Christians should not talk to people about their faith unless they are actively invited to do so, the Archbishop of Canterbury has insisted.
The Most Rev Justin Welby, said enthusiastic members of his flock should not to be afraid to talk about Christianity in a more secular society but advised them to listen to others before saying anything and, crucially, to wait until they are asked.
Under Archbishop Welby, the Church of England has recently launched what is being viewed as its biggest evangelism drive in a generation in an effort to reverse decades of decline.
Last Sunday some of England’s most famous cathedrals including Canterbury, Durham, Winchester, Ely and St Paul’s, London were given over to rock concerts-style music. In St Paul’s five bishops were photographed dancing in their cassocks.
But speaking at a reception for leaders of other faiths in the garden of Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop insisted Christians should not actively “proselytise” non-Christians.
Asked where he drew the line between evangelism and proselytism.
He said: “I draw the line in terms of respect for the other; in starting by listening before you speak; in terms of love that is unconditional and not conditional to one iota, to one single element on how the person responds to your own declaration of faith; and of not speaking about faith unless you are asked about faith.”
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:18-20
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 1Pe 3:15
The core message of being a follower of Christ is teaching about Christ. But we are heading to a time where talking about Christ will be considered religious extremism and will be hated the world over just as ISIS is hated today.
Recently the pope associated Christianity with ISIS by claiming both have seek to conquer. Obama yesterday in Hiroshima blamed religious zeal on the Atomic bomb that claimed more than 80,000 lives in a day.