Compel Them To Come In

The parable Jesus told to his disciples in the fourteenth chapter of Luke has been used to authorize everything from door-to-door evangelism to the Crusades. In the parable, a rich man had prepared a great banquet and had invited many people to come and eat and celebrate with him. But when he sent his servants to fetch the guests, they began, one by one, to make excuses as to why they could not attend. The rich man got angry and told his servants to go out into the roadways and bushes and find the poor and unwanted and "compel them to come in". That phrase "compel them to come in" has been abused, misused and misunderstood for centuries.
Overzealous Christians, who for the most part have good intentions, think this phrase is telling them to herd people into the church by any means necessary! After all, the Lord Jesus tells us to do it..... doesn't He? No. I don't think that is what He is trying to tell us at all! Other "Christians", who are not so well-meaning, use this phrase to bully unbelievers and make them feel worthless (can you say "holier-than-thou"?). Their intention is not to lead people to repentance, but just to shame them!
When the rich man in Jesus' parable told his servants to go out and "compel" people to come to his banquet, he wasn't giving them permission to drag people to his party, or to harass them until they gave in and came, or to shame and belittle them into coming. The rich man wanted his servants to simply go out and tell these poor, hungry, rejected people about his glorious banquet! All his servants had to do was tell these people the good news that there was free food and drink to be had and they were welcome to come! In other words, make the banquet compelling!
The good news should do the compelling, not us! Tell people about Jesus and the free gift of salvation and the good news will do the compelling for itself! Not everyone will accept the invitation, but didn't Jesus tell us that that would happen? People have the free-will right to simply decline the invitation! We don't have the right to herd people into church! Jesus is the good shepherd, not the good cowboy! Sheep must be led, cattle can be driven!
I want every person on Earth to accept Jesus and be saved. I don't want that to happen because I want everyone to be like me, I want that to happen because I love people and I don't want anyone to suffer Hell! But God Himself won't force people to accept Him and He doesn't give us the right to either! God has commanded men everywhere to be saved, but He wants them to obey freely! If you want to compel people to come to church, to accept Jesus and to be saved, tell them the good news in all it's glory and it will be compelling enough for itself.

1 comment:

  1. It is a very great evil, a shame cast upon Jesus Christ and His blood that Evangelical, Fundamentalist and even Pentecostal types when the approach this passage openly declare and or strongly imply that one can lie, cheat, steal, seduce, bribe, shame, threaten etc. etc. etc. in order to bring people to Christ.

    These preachers teachers men and ministries only know what Jesus called the "Light of Darkness"(KJV) These have never known Him and neither know His voice. They are as the pharisees of old and shall in no wise enter in as they walks in their ways.


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