ANAHEIM, California — Prior to addressing a crowd of 37,000 at SoCal Harvest in Angel Stadium Saturday night, leading evangelist and author Greg Laurie sat down with The Christian Post and discussed a number of hot-button topics and offered explanations on how some of them play into biblical prophecy.
Below is the complete transcript of Laurie's interview with CP.
The Christian Post: Do you believe that it is more urgent than ever for Christians to share the gospel and lead non-believers to Christ?
Greg Laurie: I think from the day Jesus gave us the commission, I think there has been an urgency in every generation. I think there is always new people that have never heard the gospel before that need to have it because the gospel – which is the death, resurrection of Christ and the message of his forgiveness – is the only hope for a person knowing that they will go to Heaven and then finding the meaning and purpose they search for in life.
The gospel is only good news if it gets there on time. I think if we don't deliver this message, it's negligence of the highest order. It would be like if you were walking down the street and a house was on fire and you heard screams coming from inside and you just kept walking. How irresponsible is that? At the very least, call 911 but better yet, you might run in and try to save the people.
To just ignore it is to me, just unacceptable. Every Christian is called to preach the gospel. We need to take the commission seriously. We all have our own sphere of influence and we need to at least share the message with them lovingly and accurately, biblically and pray that God will use it in their lives. Conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit.
CP: So, would you consider it irresponsible for Christians not to share the gospel?
Laurie: I would take it a step further. I don't thinks it's irresponsible, I think it is sinful to not share. Because to me, it is a sin of omission. The Bible speaks of the sense of commission, which is doing what you should not do, instead of omission, which is not doing what you should do. It says in the book of James that if you know to do good and don't do it, it is sin. So, we know we are supposed to share the gospel. So, I believe it can actually be a sinful thing to not do it.
CP: Many Christians today feel like they don't want to impose their beliefs on others. What does the Bible say about what happens to Christians that don't spread the gospel or partake in the Great Commission?
Laurie: I don't think I have to impose my belief to share with a person. My objective is to build a bridge to a person, to establish a dialogue. Sharing my faith is not a monologue, it is a dialogue. When I get up to speak tonight, it's kind of a monologue. When I am talking with someone one-on-one, it's a dialogue. I ask them questions; I listen; I respond appropriately. I think we can do it in a loving way. If you want to win some, you have to be winsome — be nice, be friendly and then appropriately apply the gospel.
I don't think we have to impose or pressure in anyway but I do think we have to engage people and try to help them to understand what the gospel even is.
CP: In you message Friday night, you talked a little bit about how religion drives people away from God. What exactly did you mean by that and does that apply to Christians or just people of other faiths?
Laurie: I think religion however it is expressed. I think any belief system that says to a person, "I don't need Jesus because I have my ritual" is a problem. Ultimately, we know that the way a person finds salvation, the way a person comes into a relationship with God is by admitting their sin and turning to Christ. So, I think because they have done religious ritual A or B or C and think that is sufficient and that's all that is expected, now religion has become a barrier instead of a bridge and gives a false sense of satisfaction.
It could be Christianity. I think it would be a distorted version of Christianity or it could be another religion. I know it sounds cliche but I believe in an essential way, it's very true that being a Christian is having a relationship with God through Christ. Sure, Christianity is a world religion and I don't deny that. But having said that, this is, when it is all said and done, a relationship with God.
It has been said before and I will say it again. Religion is man's attempt to reach God and Christianity is God's attempt to reach man.