‘Unlikely’ encounters

by

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Published: 2 April 2020 (GMT+10)

I recently had the privilege of sharing the Gospel with someone most people (including me) would assume would be uninterested in spiritual things. However, our Bible study turned out to be unexpectedly rich and profitable, as we dug into Scripture together, asked and answered questions, and I was able to present a full Gospel explanation.

I was humbled by the experience, because initially I’d made some assumptions about another person that were untrue, and if I had let it affect our time together, or my Gospel presentation, we both would have missed out on an experience that was a blessing to both of us.

Why don’t we witness?

There can be a number of reasons why we might not witness to others. First, a lot of people don’t feel like they are equipped. What if someone asks us about evolution, or contradictions in the Gospels? If this is the main reason you’re struggling to share the Gospel, there’s good news! Most people don’t have complicated objections to the Gospel, but they often have the same objections because they’ve heard them parroted in the media. Taking the time to learn basic facts about what you believe, and also answers to the most common objections, will pay off and give you the confidence to witness.

There is probably someone in all of our lives who we perhaps have not made as much effort with as we might have, because we assume they aren’t interested in the Gospel and won’t respond well. But in a way that’s disrespectful to the person, because we think we’re ‘better’ than them. Sometimes sharing the Gospel will be awkward, and sometimes they won’t be interested. But we owe it to the people we have relationships with to share this important message with them.

More importantly, it reveals a lack of trust in God, and perhaps even an attitude of being “ashamed of the Gospel” because we might be worried about what someone thinks about us if we share our faith. We know that God saves all sorts of people, including the people we would absolutely not expect to respond to the Gospel.

Our responsibility to be ambassadors of the Gospel

A key responsibility of every single believer is to share the Gospel (Matthew 28:19). Some believers will travel as missionaries, while others are called to be faithful in our local contexts. But the call to share the Gospel is the same for all Christians.

When we are standing in the presence of Christ in our glorified resurrection bodies, we won’t be thinking back to sharing the Gospel and saying, “I wish I wouldn’t have shared the Gospel with those people—how awkward!”

The creation foundation of the Gospel

We can be encouraged, because God never gives us a command in Scripture that He will not give us the resources to obey when we ask Him in faith. And when we step out in faith and begin sharing the Gospel, we will not only be able to see God begin to work in the lives of the people we’re sharing with, but in our own lives, too. When one becomes confident about what we believe, motivation and empowerment inevitably follow.

And creationists have the best foundation from which to present the Gospel, because we believe the Bible’s entire message, from the first verse. Explaining the Bible’s big story of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration can be a good way to share the Gospel.

It can be really easy to fall prey to the tendency to just hoard the knowledge we gain from studying, and to keep it safely on the shelf, except when we want to show someone how much we know about ATP synthase and the geological record. Some people even criticize CMI’s Bible and theology articles, saying we should stick to the science. But it’s not fundamentally about the science, and it’s not primarily an intellectual issue.

Who can you reach?

We are called to go out into the world and share the Gospel with others, and because we are recipients of God’s grace, we should be enthusiastic about sharing this message with others. When we become intentional about looking for and taking the opportunities God gives us to tell others about Jesus, our own faith will deepen and we will be able to see how God works through us when we take the simple step of obedience. And one thing I recall our CEO, Gary Bates, always telling his audiences is that “It is not our job to save people!’ Of course, we cannot save anyone—only God can do that, but we can at least try to meet the most basic questions people have about the Christian faith, and CMI provides easy-to-understand resources to help you do so.

Street preacher says creation ‘is the issue

By Gary Bates

Some years ago, we shared about the experiences of Russell Wallace, a pastor who often joined a street preaching and evangelism team in his home town. He wrote:

“To the surprise of some people in the church (who think that non-Christians don’t like talking about ‘religious matters’), many outsiders are in fact reasonably comfortable with being asked to share about their view of God, the Bible, religion and other topics.” He also shared that that there is one topic that commonly presents itself when talking to people, particularly young people, and that is evolution. He added: “While it is by no means the only topic that comes up, it is one of the most regular, and young people like talking about it. Why? Simply because it is what they have been taught and led to believe. It is possibly also the most ‘convenient’ way for young sinners to consciously reject God to justify their lifestyle.”

“One night, I had a conversation with a 20-year-old guy. He proudly shared he didn’t believe in God at all, adding that he was a member of a rock band. He could not see any relevance of God in his life. I asked if he believed in evolution. He said ‘yes’, looking at me as if I had just posed a trick question. When I told him there is no indisputable evidence for evolution, his expression suddenly changed to one of shock! I have experienced this same reaction on many other occasions. The vast majority of our youth have swallowed the lie of evolution. From my experience, starting a conversation with the Easter message, for example, will sound nice, but have little relevance to a culture soaked in humanism. Young people like to be heard and articulate their thoughts about the ‘big issues’ of life.

“Still, I hear my brethren in the wider local church claim that the creation/evolution issue is not important or irrelevant, and ‘will scare people away from Christianity.’ The members of my preaching team and I say otherwise—as evidenced by our experience of witnessing to passers-by on Friday nights. Not only do passers-by pause to talk with us, but some will stay for quite some time, putting aside whatever other plans they had for the evening.

The material I use is available in Creation magazine and on the CMI website (CREATION.com). Being armed with the right information and able to answer some basic questions is a very powerful strategy to evangelize today’s youth. Telling people to just believe in Jesus regardless of the supposed evidence for evolution is a reason for people not to believe. I do not expect a sensible mind to rationalize a contradiction.”1

References and notes

  1. Street preacher says creation ‘is the issue’, accessed 17 October 2008. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

From Creation to Salvation
by Lita Cosner
From
US $14.00
The Creation Answers Book
by Various
From
US $15.00
Christianity for Skeptics
by Drs Steve Kumar, Jonathan D Sarfati
From
US $17.00

Readers’ comments

Philip P.
Another great article Lita. I am further encouraged to tackle talking to non believers which I have wanted to do for some time now and have been particular about who I approached.
Blessings on all of you at CMI
Phil
Gina V.
Please don't make witnessing a guilt trip thing. If we witness just because we feel guilty about it, I don't think God is pleased, in the same sense he prefers we give cheerfully, rather than out of guilt. And people can tell we're doing it not because of the "joy that is within us", but because we feel we have to. And we can't share the "Good News" of freedom from guilt if we're trapped in guilt ourselves.
Lita Cosner
I wish you had said what you felt was a guilt trip, because that wasn't what I intended at all! It's an encouragement to make the most of every witnessing opportunity we have, because it's not only a command in Scripture, it's a privilege to get to share what Christ has done for us and is freely offered to any who will come to Him.
Nichola W.
Occasionally I get an opportunity to talk about these subjects at work. One Friday during after work drinks it came up. Corona virus was around but social distancing and lockdown hadn't started. I was asked, You believe in the Bible, don't you? During the conversation, my young colleague told me, to my surprise, that he didn't believe in evolution. He further surprised me by looking up a scripture in Revelation and reading it to me. So yes, we can make wrong assumptions about people. BTW, because of the group dynamics, that conversation didn't last long. But I'll keep chipping away as the opportunity arises.

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