Questioning Evangelism

Christians talk too much.  At least, they feel the pressure to.

I have a talk entitled “Why I Am a Christian,” where I discuss the primary reason we ought to follow Christ:  because He’s the Truth.  Christianity (in the sense of C.S. Lewis’ “mere Christianity”) is true and we have good reasons to think so.  But sometimes, when people hear this they feel pressure to have all the right answers for their non-believing friends.  I hear the stress in their voices when they ask, “So what should I say to my non-Christian friends?”  I have some advice. 

First, start with questions.  Oftentimes, Christians think evangelism means we talk and others listen.  So, the believer is supposed to have a polished “Gospel presentation” and a finely tuned response to all objections.  But this approach is undignifying to non-Christians and it completely ignores the unique questions an individual might have.  And it’s why some Christians are really good at answering questions no one is asking.  Francis Schaeffer’s words are instructive here:  “If I have only an hour with someone, I will spend the first 55 minutes asking questions and finding out what is troubling their heart and mind, and then the last 5 minutes I will share something of the truth.” 

I encourage students to start with Stand to Reason’s first two “Columbo” questions

#1 -- What do you mean by that?

#2 -- How did you come to that conclusion?

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Dr. Martin Luther King speaks again...KEEP MOVING.

Listen to this.


Rainbow Sandals (Theologically Observed)

Most surfers and California beach-wear aficionados know what Rainbow Sandals are. They are a light-wear, leather sandal that forms to your foot, virtually indestructible; rather like wearing twin slices of heaven on your feet.

I like to think of them as the sandals Jesus wore.

Whenever we are back in San Clemente, Ca., we stop by the factory to pick up a pair or six. This last visit, the chief architect running the construction of the sandal manufacturing empire gave us a tour, and it was absolutely fascinating. Fashioning the leather straps, cutting the layers of rubber sole, applying the patented glue…you could tell this guy LOVED making Rainbows. Each one was special to him. And like Jelly Bellies, whose factory we also visited, even the flops were items of love and care. (Try purchasing bags of belly-flops the next time you’re passing through Fairfield, Ca.)
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A Glance at Religions around the World

I came across this brief article recently on the Lausanne World Pulse website. The short article provides the reader with an overview of the World's most followed religions. It also mentiones that most Christians are spreading the Gospel in areas where Christianty already exists. It goes on to say this:

Over twenty-seven percent of the world’s population is part of people groups who have no or very little access to the gospel. Furthermore, in terms of finances, less than one percent of U.S. church giving goes to support mission work among these least-served groups.

Why do you think the US church gives so little to the areas in the world who have yet to be reached by the Gospel? Do you think it is the responsibility of all Christians to go into areas where there are unreached peoples? How can Christians reach the unreached today? Should churches continue to send aid and people to areas that already have Christianity or should the church shift its focus to the unreached areas? 

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LIVE with Greg Koukl - Wednesday 9/9 @ 10AM PT

How Can I Defend My Faith without Sounding Defensive?

 

Tired of finding yourself intimidated and defensive in conversations about matters of faith?  Want to increase your confidence and skill as you discuss your beliefs with family, friends, and coworkers?  Greg Koukl, founder and president of Stand to Reason, offers practical strategies to help you maneuver comfortably and graciously in any conversation about your Christian convictions.

Greg will be taking your questions during this Livestream event.  At the conclusion of the live event, ConversantLife will be giving away—for 24 hours only—an electronic version of Greg’s newest book, Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions (Zondervan).

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Wet Blanket Believers

I wish I could've hung out with Thomas Aquinas.  He must've been a riot.  The name may conjure stuffy intellectual images but it shouldn't.  In his Summa Theologica, he draws our attention to an oft-ignored virtue: wit.

“Jokes and plays are words and gestures that are not instructive but merely seek to give lively pleasure. We should enjoy them. They are governed by the virtue of witty gaiety to which Aristotle refers (Ethics II28aI) and which we call pleasantness. A ready-witted man is quick with repartee and turns speech and action to light relief.”

I could totally see Thomas throwing down some sarcastic barbs at fellow members of the Domincan Order. Later Aquinas says:

“It is against reason to be burdensome to others, showing no amusement and acting as a wet blanket. Those without a sense of fun, who never say anything ridiculous, and are cantankerous with those who do, these are vicious, and are called grumpy and rude.”
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A Funny Thing Happened On Facebook

 

When I was in junior high school, a buddy of mine invited me to join the on campus Christian Club.  Realizing that students who participated in an on campus club got a “go to lunch 5 minutes early” pass, I jumped at the offer.  Our lunch lines were horrendous!  The student-led club was basically a Bible study that met once a week, with the occasional guest speaker thrown in.  I wasn’t raised in the church, but I was struck by the good company and became interested in what the big deal was about God and church and stuff.

 

This buddy of mine then invited me to attend church with him.  So, on Sunday mornings, he would bike to my house and then the two of us would pedal through the morning fog for Sunday services.  It was on one of these treks that my friend realized I did not own a Bible.  A few days later, my friend passed down his own well-worn Bible.  The dedication page was covered in white-out, and over the crusty paste he had written my name as the owner of the Bible and scrawled his name on the “From” line.

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q&a: Is God a liar?

Q: Alicia, if God is real, then why does the Bible say one thing about who He is, yet my life depict another? (Ex. His Word says He's my protector, yet I haven't seen that....) So, is He a liar?

Note: A heartfelt Thank You to all who responded to last blog/survey, i.e., "if Jesus were in the boat sleeping...would you wake him up?". Your responses were very insightful and I hope to offer a few thoughts in the weeks to come.

Until then, I thought I'd share this unedited question-answer exchange with a brilliant twenty-something.

A: I see in this question the evidence of pain. Pain—emotional or physical—is exhausting and it reduces truth to bare bones. But bones are held together by flesh and blood which frankly makes it a rather messy affair.

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What is success?

"There is a great different between successfulness and fruitfulness. Success comes from strength, control and respectability. Fruitfulness, however comes from weakness and vulnerability.

A child is the fruit conceived in vulnerability, community is the fruit born through shared brokenness, and intimacy is the fruit that grows through touching one another's wounds.

Let's remind one another that what brings us true joy is not successfulness but fruitfulness."

 

Henri Nouwen

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