Beliefnet
A Fear of Whales

fishI am aware of some ministries that have become so focused on the the importance of evangelism that they talk about “The parable of the fishless fisherman”. I won’t link you said parable (as it’s copyrighted) but the gist is that just as a person who claims to be a fisherman but never catches fish is not really a fisherman, so a person who claims to be a Christian but never wins converts is not really a Christian.

I have problems with this thinking. I get where it comes from, but I object to equating effectiveness at evangelism with salvation, and I further object to equating the winning of converts with evangelism as if he with the most notches on his coux stick is the best.

It brings to mind the Buddist fisherman who have a saying for what they do day to day. Their religion prevents them from saying that they kill living beings on a regular basis, so they say that instead of “fishing” they “save fish from drowning” and unfortunately this causes them to die.

I feel this concept is worth our consideration when we hypothesize that Jesus related evangelism to catching fish. I wonder if sometimes we might be kidding ourselves about what that accomplishes, doing the same thing, saving fish from drowning. Most secular people have little to no felt need for something to change in their lives. We come along and introduce them to that need. We tell them they are helpless worthless sinners and need Jesus. Then, like Peter we bring them up onto the shore and leave them there to die.

Jesus offered salvation from much more than being a non-Christian. He proclaimed freedom of the captives and recovery of sight to the blind. If we don’t intend to do anything with out catch then we are not christian evangelists, we are Buddhist fisherman

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