Should you share your faith? (Part 4)
This month we conclude our 4-part mini-series which has been addressing several aspects of sharing our faith. As a reminder, here’s the series overview:
How do we go about sharing?
Of the four aspects in this series, this one seems to be one people really want help with the most.
In this final article, I will be listing a few subtopics, and then I will share some related pieces of advice. I could write an entire book just focusing on these issues, but we will just be scratching the surface here.
Grace & Truth
It’s certainly important to have truth, but if it’s not accompanied by grace, you may be wasting your time. It was said of Jesus that He was “full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) The amount of truth in my messages has certainly increased since I started speaking 31 years ago, but the “grace” aspect was slow to develop because I did not understand the important role it plays. Fortunately, it has increased exponentially in the last few years.
Be patient with the people you are witnessing to. As we discussed in Part 3, they are spiritually blinded, so we cannot expect them to see things as clearly or certainly as we do.
Get to know the person!
Sometimes you run into a stranger and only have a limited opportunity to share your faith. God can still work wonders in those brief encounters, so don’t write those off too quickly. In other situations, I would highly recommend that you make a sincere effort to get to know the other person. It does two major things. First and foremost, it tangibly shows you actually care about them… who they are and what they have gone through (or are currently going through). Secondly, it better positions you to know how to approach them when sharing your faith. There may be things you steer clear of, because they would react too adversely, or other things you want to purposely include, because you know they will be able to relate.
It’s not about “proving” your view
Too often, when confronted by a skeptic, the Christian will immediately jump into “defensive mode”, working very hard at attempting to “prove their view”. However, when dealing with a subject such as worldviews it’s not really appropriate to think they can be proven and it’s a very different venture than simply determining which metal is a better conductor of electricity. In that case, you can perform experiments in a laboratory and see the results first-hand. You can also repeat these experiments and have multiple people carry them out to ensure your results are consistent. In essence, you can demonstrate “proof” of your view (for example, that copper is a better conductor than aluminum). Discussing worldviews is something that involves gathering evidence from various fields to either support or challenge the claims made by each view. So don’t get pulled into playing “the proof game”.
The second piece of advice I offer here is before you make any attempt to defend your view, ask the skeptic lots of questions regarding their own view. For example, ask what they believe about how the universe came into existence. Ask how life began. Ask where they think information came from. Ask what they think happens to us when we die. When they offer responses to your questions, ask follow-up questions such as “How do you know that’s true?” By using this approach, you will not only learn a lot more about what they actually believe and be in a better position to expose weaknesses, but you will potentially also get them to see the folly of what they believe when they realize they don’t necessarily have strong evidence to back up their claims, which means they are not only exercising faith, but it’s often a “blind faith”.
The machine gun tactic… what’s that? That’s when your opponent pelts you with so many questions you can’t possibly answer all of them, and then they later say something like, “Well, you didn’t even answer my question about…” Some people do this on purpose, but others are just very passionate and don’t realize it’s even happening. My advice? Get them to focus on the biggest reasons why they reject Christianity, God or the Bible (or whatever particular topic you are discussing). Don’t go off on rabbit trails… stick to the topic at hand.
Stay out of the weeds
Occasionally, a skeptic may bring up a topic that is definitely outside your field. Let’s say they start talking about how bacteria evolve resistance to antibiotics and that’s “proof” of evolution. You may know nothing about this particular subject. Don’t try to address it directly. Rather, pull them back up to the 30,000 foot view by asking much more basic questions. It could look like this: “I’m not sure I am familiar with what you are saying right now, but I have a few other more basic questions. Perhaps if we could deal with those first, we could then dive a bit deeper and get back to your current question.” To which they might say, “Like what?” Then you ask them, within their worldview, “Where did the universe come from?” “How did life originate?” “How did a single celled organism turn into human beings?” “Where does information come from?” If they can satisfactorily answer those “bigger picture” questions, then you can resume discussing the initial question they raised. If not, then it doesn’t really pay to waste time talking about the original questions any further.
It’s not “Your view”
Finally, it’s not really “your view” you are discussing. If it really were a matter of yours vs. theirs, then why should the whole world really care about what you think? How did you become so important and get so much authority? In reality, all you are doing is sharing what God’s Word says. If they have a problem with what you are saying, they really have a problem with what God has revealed, and they’ll have to give an account to Him some day about their choice to reject His Word. Keep the focus on what God has said about whatever subject you are discussing, and don’t make it a matter of your personal philosophy.
As I was writing this “last in the series” article, I realized I was trying to put a thousand pounds of groceries in a ten pound bag, so forgive me for that. None-the-less, I hope some of it has been helpful. We’ll have to cover this in more depth in a future series.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about this or any other issue, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
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