What Does It Mean To “Catch For Christ?”
In a nutshell, catching or “fishing” people for Christ (Lk 5:10) entails striving to win others to Jesus, that they also may become committed disciples of the One who died for them and was raised again (2 Cor 5:15).
This ought to include both accurately sharing/explaining the Good News contained in the content of Christian teaching (doctrine) and acutely defending against/refuting that which is opposed to it (i.e., apologetics, cf. 1 Pet 3:15, Tit 1:9, 2 Cor 10:5, Jude 1:3).
This blog is the product of a redoubled New Year’s resolution, and the outworking of an exegetical paper on Lk 5:1-11 written for a seminary class in the Summer of 2017. What follows are edited excerpts of that work.
The One That Got Away
Remember “The One That Got Away?” You know, the Dr. Luke-produced, 2011 hit single by former-Christian-singer-turned-pop-star, Katy Perry?
Maybe not. But many of us can relate to the feelings expressed in the catchy tune. Perhaps, in different ways, we all have had someone close to us that “got away.” Perhaps we comforted ourselves with the truism: there are plenty of fish in the sea.
The One(s) That Got Away
Nowadays, you see, there are increasingly alarming numbers of those who have “gotten away” from the church.
If trends continue, according to survey data, church attendance will plummet by 50 percent in the next decade. For only 33 percent of young Christians who attend church now say that they will continue to do so once they leave the nest. Data indicates that between 60 and 80 percent of Christians between the ages of 15-30 will leave the church for a period of time, and most will not come back.
The One(s) That Was Never Really Here?
Furthermore, those in the nest, who identify as “Christian,” often reject basic Christian doctrines.
Surveys suggest that 68% of teenage Christians do not believe in the existence of the Holy Spirit; 51% do not believe in the Resurrection of Christ; 63% do not even believe in the Divinity of Christ.
Campus and Culture: Increasingly Secular
This probably will accord well with the views of many of their college professors – who are five times more likely to be atheist or agnostic than the general population.
Not to mention, according to a Barna Group poll, a mere 9 percent of adults in the United States have a biblical worldview – a worldview possessed by only 19 percent of self-professing “Christians”!
Meanwhile, on college campuses and in society at large, what is on the rise is the worship of “secular gods.”
In Jesus Among Secular Gods, Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale explain how the secular gods of naturalism/atheism, scientism, pluralism, humanism, (moral) relativism, and hedonism are championed – often unreasonably.
Yet, more and more of our brothers and sisters find it unreasonable to have faith in Christ. Unsurprisingly, the largest group of former Christians surveyed left the faith due to “intellectual doubt, skepticism, and unanswered questions.”
What To Do?
What shall we say in response to these things? To the ones that have gotten away? To the ones who claim to believe but do not truly understand? To the ones who have never believed?
Now more than ever, we need to catch others for Christ. For we are commissioned not to make mere members, but disciples of Christ (Mt 28:19-20).
Luke 5:1-11, produced by the original Dr. Luke, functions as a model for the divine call of Christian discipleship: in view of Christ’s divine grace and power, in addition to our own sinful nature, we should be willing to leave everything for, follow, and catch others for Christ.
 J. Warner Wallace, Forensic Faith: A Homicide Detective Makes the Case for a More Reasonable, Evidential Christian Faith, Kindle Edition, (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook), Kindle Locations 364-365.
 Wallace, Kindle Locations 1132-1138.
 Ibid, 364-365. Unsurprisingly, the largest group of former Christians surveyed left the faith due to “intellectual doubt, skepticism, and unanswered questions.”
Image a still from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNwSWChBFfU