’s approach and fewer the latter man’s. If that happens we may yet reach our generation for Christ. If not, the rapid decline of the Church in America may soon equal the churches in Europe: sparsely populated by old people and largely irrelevant to the felt needs of a hurting and spiritually hungry world.

We can rail at new-agers all we want but if they love people better than Christians do, people will continue to be drawn away from the true faith. But is it really the true faith if it’s more about judgment and condemnation than grace, compassion and love? I’m pretty sure I know what Jesus would say about that.



Ken Unger is President of and founder of, where you can learn more about him and his transformative ministry. click here ,
 "Ken's new book, The Ultimate Breakthrough, goes beyond self help to self healing. You can preview it at  The Ultimate Breakthrough "
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