No More Old Dry Bones

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (ANS) -- Christian author and publisher Mike Shreve is concerned about the approach used by many believers when they tell committed followers of non-Christian religions about Jesus Christ who is God.

In a recent article, he illustrated his point. He said, "If you see a dog gnawing on an old meatless bone, don't try to pull it out of his mouth. He will fight you for it (well, he might). Instead, plop down a juicy steak. Any intelligent dog will automatically leave the dry bone behind, and sink its teeth into the far more scrumptious meal provided."

Shreve said soon after he became a Christian, he learned the truth of this principle as it relates to soul winning.

"Followers of non-Christian religions are starving spiritually, emaciated, often desperate for truth, gnawing on spiritual 'bones' that have never given them proper sustenance," Shreve said. "But if our primary approach is criticism of their belief system - jerking the bone out of their mouths - they will be more prone to a ... defensive posture, fighting to keep control of the 'bone.'"

Shreve said that a hard-hitting presentation of the gospel many times brings this sort of response. While it may have its place, Shreve said, there is an alternative.

He said, "I am convinced that a more loving and gentle approach will bring much better results in this post-modern world. In no way am I suggesting that we compromise the gospel, but rather, make the meal more appealing."

In 1970, Shreve was a teacher of yoga and meditation at four universities and running a yoga ashram. He was steeped in New Age and Far Eastern mystical thought. A former student of yoga who had found the Lord presented the gospel to him. He understood the need to make the gospel appealing.

Shreve said that during his initial conversation with this individual, Shreve made statements like, "'I can't believe the Bible is really the inspired Word of God,'" or 'I will never believe in a literal hell,' or 'I can never give up my belief in reincarnation.'"

Shreve said the man's response was, "'Don't worry about that. Just try Jesus! If you have an encounter with the Lord, all of that will take care of itself.'"

The man's response worked for Shreve. He said, "The man didn't throw a 'juicy steak' in front of me (I was vegetarian at that time-it wouldn't have worked); but it was a plate of tantalizing tofu. I accepted the offered meal, ate it up, and my heart, life and belief system were radically changed. And once my heart was transformed, my doctrine fell into place and I switched sides on all of the issues just mentioned."

Shreve said that too many times we try to convert people's minds before their hearts are transformed from above, yet once a spiritual rebirth takes place, the mind automatically begins going through a "renewal" process.

With that in mind, Shreve said, "Let's get seekers to Jesus first, then after they are spiritually regenerated, we can jerk 'them old dry bones' out of their mouths (and minds)."

By Jeremy Reynalds
Correspondent for

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