When are we 'casting our pearls before swine'?

(Tim Ramey) #1

Carson, I would like to reply to your 2nd question in your first post.

What does it mean when Jesus refers to not casting your pearls before swine? In engaging with an atheist, I often seek to determine if they are really open to Truth or whether they only desire to promote their belief and have no regard for evidence.

RZIM whole emphasis is showing respect for those who disagree. That is absolutely necessary. But didn’t Jesus comment to the Pharisee that the problem wasn’t that he was blind but that he claimed he could see when he was actually blinded by the preset choices that he had made?

So, as I read the comments of the atheists on reddit., how do we determine if, in our attempt to provide evidence, we are blaspheming God’s Name by casting our pearls before swine? Where are we judgemental and when are we heading Jesus’ advice?

Did Jesus Exist?
(Jimmy Sellers) #2


In a nutshell, believers are not to prejudge who is and who is not worthy of the gift of the Kingdom just as we are not to force this on the unwilling. If we consider that Jesus “knocks at the door” this seems to be in line with what Matthew is saying. Hope this make sense.:grinning:

(Melvin Greene) #3

That’s such a good question @Tim_Ramey. In my personal experience, if I’m sharing the gospel with someone and they start to get angry and take what I say and twist it into something blasphemous, that’s when I believe I’m starting to “cast my pearls before swine”. I’ll just back off sharing the gospel and respect their beliefs. I might, depending on the situation, ask if they had been hurt by the Church, or by someone claiming to be a Christian. Sometimes they have, or they have suffered something bad, and they will blame God. There have been times when that has opened up a door to allow further conversation.

(Tim Ramey) #4

Thanks @Jimmy_Sellers and @Melvin_Greene for your replies. No, prejudging is not Scriptural at all but when do we not cast our pearls before swine but are not judging? I believe that it is like those that Jesus sent out and if the messengers were rejected, they dumped the sand out of their sandals and moved on.

I haven’t asked the question just for discussion sake but to truly desire to know. I had an incident once where I spent enormous amount of time with someone and I felt the nudging that they weren’t really interested and I should put my efforts into someone who desires grapple with the issue.

Having said that, when I was at the Urbana Conference in '87, they had a lesson on befriending Muslims and staying with them whether they rejected Christianity or not, I can understand that and believe it with all of my heart. That is what David did with Nabeel. But are there times that the Holy Spirit tells us to move on because someone is purposely taking our time? So Melvin, I’m not talking about dumping and running. I’m referring to ones that we have engaged with for sometime but they don’t want to hear the Truth as we know it.

(Melvin Greene) #5

Got it, @Tim_Ramey. That is a tough one! I struggle with that myself. I had a similar experience a few years ago. I was friends with someone who was an atheist. We would have lengthy discussions about why he’s an atheist and why I was a Christian. We would keep it fairly friendly. Then he got a job as an over the road truck driver, and these discussions continued on Facebook. The problem was that now some of his atheist friends were getting involved and they weren’t as friendly. Then, it got to a point where it became more of a contest in who knew more about science and philosophy. I had decided it was enough and I ended up deleting my account. I had other reasons for doing that, but that was one. Anyway, the only answer I can give you is that there is no one answer. I think we just need to continuously be in prayer, and be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. If you start to get the feeling that it is going no where, then you should probably back off. We have no idea what is going on inside of them. It just maybe that you planted a seed, and someone else will come along that will say the right word at the right time. All I know is the Holy Spirit has to be in it, or all the clever arguments in the world won’t do a thing.

