If you have never seen the British comedy show Black Books staring the drastically underrated Irish comedian Dylan Moran, you are missing out (You can stream every season on Netflix). While the entire series is a great example of sarcastic British wit, the pilot episode provides Christians with an honest evaluation of our collective evangelism efforts.
In short, Black Books reveals that our vision for evangelism might be far too small. Perhaps Christians en masse no longer really believe the truth of the Bible that God is ultimately satisfying and that Jesus provides life that eternal and abundant (John 10:10). Instead, we mentally defaulted to the lie that the good news of Jesus Christ is going be rejected. We believe this to such an extent that it has made us fat, passive, lazy, and ill equipped in our evangelism efforts.
The clip below (courtesy of youtube) is a scene where Mr. Black, the proprietor of a book shop (played by Dylan Moran), encounters two evangelists going door to door (these believers seem to be a mashup of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and Christians). Mr. Black is in the midst of a struggle with his year-end taxes and finds some relief in a conversation about Jesus as a distraction from his frustration. The hilarious conversation between Mr. Black and the evangelists turns out to be a thinly veiled critique of the passive evangelism displayed by many believers.
As believers, this clip pushes us to reconsider the imperative from St. Peter, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” (1 Peter 3:15 ESV). I pray that believers would take Peter’s words seriously and will pray for and practice evangelism in such a way that scenes like this one from Black Books become less and less of a reality.