I’m learning of some situations where some evangelical Christians seem to be treating their witness as winning an argument with someone and establishing the truth of Christianity against someone that rejects the Biblical message in some way. I’m thinking that it may be due to the unfortunate ‘It’s my responsibility to fix other people’ and ‘straightening out’ tendency among many Christians. While I definitely believe in apologetics and indulge quite heavily in it, it needs to be repeated often that apologetics is not evangelism. Rather, it is about establishing the reasonable basis of the Christian faith, and it can be a ministry to the believer as much as it is to the unbeliever. And one should never approach either apologetics or evangelism with an attitude of “I’m going to change them to my way of thinking.”
While the Bible does tell us to give an answer about the hope that is in us, and to persuade men and women in the fear of God, there is a place for simply sharing the complete gospel and trusting in the power of the Word and the Holy Spirit to change hearts. Sometimes it is a good tactic to ask simply to be able to explain the gospel and then work through objections later. It may well be that the other person is rejecting something which isn’t the gospel at all.
Billy Graham eventually worked his explanation of the gospel into four basic questions of life, and the gospel of Jesus Christ has the most sufficient, satisfying and livable answers to these questions. Here are his four questions:
- Who am I?
- Where did I come from?
- Where am I going?
- Is there any meaning to my life?
I think that we’re all born with wanting the answers to those questions, and presenting clearly how the Biblical gospel of Jesus Christ answers those questions can override objections based on my views against yours and refute all rivals.