Hip Hop and The New Evangelization: What We Can Learn from Lecrae

I recently wrote a blog post for FOCUS Blog, check it out!

Hip Hop and The New Evangelization: What We Can Learn from Lecrae

It’s fun to see that since I wrote the post, Lecrae’s latest album Anamoly was released to stunning success, topping the Billboard chart and in the process becoming the first Christian Hip Hop artist to do so.

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14 Reasons Why You Should Become a FOCUS Missionary in 2014

focus

As some of the last interview weekends of the year are coming up, here are 14 reasons why you should join me in becoming a FOCUS missionary this year!

1. There is a desperate need. It’s a safe bet that most of your fellow students have not heard the Gospel. They do not understand who Jesus is and what Christianity is all about. Their best hope is other young people like you, their peers, to witness to the faith and share Jesus with them.

2. It is our calling as Christians to share the Gospel. “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations” – Matthew 28:19. “Through Baptism, each of us becomes missionary disciples, called to bring the Gospel to the world. Each of the baptized, whatever their role in the Church or the educational level of their faith, is an active agent of evangelization.” – Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium

3. You will grow in virtue and holiness. You will be surrounded by support with your teammates, student leaders, the regional support teams, the chaplain, etc. Your daily holy hour and mass will challenge you to continue to strive closer to Jesus. It’s a great way to train yourself to become a saint!

4. You receive unparalleled formation for life. Leadership skills, people skills, managing small groups, support from teammates, and more. New Staff Training in the summer helps to train us with the very best resources that the Church has to offer for new evangelists. Oh and by the way, going to the March for Life doesn’t require you to “ask off,” you can do it as a part of your job!

5. You meet and work with awesome people. Your “co-workers” aren’t just there because they need to pay the bills. Your teammates are young zealous world changers willing to take risks to help make differences in others lives. In addition, you get to meet so many interesting students from all walks of life, and get introduced to other exciting people in the Church making a difference through overlapping ministries (like all the awesome priests, religious, and campus ministers!).

6. You make a lasting eternal impact on the lives of students. Even one soul that comes to know Jesus is priceless. These students will have changed lives in college, but it doesn’t stop there! They’ll also be influencing others for the rest of their lives! You just get to knock over the first few dominoes (by God’s grace!) and sit back as God does His thing. 🙂

7. It’s a blast! Come on, does it really sound like a boring job? Hanging out at college for a few extra years… No classes… No homework… No exams… All mission. Oh, and have you heard of these things called FOCUS Conferences?

SLS 14

Leaf Fight

Halloween

Fall Retreat

8. Be at the forefront of the New Evangelization, help to reclaim the culture for Jesus! John Paul II approved.

John Paul II hiking

9. Help to save people’s souls. I guess this should be #1, but this list isn’t in order anyways haha.

10. Acquire skills for lifelong mission. We will continue to live as missionary disciples even after being FOCUS missionaries in our homes, parishes, workplaces, etc. By being a missionary for a few years, we will acquire the skills that we need to make the biggest difference afterwards.

11. 2 years fly by and doesn’t set you back in your career. Really. Fundraising will actually help you out with networking a little, too. At my summer internship before senior year, the CEO (of a very large company) was a high school gym teacher for the first 8 years. Nuff said.

12. You will learn to appreciate your gifts and resources more. Fundraising is awesome! It’s taught me to appreciate other people’s generosity so much more. It’s also been a great way to teach me to tithe myself. This experience has taught me to be more generous to others and fiscally responsible in general.

13. You could meet your future spouse. There have been a pretty good amount of couples that met through FOCUS. One couple went to the Vatican and had their marriage blessed by Pope Francis this fall, actually.

14. It will help you to discern your vocation. The first year dating fast (if it applies) isn’t a big deal at all.. and I’m a first year. Clear your mind from this over-sexualized culture and let God speak to you in prayer. You will be most happy in the vocation that God has planned for you.

This was the post that I wrote a year ago when I made the decision, and the following is a video I just made today where I explained the basics:

Apply here: focus.org/apply

Upcoming Interview Weekends:
Chicago, Feb 7-9
Philadelphia, Feb 14-16
OKC, Feb 28-March 2
Denver March 7-9

If I were the Webmaster of Vatican.Va

Pope Francis iPad

If I type in “Mormon” into Google, once I scroll past the Wikipedia pages I come across the Mormon portal online, complete with large colorful pictures, an easy to navigate design, simple links to all of the basic issues that anyone would be wondering about. All on the front page.

