Common Questions- Memory Loss and Faith

As a pastor, there are some questions about life-matters that come in quite regularly. I was recently asked one of those common questions that I have actually gotten a few times over the years. The question goes something like this: I know a family who is struggling with a loved one who has memory problems. The person is not who he/she once was (and, in some cases, the person's personality can completely change). What does the Bible say about these types of issues? Can my loved one still be saved, even if they do not have an active faith anymore? Are there any Bible verses I can read to get any help?

This is certainly a big issue. More and more families are facing these diseases associated with memory loss. I am persuaded that these are the worst types of diseases, and sometimes they can persist for many years. As big of an issue as this is, there are many conversations that need to be had, but maybe I can provide a brief response here to put us on the right path for our thinking on the subject.

The first thought that comes to mind is the narrative about Abraham's dialogue with the Lord in Genesis 18. In verse 25 he affirms that the judge of all the earth will surely do what is right. We certainly trust that God will always do what is right in the end. We can never doubt that, not even for a moment. We cannot entertain for a second that God may do wrong. He is just and holy in all His ways. He WILL do what is right (and what is not right now will be settled on the Last Day). Those with dementia/alzheimer's/etc., in my opinion, will not be held accountable for their actions during that period of time with the disease, like others would who have full mental health.

Finding a particular chapter and verse that would serve as a proof-text would be difficult for this or any number of things. There are many issues in life in which we must think through the situations and respond to them with theological answers informed by what we know about the God of the Bible. We know a lot about God from His special revelation in the Scriptures, and some of those things are that God is, of course, loving, compassionate, gracious, and always does what is right. So, take heart! Trust the God of the Bible on this subject and every other!

Reminders and Tips for Personal Evangelism

Reminders for Evangelism

1.  We cannot save, only God can

2.  All will not be saved, but some will

3.  Our responsibility is to share the gospel not to convert people’s hearts

4.  We should be intentional but not to the point of anxiety. We must trust God in evangelism. The whole task of world evangelism does not fall on one person.

5.  Stick to the main point, and don't let folks sidetrack you. Jesus is the real issue. Who was He? Why did He come and die? Did He rise again?

6.  Don't be afraid to get to the point quickly. Friendship is important. But beating around the bush is not good for anyone

7.  Pray for opportunities. Look for natural opportunities (family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, folks out in public). Take those opportunities when they come. Do not wait!

Practical Tips for Personal Evangelism

1.  Relationships are important. Think of those you already know who are not believers. In what ways can you pray for them and minister to them?

2.  Based on the first one, who are folks already within your sphere of influence that you can build a relationship with of ministry and evangelism?

3.  Turn average conversations into gospel conversations. Steer conversations onto more meaningful paths.

4. Go out of your way, even out of your comfort zone, to reach people with the good news. Be a blessing to others!

5.  Think of ways to build bridges with folks. What are some things that we all have in common?

    A. There is something that is “just not right” in the world.

    B. None of us are who we want to be, much less what God demands.

    C. Most people have hope for life after death

Guaranteed Gospel Progress (summarized version)

Have you ever wondered about the future of evangelism?  What kind of progress are we going to make for the Gospel in the years ahead? Will we see converts? Will folks continue to accept Christ? The outcome seems bleak, doesn’t it? Even before I offer some practical helps with personal evangelism, I think it is important that you go forward with assurance. The following list offers seven guarantees for continued Gospel progress even in the 21st Century. The Christian can take these scriptural references and go forth to evangelize their neighborhoods, cities, and nations with confidence.

#1 Jesus stated unequivocally that the harvest truly is plentiful (Matthew 9:37-38).

#2 Christ promised that there would be other sheep brought into His fold (John 10:16).

#3 When we evangelize, we go in Christ’s authority (Matthew 28:18) and His presence is with us (Matthew 18:20).

#4 The Lord would not command us to do something that cannot be accomplished (Matthew 28:19).

#5 The Holy Spirit comes alongside us. He testifies even as we witness to Christ (John 15:26-27).

#6 The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:7-11).

#7 The Gospel is power (Romans 1:16-17; 1 Corinthians 1:17-18) and so is the presence of the Holy Spirit as we declare the truth of Christ (Acts 1:8; 4:33).

As a way to conclude this article, let me give you a bonus encouragement in your own personal evangelism and support of world-wide evangelism. In the Great Commission, the Lord commanded us to go and make disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:19). When the Apostle John received a vision of heaven, he saw/heard those in heaven singing a new song with the lyrics, “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10; 7:9-10, emphasis added). Here is the connection that is to be made, the encouragement to continue evangelizing with confidence, and the guarantee of continued Gospel progress: what Christ commissioned before leaving earth is ultimately seen fulfilled in heaven. There will be a great multitude of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues who will accept Christ as both Lord and Savior, and one day we will all be gathered before the throne of God and before the Lamb to shout together, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

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What Evangelism is Not

What Evangelism is NOT But May Include

Last week we shared a list of reasons of why we should tell others about Christ. Before discussing what evangelism is in another post, we would like to share a list of what evangelism is not. Too many people confuse some wonderful things for evangelism when they are not. Many things may enhance evangelism or be included in it, but those things in themselves are not evangelism. Here is a list:
  1. Apologetics (defending the faith)
  2. Telling what God has done for you
  3. Social action
  4. Political action
  5. Letting your lifestyle speak for itself
  6. The results (you can’t save anyone)
  7. A program
  8. Inviting people to church/event
  9. Someone else’s duty/for paid staff
  10. Something to be done without preparation

Why Should I Tell Others About Christ (Evangelism)?

Why Should I Tell Others About Christ?

From time to time, we should be reminded of why we do (or should do) certain things in our Christian lives.  We have recently posted, again, a list of reasons for pursuing holiness in our walk with the Lord.  Today, we would like to share a bullet-point list of why we should tell others about Christ, also known as "evangelism."  Why should we evangelize?
  1. For our God’s glory
  2. The Lord’s Great Commission
  3. It is commanded specifically throughout the New Testament as well as assumed in all the letters
  4. To save others from the wrath to come
  5. To save others from the pollution and devastation of the present wicked age
  6. To give others hope for the future
  7. To represent our Lord and Savior
  8. Principle from Jesus: It is more blessed to give than to receive
  9. Out of godly love and compassion
  10. We just can’t help it!