How Did You Perceive the Church as a Non-Christian? - Radical

How Did You Perceive the Church as a Non-Christian?

How is the church portrayed to the world? How do Christians contribute to this portrayal, both negative and positive? In this video, Christopher Yuan explains what previously shaped his perceptions of the church and the ways God realigned his perspective on the church. According to Christopher Yuan, media and cultural portrayals of the church negatively impacted his perspective on the church when he was an unbeliever. The media led him to believe that Christians are hateful and close-minded. However, Yuan cites his parents as influential in his eventual conversion and perception of the church today. Yuan encourages Christians to be faithful in building relationships and persistent in sharing the gospel, trusting that God will make the heart soil fertile in His time.

  1. Media and Cultural Portrayal
  2. Persistence in Communicating God’s Word
  3. Relationships Prepare the Soil

My impression of the church before I became a Christian was not good. And I have to admit, I don’t think any of it was any firsthand experience, but it was what is perceived in media. It was what my friends told me about Christians, about maybe their bad experience or maybe even their perceptions.

So though most evangelicals that I know don’t fit that caricature of how evangelicals are perceived in our culture today, I think we in a sense still have to own up to that, to realize that there have been some in the evangelical church who have not added to how Christians are seen to be close-minded and bigoted and hateful. So own up to that and realize that people have been hurt, real or perceived.

How Did You Perceive the Church as a Non-Christian?

But I did not have a good perception of the church, and it took my parents just loving me that broke that paradigm that Christians aren’t crazy. Well, crazy, but in another way. Christians aren’t hateful. And so we just need to be persistent as Christians to communicate God’s word and communicate God’s love. I look at preaching the gospel as the most important thing.

You cannot preach the gospel without words, but there is in my mind some work that needs to be done often. I call it pre-evangelism. That’s preparing the soil. You have the parable of the sower, and you have the different soils. The seed is the gospel. The soil is, as people, their receptivity to the gospel. And you have the good soil, but you have all the other soils that are not good. And those are often our friends who don’t know Christ.

How Does God Soften Hearts?

And how does God soften that soil? Sometimes it’s just relationships. Sometimes it’s that relationship that’s built over decades, that prepares the soil for them to receive the gospel. So don’t think that you’re wasting time by preparing the soil. It might seem like you don’t have that opportunity to sow the soil, but if you sow the seed… It might seem like you’re wasting time sowing the seed, but if the soil isn’t ready, it can’t receive the seed of the gospel. So I think that it’s encouraging Christians that just be relentless in how we reach out and how we communicate the gospel and how we communicate God’s love to others.

Dr. Christopher Yuan has taught the Bible at Moody Bible Institute for twelve years and his speaking ministry on faith and sexuality has reached five continents. He speaks at conferences, on college campuses, and in churches. He has co-authored with his mother their memoir, Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son’s Journey to God, A Broken Mother’s Search for Hope (100,000 copies sold and now in seven languages). He is also the author of Giving a Voice to the Voiceless. Christopher graduated from Moody Bible Institute in 2005 and received a master’s in biblical exegesis in 2007 and a doctorate of ministry in 2014. Dr. Yuan’s newest book, Holy Sexuality and the Gospel: Sex, Desire, and Relationships Shaped by God’s Grand Story, was named 2020 Book of the Year for Social Issues by Outreach Magazine.


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