In comparison, Vatican.Va obviously hasn’t heard that the drop down menu was invented at least 30 years ago. All of the links (that all have almost the same exact font and color despite being on all different parts of the page) are spread out across the page so as to take up as much space as possible, and 90% of them are irrelevant (I’m a missionary and I still can’t tell the difference between an Apostolic Constitution, Apostolic Exortation, and Apostolic Letter). There are Latin words on the page that practically nobody in the world can translate. Francis is the word that jumps out right away, and the words Catholic, Christian, and Jesus are nowhere to be found. Oh yea, and the background reminds me of ugly yellow crinkled paper, kind of like the 10 commandments or all those laws and rules that the Church seems to be about.. The webpage screams “clerical,” it reads more like an index than a front cover.

If I had any questions, the search button looks helpful, but after clicking it, it brings up a separate Google search. I asked a typical question a seeker might have, “who is God?”, which led to thousands of results, mostly encyclicals and really academic looking papers. Not exactly what I’m looking for… just a couple sentences would do.

If I were a seeker and interested in the Catholic Church, I’d be turned off. Is this a website about Pope Francis or the main page of the Catholic Church? Where can I learn about what the Church teaches? Why should I be Catholic? Who is Jesus? What is the meaning of life? What is the Gospel?

The Vatican is looking to improve their methods of communication, and I’m really excited about it. As a 22 year old Catholic, I’m easily frustrated by the Church’s progress on the technology and media front. The secular media tells everyone the stories in an often anti-Christian bend (especially anti-Catholic – as evidence I can’t even count how many times major news outlets have misinterpreted Pope Francis with major news headlines, and he’s only been pope for 9 months), and the Church never gets its point across to anyone other than weekly mass goers who read what the Pope and bishops (and the occasional priest) say about controversial issues and hot topics.

The Catholic Church can’t just sit back and wait for people to come to it anymore. This should be obvious for practicing Catholics, but sometimes we need that reminder. The Church is for everyone, not just for people who happened to be born to Catholic parents. One of the best ways to do that is to have a simple and welcoming home page online. Nowadays when people don’t know something, they’ll often look it up online before they ask a friend or open up a book. A Google search is second nature for anyone 30 and under.

So what should we do? I’ve got some ideas to help the Vatican website become an active part of the New Evangelization…

Applify. Take notes from other successful marketing campaigns like Apple. The website has to be intuitive, for the people, and in a beautiful manner display the Gospel and Catholic way of life. Apple doesn’t sell music playing devices. They sell iPods: a portal to a life of happiness and excitement with your friends. In the same way, people often think that the Church only offers rules and doctrine. What the Church needs to get across to your average Joe is that the Catholic faith isn’t a set of rules, but a way of life in relationship with God, with Jesus! If companies can sell you THINGS by making you believe that your life will be better with them, shouldn’t the Church be able to market FREE ETERNAL SALVATION and FRIENDSHIP WITH A GOD WHO LOVES YOU even more effectively?

Answer the questions clearly. We need an online version of the Catechism, but the “for dummies” version with pretty pictures and video. Use clips from Fr. Robert Barron‘s Catholicism project and Word On Fire ministry, the quick hit videos by Chris Stefanick and talks by Catholic Lighthouse speakers like Fr. Mike Schmitz. Answer the basic questions like how the Catechism does it: “who are we?”, “who is God?”, “who is Jesus?”, “why Catholic?.” Answer the tough questions and common misconceptions.

The Church is big. That can be a bad thing, but it can also be a beautiful thing. Having different pages for different languages makes sense, and even tailoring it to each language would make a lot of sense – Catholics from different countries and continents have different needs and wants with regard to the Church’s website. Take advantage of the different charisma’s of Catholics around the world to showcase the beauty of the faith, especially in the saints, to people interested in learning more. Share the stories of faith and how it’s inspired people to live their best life like OneBillionStories.

