Witnessing via Knickknack

Touchstone Magazine’s great blog, Mere Comments, has a good post today about the stuff that gets sold to Christians as witnessing materials. Russell D. Moore writes about his interview with scholar Alan Wolfe and his impressions of the wares being peddled at the International Christian Retail Show. T-shirts, breathmints, boy bands, perfume, golf balls, and much more are emblazed with Christian symbols and messages and being marketed to Christians as evangelism aids. Wolfe argues, however, that these things are evidence Christians in fact don’t want to witness to him. He can’t imagine an unbeliever coming to faith through any of these things. “Buying the stuff,” says Moore, “gives Christians an easy conscience that they are carrying the Great Commission without ever having to verbally and relationally engage their unbelieving neighbors.”

I believe Moore is quite right, only I would qualify his statement and say that “relationally” engaging one’s neighbors is far more important than even verbally engaging them. The older I get, the less I am impressed with the practice of apologetics and arguing someone into Christianity. While I’m not advocating being negligent in apologetics, it seems to me that the old, dusty virtue of hospitality amid this isolated and lonely world is a far better witnessing technique than verbal wizardry or having a cute bumpersticker.

In other words, it’s a better witness to invite your neighbors to dinner and ask them about their kids than it is to honk and wave to them from your fish-emblemed family truckster.


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