The ecclesiology of witnessing to strangers

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Puritan Board Graduate
Should we only witness to strangers in the name of a local church body, that the individual would have the invitation to attend if God gives them the desire? How is this accomplished if we are witnessing in an area far from our congregation, or where we may not know of a solid Gospel-preaching church? What if we witness when on vacation? We surely woudn't say:

", you're interested in learning more? Well, find a church on your own, then!"

Perhaps some of my motivation in starting this thread are accounts I have heard of people leading others in the "sinner's prayer" and then sending them on their way. But I then considered a few passages:

The woman at the well (implied faith) is not given instruction on where to seek fellowship (John 4: 25, 26, 29).

25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.
26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.
29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?

The leper: explicit faith; there is no further instruction except to complete the prescriptions of the cleansing laws (Matthew 8: 2-4).

2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
4 And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

The centurion had explicit faith; again no "business card" was given (Matthew 8: 10, 13).

10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.

It seems that evangelism in the Gospels does not include what I have mentioned above. But from Acts onward, we see the sacrament of baptism as the sign and seal of people entering into the covenant and association with the Church. So, it seems that the baptism of believers and their households demonstrates the people receiving the Good News and being brought into the church where they would be discipled.

Likely, given what we read in Acts onward, there should always be an invitation to attend the local church body. What do you think, especially those of you who share your faith with strangers?


Ordinary Guy (TM)
This then would make it not expedient to speak the Gospel to someone if you are on a long trip and away from your home church.


Puritan Board Senior
The passages that you quote are when the proper place to "fellowship" was at the Temple in Jerusalem.

Jn 4:19-22:
19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.

I think verse 22 implies that Jesus is saying the Jews are right to worship in in a way He does tell her where one should worship.


Puritan Board Graduate
Good point, Larry.

I think I need to clarify what I am really asking here.

Obviously, I am not suggesting that one not share their faith when away from home. I guess I am just thinking that every effort must be made to let people know that there will be spiritual help for them if they so desire it. Perhaps there's not much more to say about it than that.
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