Reach out to people through an active and united social media presence. It’s a great first step that Pope Francis has a personal twitter account (and in different languages!). This was spectacular because now He can get points across directly to the people without being filtered by the media. I’m sure that many people are surprised at how beautifully he puts the faith in his tweets when compared to all the corruption and doctrine that the media portray the Church as. The next steps are for Pope Francis to have his own Facebook  page, and for the Catholic Church itself to have a twitter feed and Facebook page. It’s hard to capture everything about the Church in a single feed, but if one feed can constantly update fans about the Chicago Bulls on Facebook and Twitter, why can’t the Church do a similar thing? On the main webpage, make it easy to see what the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, bishops, leading priests and sisters, and other leading laymen and women are saying on social media.

Make resources available. The best bible online. Church Fathers documents. Ecumenical Council documents. Encyclicals and all that good stuff. Have one giant hub with the documents of our faith. Continue working on putting more of those old books and documents online for the public to see. While you’re at it, make all of these resources available on apps for smart phones, iPads, etc.

Respond to and frame public issues in the light of faith. Take advantage of all the great communicators in the Church and get the Church’s opinion on issues out there! If there was a single hub that provided the best responses of the Church to contemporary issues, then we could really dialogue with the world. Think of all that the Dominican preachers alone could do if given a platform to speak to the entire Church on major issues. Right now, they could have given the best speech in the world, but chances are that nobody heard it outside of the church they were at and the little Dominican/parish website that they are on.

Open the webpage with a welcome video from Pope Francis. Boom baby!

The Hardest Part

… is often the most simple.

Let me be frank. I love Jesus. I love being a part of His Catholic Church. And sometimes the only thing that I really care about is whether or not people are Catholic Christians living in relationship with God. I just want to run around the world making lots of Catholics! I am a missionary for crying out loud, haha. But God reminded me of something very important this week.

I was leading one of my bible studies and a new guy was there who I met recently, so I was pretty excited to get to know him. I knew that he wasn’t Catholic going into it, and that made me even more excited because this way I can not only share Jesus with him but I am hoping that one day I can actually share His Church with him too! Doubleplusgood!

The group of us had a great study and were just chilling talking about semi-related topics after I basically gave them a Gospel presentation when this guy said something that was simultaneously a great compliment and a revelation. “You know, Chris, you’re probably the first Catholic that I’ve ever met that actually loves Jesus and lives like a Christian.”

Oh.

He went on as I walked him over to our Newman Center on campus, sharing how he’s encountered a bunch of Catholics and even attended a Catholic college for a couple of years, but they all didn’t actually practice the faith and were always becoming agnostics and atheists. I have a hunch he was telling me all this to convince me that because many Catholics are not faithful, I should leave the Church and become a Presbyterian like him. But I took his point a different way: he wasn’t worried about theology as much. The reason why he wasn’t even remotely interested in becoming Catholic is because he’s never seen Catholics act like Christians. He’s never seen Catholic saints!

Ohhhhhh!!!

Thank you God for this minor yet ridiculously simple revelation. You don’t convert the average Joe to Christianity (or specifically Catholicism) through your theology. You convert them by demonstrating how through your faith your heart has been converted to Jesus. Often this is not what we want to hear: we want to hear how we can change people’s lives without actually changing our own, by some sort of formula or logic. No. Give Jesus saints and He WILL change the world.

You know, half or more of this blog is apologetics. I’ve got a scientific, rational mind. I feel very comfortable arguing for the existence of God, the reality of Jesus, and the authenticity of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church. But what this blog, argumentation, logic, and mere words cannot ever do is replace a life lived completely for Jesus. Bl. Mother Teresa has probably converted more people through less words than anyone else in this past century. She did not draw people to Jesus through her fancy speeches at the United Nations or Harvard but by her entire life lived in complete surrender to God. People are curious what it is about Jesus that made her give up everything for Him, so they look into Jesus more. People nowadays can’t see, hear, or touch Jesus (besides the Holy Eucharist you nerds), but they sure as heck can see, hear, or touch you and I as members of the Body of Christ!

Pope Francis and all these wonderful popes in recent memory have been working to make the Church as beautiful as she should be for Jesus, and of course the Holy Spirit is doing all of the heavy lifting, but you and I need to answer this call! We need to wholeheartedly embrace the Gospel. Preaching it is good, but if it isn’t lived, it is not effective. People nowadays don’t listen well anyways, but maybe they’ll notice a witness.

“The new evangelization will show its authenticity and unleash all its missionary force when it is carried out through the gift, not only of the word proclaimed, but by the word lived.” – Bl. Pope John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor

“We shouldn’t just wait for the wounded to come to us; we go out and reach for them.” – Pope Francis

Mother Teresa in Calcutta

How to Share the Gospel: For Catholics!

