Is It OK to Have a Beer With My Friends So I Can Evangelize to Them?

Question: To be “all things to all men,” and I guess in light of some stuff that he happens to be a person that pushes some extremes, it seems that something that’s becoming big now is the whole “pub theology,” going to bars and having Bible studies. And my personal stance based on the Scriptures is in opposition to stuff like that, and I have a buddy that I work with that he’s the only other “Christian” in my workplace in a largely unbelieving workplace. And he is constantly pushing, promoting that kind of lifestyle to reach people, and then I’m the overly dogmatic person because I don’t understand it – why you would go into the bars to actually drink with everybody and have a Bible study doing it to reach people. So I understand the “all things to all men” and I guess wisdom, insight? Am I pushing on the lines of legalism? Or is stuff like that too far? Going into bars, having Bible study there? You know, to try and reach people. The “being all things” where people are going to use that.

Bob: Here’s an illustration that I saw in my own life that I never forgot. Between my junior and senior year in college, I had a summer intern job in Fort Dodge, Iowa. And there were three or four others with me and we all lived in this apartment house. And there was another fellow living there. He was a policeman about years older than me. So, we would go downtown about every evening. And then, the next year, I was converted. And this company that I was working for had a regional meeting back up in Fort Dodge. So I thought to myself, I’m going to go look up Herb and tell him that I’ve become a Christian. So, I didn’t find him at the house, and I thought maybe he’s downtown at the old Cave In. And so sure enough, there was Herb sitting at the bar. And he was quite surprised to see me and he says, “Bob! Have a chair.” “Have a drink with me.” And I said, “No thanks, Herb, I’ve become a Christian.” “What?” And so we talked awhile and he urged me again, “Have a beer with me.” And I said no. And he went on. “You’re telling me you can’t just sit here and have a beer with me? Who do you think you are?” And he put the pressure on, and after about four or five times, I said, “Okay.” And I had that glass of beer, and just as I got it to my lips, he said, “Look at that! I knew it wasn’t real!” And it was just like a knife. So, you know, I think one big thing is are we going to where they’re at with the atmosphere and the attitude of bringing them out? Or identifying with them and confirming them in their sin in whatever circumstance it is?

Tim: Just adding to that, you know, in every situation, we’re representatives of Christ, and we need to portray Him. And you know, when I talked about just breaking the taboos, you think about how Jesus related with people versus the religious leaders. Think about the things He did. He touched lepers. You didn’t even get downwind from a leper. You didn’t walk around them. He would stop and speak with a woman at a well. He would speak with the Syro-Pheonician woman. He did things, but it was always to show kindness. It was always as Bob said to bring them out. And you know, I personally, I like the guy that does the unusual thing. I like that. I like when people are testing the boundaries, but behind it you see that they’re testing it because they really do have a burden for souls. And they really have a desire for purity. They’re not trying to be as much like the world as they possibly can. They have a burden for souls, and they’re willing to think outside the box. I love people like that.