When believers present the message of Christ, we need to be like Paul, absolutely above board in our motives and manners (2 Corinthians 4:2). We need to respect our hearers and refuse to do anything that would violate their integrity. Otherwise we become like a cult, peddling spiritual goods (2:17).
Here are some suggestions (from material distributed by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship to guide Christians in their witness:
Ethics for Witnessing
1. We are Christians, called by God to honor Jesus Christ with our lives, abiding by biblically defined ethical standards in every area of life, public and private. This includes our efforts to persuade coworkers and others to believe the good news about Jesus Christ.
2. Wherever we live and work, we seek to follow the mandate, motives, message, and model of Jesus, who still pursues and reclaims those lost in sin and rebelling against Him.
3. We believe all people are created in Gods image with the capacity to relate to their Creator and Redeemer. We disdain any effort to influence people which depersonalizes them or deprives them of their inherent value as persons.
4. Since we respect the value of persons, we believe all are worthy of hearing about Jesus Christ. We also affirm the right of every person to survey other religious options. People are free to choose a different belief system than Christianity.
5. We affirm the role and right of Christians to share the gospel of Christ in the marketplace of ideas. However, this does not justify any means to fulfill that end. We reject coercive techniques or manipulative appeals, especially those that play on emotions and discount or contradict reason or evidence We will not bypass a persons critical faculties, prey upon psychological weaknesses, undermine a relationship with ones family or religious institution, or mask the true nature of Christian conversion. We will not intentionally mislead.
6. We respect the individual integrity, intellectual honesty, and academic freedom of others, both believers and skeptics, and so we proclaim Christ without hidden agendas. We reveal our own identity, purpose, theological positions, and sources of information. We will use no false advertising and seek no material gain from presenting the gospel.
7. We invite people of other religious persuasions to join us in true dialogue. We acknowledge our humannessthat we Christians are just as sinful, needy, and dependent on the grace of God as anyone else. We seek to listen sensitively in order to understand, and thus rid our witness of any stereotypes or fixed formulae which block honest communication.
8. As our “brothers keepers,” we accept our responsibility to admonish any Christian brother or sister who presents the message of Christ in a way that violates these ethical guidelines.