A few months ago I was preparing a presentation for student leaders on the topic of sharing the Gospel, and for fun I decided to see if there was anything extra online that I could use to show them. For some reason, the #1 hit on Google for “how to share the gospel Catholic” is an article from some “biblical Christian” group on tactics for how to convert Catholics into “biblical Christians.”

That’s an easy way to understand our situation in a nutshell. The Popes have been pushing for the New Evangelization for 50 years now but it’s taken a while to trickle down to Catholics in the pews. As a Catholic missionary with FOCUS, I’d like to share with you what the Gospel is, why we need to share it, and how to do it.

What is the Gospel?

According to New Advent, the word gospel was derived from the Angelo-Saxon god (good) and spell (to tell). It was treated as the equivalent of the Greek word euaggelion (good tidings- usually from an emperor). When emperors had won a battle, they would proclaim the euaggelion to the people. The same way, we share the Gospel, or good news, of our King, Jesus Christ!

The word gospel could be used in many different ways. It could be used to tell any generic good news. It could be used to reference a type of music. It could refer to the Gospels in the bible: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The Gospel of Jesus Christ that I am talking about essentially is Jesus, who is revealed most perfectly through the example of the Church and in a unique way in the bible: a book compiled by the Catholic Church.

The Gospel essentially is Jesus: His life, death, and resurrection. In my own words, the Gospel is that though we have fallen away from God through sin, Jesus- God Himself!- has given all of humanity an opportunity for salvation through His passion. By believing in Him and joining His Church through baptism and receiving the sacraments, we can hope to partake in His resurrection at the end of time. The Gospel is that God not only acknowledges our existence, but loves us all enough to die for us, and eagerly desires that we live in relationship with Him.

Why do we need to share the Gospel?

Let me begin with a hypothetical situation. Suppose that you hit your friend. All of a sudden, there is tension and discord in your relationship with that person. What can be done to right that relationship? One wise thing to do is to ask forgiveness for what we’ve done. But the relationship is still not right until your friend actually forgives you. There is absolutely nothing that we can do to make them forgive us, it is completely in their power to choose to be merciful or not.

Now think about our relationship with God. Unfortunately, we have also broken our relationship with God through our sins. As we learned in Genesis, there are real consequences for disobeying God (aka sinning). Because of their sin, Adam and Eve would now die, struggle to find enough food to live, not be able to trust each other innocently, etc. God has called us to repentance. Before Jesus began His ministry, St. John the Baptist went around Israel preaching repentance. We always need to repent first and ask for God’s forgiveness. But we also need something that we don’t deserve, something that we have no control over: we need God’s forgiveness. Remember, God doesn’t have to forgive us. But the good news is that He did! Thanks to Jesus’s mercy, we can be forgiven if we believe in Him and are a part of His Church: who He entrusted to share the Gospel throughout the world. The Catholic (universal) Church must make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19)!

We will die with no hope if we die without faith in Jesus. Our eternal souls will be in danger of eternal damnation without Jesus. Every single person that has ever lived can only be saved through Jesus.  That’s it. There’s no other way to heaven. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Just being a “good person” isn’t good enough. It is an integral part AFTER we believe in Jesus, but it doesn’t REPLACE belief in Christ, who is truth itself. There is one God and one Lord Jesus Christ. There is one true faith: the Catholic Christian faith. Acknowledging this is not hateful or discrimination but is merely following the truth just in the same way that we teach children that 2+2=4 and not 5 or 3. Living according to the truth is not constraining but rather freeing because it allows us to live the most relevant life possible. What’s the point in living with the dream of being the MVP of the NBA if at the end of your life you end up in Hell separated from God forever?

With all of this in mind, I want to remind you that it is not just the duty of priests and missionaries to share the Gospel, this is the duty of every baptized Christian!

Jesus did not say: “go, if you would like to, if you have the time”, but he said: “Go and make disciples of all nations.” – Pope Francis at WYD

How do you share the Gospel?

By this point in this post I’ve actually covered a lot of what to say in actually sharing the Gospel. The Gospel is Jesus, so anytime that we are sharing Jesus, we are sharing the Gospel. Merely sharing belief in God or belief in the Catholic Church is not sharing the fullness of the Gospel. As I believe Pope John Paul II said, if we haven’t shared Jesus Christ, then we haven’t shared the Gospel.

