Pretty much gone are the days you could canvass a neighborhood… share the Gospel multiple times… and someone come to Christ (People don’t like stangers coming to their door and talking about personal matters… do you?). In the past, people had a cultural religious base that made them open to the Gospel. But that has changed.
People are more eclictic in their religious ideas and think much more critically now. In the 21st Century a relationship is necessary before a person is willing to honestly discuss religion and Christianity. Many are skeptical of Christians because of their experience and exposure to other religious thoughts. The kind of evangelism we will continue to engage in more and more can be called apologetic evangelism.
For the past two years I have been building a relationship with a person who is one of the kindest, friendliest, most compassionate, and devoted people I’ve ever met. This person has attended church regularly for years. But is not a believer. Note: I will use the term “he” in referring to this person for convenience sake.
This individual stated to me that he had no problem with a supreme being. No problem admitting to the existence of God. But there were a number of struggles that was preventing him from taking that step of faith… even though he wanted to.
The biggest hurdle he has is Jesus. How a person could be 100% God and 100% man at the same time didn’t make sense. Another problem was how a loving God can send people to hell who never heard the name of Jesus. It was impossible for him to accept or believe in any being who would do such a thing as that. He believes that God created everything… started the world spinning… then stepped back and allows things to just happen (This is called Dieism).
I had the joy, pleasure, and honor of discussing with my friend his hurdles to belief. He engaged me with objections and problems to the Christian faith for several hours. At one point he said, “If I’m right you haven’t lost anything. But if you’re right I will lose everything.” (Aside: This is known as “Pascal’s Wager.”) He hadn’t heard of it, but admitted that was what he had thought for years.
Several times he said the answers made sense. Sometimes he said he would need to think on the points more. Most of the time he listened carefully and contemplated the thoughts with great respect. I consider the time we spent discussing salvation of tremendous benefit. Maybe a seed was planted… maybe one was watered. Only in time will God bring about a harvest as He so desires.
I wish I could tell you that at the end of our discussion he became a believer… but he didn’t. He did tell me that he had to do some more thinking as a result of our conversation. I left my friend two resources for further study that would be good to consider.
The Case For Christ and The Case For Faith are two book by Lee Strobel. Another book I recently purchased is The Reason For God by Dr. Tim Keller and has great thoughts specially for skeptics. I highly recommend them for any person questioning Christianity OR those who engage people with objections about Christianity. I wonder how many people around us have questions but are afraid to ask because of their fear of how we will react?