Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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I have been blessed with opportunities to "preach the gospel" and to "reap the harvest."  Right now I have been trying to persuade a former protestant, now Buddist, friend of mine to become a Christian. His heart is seeking, and God promised that he shall find. His BIGGEST, if not ONLY, problem with accepting Christ is his confusion between God's LOVE and God's WRATH (Hell). He cannot reconcile the two: A God who LOVES, and IS LOVE, and a God who will throw people into HELL. Do you know of any book(s) reconciling Love and Wrath, that would be helpful in our quest for the Truth?

The first question normally asked during Biblical Study together is "Is there a God?" I suggest starting off in the New Testament and with the question, "Who is the Lord Jesus Christ?" Certainly a study of Christology is a wonderful way to introduce someone to the Lord Jesus Christ, as He Himself is the center of Christianity. The Orthodox Study Bible has a section, which defines and addresses this issue as well as a book entitled "On the Unity of Christ." This book incorporates the media of philosophy and the natural sciences as well as the spirituality of the Early Fathers. An educated person would truly value this book based upon the writings of St Cyril of Alexandria. Perhaps this would be an easier way in which to begin a Holy Bible Study. Through this study you could then identify God the Father, and the Holy Spirit with a firm understanding of the Lord Jesus Christ and the New Testament writings as a foundation.

Secondly, I suggest simply reading the Holy Bible together. I did not read in your email that this was occurring. Sometimes the Word of God itself has an effect on others that we do not have. Offer to sit and read the Holy Bible slowly beginning in the New Testament while answering any questions that may come up.  Have you invited your friend to attend the Divine Liturgy? All of these suggestions should go hand in hand with your evangelism efforts.

There are many Orthodox books, which address Evangelism and Conversion. "Becoming Orthodox" written by Fr. Peter Gilliquist, "Coming Home" written by Fr. Peter Gilliquist, "Coptic Orthodox Church (for you)" written by Fr. Tadros Malaty, "Two Thousand Years of Coptic Christianity" written by Otto Meinardus, and "Comparative Theology" written by His Holiness Pope Shenouda.

Also the "Nature of Christ," ďSalvation in the Orthodox Understanding," and "God and Nothing Else" are other books written by His Holiness, which address the topics you and your friend have identified.

With regard to your friendís confusion between Godís love and Godís justice, which stands between him and accepting Christ as the savior, actually there should be no confusion. Love without justice is not love, and justice without love is not justice. True love must be full of justice and true justice must be full of love. God is perfect in all His attributes. According to the Holy Book of Psalm 85:10,11  "mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other, Truth shall spring out of the earth, and righteousness shall lookdown from heaven" (Psalm 85: 10,11).

In the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, (Luke 16:19-31), if both of them went to heaven, would it be acceptable to your friend? Would he believe in a God who is unfair and unjust? We should not confuse love with justice.

May God bless you in your evangelism efforts in His Holy Name.
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