Practically, the best way to share the Gospel is in a conversation with a friend. We share who Jesus is in our actions and words, but actually sharing “the Gospel” is something that we need to actually speak. Another quote that I’m remembering is that “every single time that the Gospel is shared, something happens.” People won’t always welcome it or change their lives right there, but that’s an experience that should stick with them for the rest of their life.

God actually gave us a  model for how to share the Gospel when He gave St. Catherine of Sienna (1300’s) the “cross bridge” image to communicate aspects of salvation in Christ.

Jesus Bridge

I’m not sure if this is the actual image but this is a basic picture of it, with some verses to back up each step in salvation. Check out those verses! It is so powerful to read them all in order.

In addition to the image, God himself communicated this basic message to St. Catherine of Sienna to share:

“I have created them in my image and likeness so that they might have eternal life, sharing in my being and enjoying my supreme eternal tenderness and goodness. Because of their sin they never reached this goal and never fulfilled my truth, for sin closed heaven and the door of mercy. I will make of my Son a bridge… a bridge of the Word, my only-begotten Son.”

A great way to follow up sharing the Gospel is to invite your friend to join you in prayer inviting Jesus into their life.

If Christianity, as has so rightly been said, is not primarily a doctrine but a person, Jesus Christ, it follows that the proclamation of this person and of one’s relationship with him is the most important thing, the beginning of all true evangelization. To reverse this order and put the doctrines and moral obligations of the Gospel before the discovery of Jesus would be like putting the carriages in front of the railway engine that is supposed to pull them. The person of Jesus opens the highway of the heart for the acceptance of everything else. Anyone who has once known the living Jesus has no further need to be goaded along; we ourselves burn with desire to know his thought, his will, his word. It is not on the authority of the Church that we accept Jesus, but on the authority of Jesus that we accept and love the Church. So the first thing the Church has to do is not present herself to the world, but present Jesus… Insistence on the importance of a personal encounter with Jesus Christ is not a sign of subjectivism or emotionalismbut is the translation, on the spiritual and pastoral place, of a dogma central to our faith: that Jesus Christ is “a person.” – Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the Papal household (both Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI)

Update: Check it out! My friend Andrew and I filmed a simple Gospel presentation for your benefit right here!

Related posts:
Why Evangelize?
A Case for Discipleship and Spiritual Multiplication
“Work Out Your Own Salvation with Fear and Trembling”
Salvation, Jesus, and Works

Why Evangelize?

Are you convinced that you are called to evangelize? Hey, I’ll be the first to admit that it scares me. Evangelizing means being weird. Being different. People might make fun of you. They might even persecute you. ..But think about it, wasn’t that what happened to Jesus? Wasn’t Jesus thought of as weird? Wasn’t He different? Didn’t people make fun of Him?

Our Lord Jesus Christ was betrayed, sentenced to an unfair trial, horribly beaten at the pillar, mocked, crowned with thorns, forced to carry his own cross, then crucified.

Jesus Christ, GOD, became one of us so that He could REDEEM us, and THAT was how He was treated.

He would have done it even if it was just for you. Everything that He ever did He did out of love for us. And He paid the ultimate price by dying for us.

How do I respond to love like that? How do you respond to love like that? It was His very command that we go forth and proclaim His word (Matthew 28:19-20). I know that I’ve let Him down. I’ve been too shy and too scared. But we have to be people of courage! Do not be afraid! There are people out there, who are actively searching for the truth, and they don’t know where to go. Our culture is losing it.. The divorce rate is over 50%, pornography generates more revenue in America than any other industry except.. gambling, parents pay to have their children in the womb killed and this is legal, and since the 1950s, the suicide rate among teenagers has gone up 500%. What is the answer to these troubles? The answer is timeless truth and beauty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s the answer. That’s always the answer. We need to respond Christ’s call that we evangelize if we want to help our families, friends, peers, and society in general.

Salvation, Jesus, and Works

As I’ve been gearing up for my first year as a missionary this summer, I’ve had a unique revelation with regards to evangelization and the aspect that “works” play in salvation. I suppose a big part of this is from a Peter Kreeft (and Ronald Tacelli) book that I’m reading, Handbook of Catholic Apologetics.

