A blunt instrument for God?
Information is good, but delivery is crucial
Published: 26 September 2019 (GMT+10)
Previously published in a CMI newsletter, December 2018
As an information ministry, CMI exists to tell the other side of the origins story—one that is mandatorily excluded from the public domain. Through ministry events, our website and related resources, we warn about the dangers of not being equipped with a biblical defense. This follows a Scriptural admonition which says to “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and [to] take every thought captive to obey Christ … ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
In our experience, most Christian families just don’t realize the corrosive effects of constantly hearing that ‘science has disproved the Bible’ (implicitly or explicitly) and to see sound-bite type evidences portrayed on TV and the media. I.e. ‘look at these ape-man fossils that have been carbon-14 dated to tens of thousands of years’. Or ‘a new species of dinosaur has just been unearthed that is 140 million-years-old’. Left unchallenged, such ‘facts’ create doubts that linger until they become ‘truth’, because as lay-believers, we are rarely taught how to answer such claims in church or home.
Our current generation has access to more information than ever before—thousands of books, DVDs and articles to support the Bible’s account of Creation. But, most do not know this information exists, and our children are like lambs being torn apart by wolves with ‘superior’ information. CMI is supported by you to go where the Christians are (in churches) and let them know that we are here to help.
Knowledge without love?
The famous passage in 1 Corinthians 13 reminds us one can have all the gifts, and knowledge of men and even angels but we will just be a “noisy gong or clanging cymbal” if we don’t have love. Yet the same author, the Apostle Paul, uses some pretty strong language in 2 Corinthians 10:5, when he talks about ‘destroying’ and ‘taking captive’. Let’s look at the context. In chapter 10 Paul is talking about fallacious arguments or philosophy. Elsewhere, Paul writes, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8).
One of the key passages that CMI uses to exhort Christians to make a defense is 1 Peter 3:15: “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.”
But people often leave out what follows, which is an important qualification: “yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.”
Destroy the arguments, not the person
Our aim as Christians is to evangelize and make disciples, first at home, and then around the world. But try to recall the last time you had a disagreement with someone. Did winning the argument win either of you over? Our human nature does not like ‘losing’. Our goal is to win people over, and that is not easy when they have so many pre-conceived objections that our faith and the Bible are ‘wrong’.
This wrong approach is often demonstrated to us—sadly by many Christians who comment on articles on our website. A unique feature about CREATION.com is that we allow readers to post their comments, and we do publish comments from those who disagree with the author—this in itself is not a problem. Occasionally though, a small handful of fellow believers (not unbelievers BTW) openly attack our ‘ignorance’ by professing their ‘superior knowledge’, while at the same time promoting their singular ‘hot button’ issue. As a result, the big picture of the Great Commission is lost along the way by focusing on minors. I often think “I wonder how many people they’ve won to Christ with an attitude like that—bludgeoning people in such a way.” And I only mention this because it sadly serves as an example of the wrong way to do it.
With our US speakers conducting 300 or more events every year, talking to tens of thousands of people, obviously we get more than the isolated case of a hostile response to our message. So, what is the best way to respond? Keep in mind that it is unlikely someone will change their mind in one conversation. So, rather than get involved in protracted debate, I usually challenge folks and say something like “Well, if you are genuinely interested in the answer to that question, I have just the book (or DVD etc.) for you. I will get it for you if you promise to read (or watch) it.”
Understanding it is not our job to save people is liberating!
We cannot save anyone—only God can do that. But we are called to be faithful witnesses per 1 Peter 3:15–16 mentioned earlier. When witnessing to people I have found this reality incredibly liberating. People can accept or reject Christ—it’s not my problem if they do not take up my offer. But my attitude and demeanor must not be a stumbling block or an excuse to reject the Gospel for someone hearing the life-changing information about our Creator and Savior. And at CMI we’ve tried hard in recent years to ensure that we supply information strongly, yet graciously, as best we are able. And with the plethora of resources available today, ministries like CMI make this easy for you. So, take the time to visit our webstore where there is a huge range of books, DVDs, video downloads, booklets, tracts, children’s resources and so much more. And of course, our most successful equipping and evangelistic resource is Creation magazine. You can send a subscription to someone you are trying to reach today.