Divine compulsions and human manipulation

And the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled.

Luke 14:23, New American Standard Bible (throughout)

Here we find a mission for the disciples which calls for them to compel people to come to the Lord’s dinner. Surely the plan is not to hold people hostage or to threaten or bribe them to comply with our invitation. This episode is not the only instance of the Lord compelling his disciples to perform certain actions. There is also that episode where the Lord compels the disciples to cross the lake. Compulsion is not a black hole of mission necessities.

Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away.

Matthew 14:22, NASB

Compulsion aptly defined

This is perhaps the best description of what it means to be a fisher of men.  What must be involved in this compassion has to be taking of certain liberties and opportunities to maneuver the person to the point that they find the invitation irresistible. Understanding the elements a fisherman brings together to catch fish is helpful; namely the nets, the baits, the hooks, the location, the time of day, and the patient waiting.  In extreme cases a catch may need the help of other  fishers.

When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink.

Luke 5:6-7, NASB

We know that Jews, Christians and Muslims come to faith as children often without a conscientious choice. They are literally compelled by their parents to follow the rules of the community. Even if the parents are patient and look for opportunities, etc.  children are not mature enough to make decisions about lifestyle and attitude.  Children in our societies are not allowed to drive,  drank alcohol, or marry until they reach a certain age, so it is highly suspect that juveniles – four, five, six and seven year olds – can call themselves by religious labels such as Christian, Muslim, Hindu etc.

Faith that is imposed is defiled by  shortsighted humanity.