First off, I’d like to share an awesome piece from that book on the importance of salvation:

“The Church also seems to be in the social service business, the counseling business, the fundraising business, the daycare business- dozens of the same worthy businesses the secular world is also in. Why? What justifies these things? The Church’s ultimate end for all these things is different from the world’s end; it is salvation. This is her distinctive “product.” Why put out a product that is just the same as other companies’ products already on the market? Why would anyone expect such a product to sell? That’s why modernist or liberal Christianity, charitable as its services are, is simply not selling. The only reason for the very existence of the Church at all, is exactly the same as the reason Jesus came to earth: to save poor and lost humanity. The Church, after all, is in the same business as her Head. When a body runs in a different direction from its head, it is like a chicken with its head cut off: it goes nowhere and quickly dies. Jesus did not come to be a philosopher or a doctor. If he did that, he failed. He didn’t solve most of the philosophers’ problems. He healed some people but left most of the world just as sick as before. He healed some bodies to show that he could heal all souls. Not only is salvation the reason for the Church’s existence; it is also the ultimate reason for your existence: your goal, point, purpose, hope, final cause, summum bonum, meaning. The difference between success and failure at life’s first task- becoming who you were meant to be- is not the difference between riches and poverty, fame and obscurity, health and sickness, pleasure and pain, even niceness and nastiness, but between salvation and damnation. Leon Bloy wrote, “There is only one tragedy: not to have been a saint.”

Salvation matters, a lot. So what does it take to be saved? When people with a Christian background talk a little about salvation, they often only mention whether or not you are a “good” person. This is nice, but is it enough? Is it enough to just be a good person to go to heaven?

The Catholic Church has a nice little clause that it seems like I’m always reminding people about (because the Church is so horrible and restricting! haha). This clause is that if someone by no fault of their own doesn’t hear the Gospel or know who Jesus is, they can still be saved by striving their very best during their life to live an upright, charitable, and selfless life, which is common sense whatever background you come from. God is merciful, much more than you and I.

Yes, that’s good and generous of God, isn’t it? The problem is that everyone who reads this blog obviously doesn’t live in a remote area and has had contact with Christians in some way, shape, or form. For people who have heard the Gospel, the nice clause of just being a good person isn’t enough to earn salvation, according to Jesus. Salvation is only possible through Jesus:

“There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” – Acts 4:12

Again, Jesus was clear Himself in this teaching:

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6

In Lecrae’s song Truth, he gives a great analogy for why we need Jesus. In one of the verses (around 3 minutes in) he discusses the issue of why an all  powerful loving God would allow evil to happen. He points out that though God allows evil natural disasters to happen, He also allows people to have free will and murder. Well, we all agree that stuff like that is evil, but here’s the brilliant part: Lecrae asks if lying and cheating are evil too. They are. And things like that are evil even if we just think them. So he turned around the argument: why does God allow us to live, as we all sin? Thanks be to God that Jesus died on the cross to forgive us of our sin, otherwise we’d all be going straight to hell. Only God can forgive sin, that’s why Jesus and the incarnation are such a big deal! No one other than Jesus can forgive us, that’s what St. Peter was saying to the Sanhedrin in Acts 4:12!

Please note that there’s a very important sacramental side with regards to salvation, centering on baptism (1 Peter 3:21 and Mark 16:16), confession (John 20:23), and the Eucharist (John 6:52). Salvation requires faith and works. Gotta offer this life for Jesus and live it out. But for this post I’m staying high level.

With all this in mind, I figure that most Christians- and Catholics are especially susceptible (not by bad teachings but misunderstandings of the teachings)- don’t seek to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ as much as they can because they unfortunately don’t believe that Jesus Christ specifically is very important in the economy of salvation.

Most people seem to believe that it is most important to be a good person, and if you believe in Jesus that’s a cherry on top. Actually, we see something that is quite the opposite in terms of Dismas the good thief: he was a thief and pretty bad person all his life, but when the time came, he repented and turned to Jesus in faith. Jesus promised him salvation. Jesus Himself stressed that people believe in Him and repent. He wanted their hearts to be converted not to niceness but to Him.

So is being a good person important? Yes! We ought to follow Jesus who is the way and the truth and the life! We ought to love God and love our neighbors as our self. But good works explicitly without Jesus will do nothing with regards to the economy of salvation. Takeaway: we must be more courageous in actually sharing Jesus with others instead of just assuming that they believe and are faithful.