(Katherine Anderegg) #6

Hi! I felt the same way about a hardcore agnostic friend of mine. For thirty years, we talked off and on, and I prayed for his salvation. Often I wondered if I had wasted my time, but continued to do so out of pure obedience to Scripture and love for my friend, rather than in real faith that God would change his heart, I’m sorry to admit. Then, a few years ago, after we hadn’t spoken for several years, he came to Christ and changed his life radically. He contacted me out of the blue and told me that, while our conversations had not converted him, they had removed many of the barriers that had led him previously to ignore the claims of evangelists, unable to take them seriously. (Part of the problem there was his choice of “evangelists,” some of them rather dubious televangelists, but we needn’t go there.) I was stunned and ashamed of my lack of faith that the Holy Spirit would save this man, forgetting that nothing–even reaching a hardcore atheist–is too difficult for God. So my suggestion is to assess whether the person to whom you are speaking is truly interested in hearing what you are seeing (even if he or she appears not to be moving closer to salvation) or whether it is purely an attempt to impress or convert you. Even if you stop initiating conversation on religious issues, keep the door open and keep praying that the Holy Spirit will soften the heart of the unbeliever and that any natural or supernatural interferences will be blocked. God loves to surprise us, and His ways are, after all, beyond our full understanding, not having that omniscience thing going for us as He does.

(Katherine Anderegg) #7

“saying” not “seeing”

P.S. Weren’t we all once swine ourselves?

(Missy Deregibus) #8

I actually feel this about broaching some issues with Christians. Not that they are swine, of course, but that there isn’t any point to talking about some issues because no one is really interested in changing their mind or considering other ideas, especially about theological issues. Of course, that is probably true about me as well!

However, as far as our atheist “friends,” I wonder about the ethics of being “friends” with someone only with the hopes to convert them. I think a lot of us are so busy and our circles are so large that we look to ways to thin them out. I don’t think that is bad, we all have only 24 hours a day and many of us have family connections as well.

True friendship which can last over a lifetime, does not feel like it has to wrestle someone to the ground within a time frame. I worry that we have developed a consumer attitude towards people: is this guy “worth” my valuable time? Can I “afford” to be friends with someone that I can’t win an argument with? I am not trying to be too hard here, and I do think that sometimes there are times that we need to bail on a relationship or curb our areas of discussion: that’s true with some of our christian connections as well.

I recently read CS Lewis autobiography. It took over a decade of interacting with a variety of people who were all over the place theologically and also just thinking before he even became A THIEST.

I will say, in response to Marvin’s story about Facebook wars, that I pretty much despise the nastiness that Facebook creates, the pseudo-science links that people post and the things christians sometimes say- “Aha! atheists can’t answer this one!” to be most unhelpful and a very poor witness. I can’t imagine anyone being convinced by anything on Facebook, even to like cute kittens! It’s just the wrong medium.

But the lost art of being there, sharing common interests, living a decent life and giving a rip about their life, being able to discuss other things, as seen in 1 Peter 2:12, reduces the american christian’s tendency to value relationships as commodities, and to have friends who are human beings. As well, it allows us to “be merciful to those who doubt.”

(Melvin Greene) #9

Thanks, @Kathya1010. That’s good advice. God moves in His time, and sometimes it’s 30 years. I’m reminded of how God worked with the Israelites to establish them as a nation. He rescued them out of Egypt and led them to the promised land. What should have been a roughly 2 to 3 month journey took 40 years before they could enter the promised land. Sometimes the best road to our “Promised Land” (salvation) is not the most direct and shortest route. God always knows what we need, when we need it.

(Melvin Greene) #10

I agree, @missyd57. Becoming friends with someone just to win them to Christ is not really a good reason to become friends. I do believe that God does bring people into our lives for specific reasons, and we should always be praying that if God opens a door for us to share the gospel, we will be ready to give a reason for the joy that’s within us. Maybe that door will never open for us. I’ve been friends with someone since we were in 3rd grade. That’s been over 40 years! We were best friends for most of that time, but our lives took different paths. I got married and had kids and got saved. He got married and had a kid and, to this day, has not accepted Christ as his savior. We talk on the phone every couple of weeks, but never see each other. I pray for him and his family that they would be saved, but God has never opened the door for me to really share the gospel. I’ve tried to force it, but it always seems to be awkward and he has not been receptive. I’ll always be his friend, and continue to pray for him, but I have to just leave him in God’s hands.