No one has ever been “argued” into the kingdom of God. This booklet is not intended to encourage arguing about God, faith or religion. It is certainly not intended to help people win such arguments. Rather, it is written to :
· Equip Christians with enough knowledge about the reasonableness of their faith that they can stand firm in the face of a culture that is increasingly hostile to Christianity.
· Encourage Christians to accurately represent Jesus Christ with respect and humility when they encounter people who either question or ridicule their faith.
· Encourage Christians to adopt the “Jesus style,” of defending or presenting their faith, by using hypothetical illustrations and stories rather than simply reciting facts.
May God stimulate your mind and soften your heart as you seek to represent Him in this world.
This booklet has been written to help Christians who are hesitant to share their faith because they are afraid they are not able to answer questions non-believers may ask about Christianity.
Tell What You Know
In the ninth chapter of the gospel of John there is a story about a blind man to whom Jesus gave sight. Jesus’ critics questioned the newly sighted man about what had happened to him. The man knew virtually nothing about Jesus. When pressed for details, the man replied, “Whether He [Jesus] is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”
This story is a tremendous encouragement to all who fear that they do not know enough to share their faith in Christ. The man’s example encourages us to tell what we do know!
Giving An Answer
You can testify about Christ by telling what you know, whether it be a little or a lot. However, 1 Peter 3:15 exhorts us to prepare ourselves to “always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.” The remainder of this booklet is intended to help you be prepared to give answers to the most frequently asked questions non-believers tend to ask.
Is the Problem Intellectual or Moral and Spiritual?
There are people who insist that the reason they do not embrace Christianity is that they have honest questions that cannot be answered. They insist that there are intellectual barriers that stand between them and Christianity. This is seldom, if ever, true. There are answers to people’s questions — if they really want answers. Most people, however, do not want answers. The alleged intellectual barriers are erected to hide the moral and spiritual barriers that keep people from committing themselves to Christ.
People may say they do not believe because the Bible is full of contradictions. In reality, most often these people just do not want to turn from their sin. They may say that they do not believe because there are hypocrites in the church, but the real reason is that they are spiritually blind to the fact that they are sinners in need of a Savior.
When dealing with people’s questions about Christianity, remember that no answer you may give will turn a person to Christ. All you are doing is seeking to remove the excuses people have erected. When the excuses have been eliminated, people must still wrestle with their moral and spiritual problems.
Discerning the Heart of the Questioner
Answering questions effectively begins with discerning the heart of the questioner. There are four basic kinds of questioners:
Indifferent. These do not care. Some really do not care. The ones who really do not care are often the hardest to reach. Why? Because they do not care. Others pretend not to care, but if you will mention spiritual issues, they will reveal that they do care. They will reveal that they are one of the other three kinds of people.
Skeptic. Skeptics have a “show me” attitude. It isn’t that they are opposed to Christianity, they are just skeptical. They are open, but they want to be given some evidence. The burden of proof is on you. They are ready to reject Christianity unless you can prove they should not. Skeptics can be reached for Christ.
Scoffer. Scoffers are different from skeptics. Scoffers are antagonistic. They are not interested in learning, but in debate. They are looking to find fault. They often ask questions or make statements that attack Christ, Christianity and the Bible. True scoffers do not really want answers. They want to argue. 2 Peter 3:3 informs us “that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts.”
Sometimes these people know something of the Bible. They may have been raised in a religious environment. They are often reacting to something that turned them off in the past. These scoffers can be reached, not only by reason, but by love.
There are other scoffers, however, who are just plain hard. They may even be instruments of the devil intended to discourage you and waste your time. The book of Proverbs warns sternly and repeatedly: do not waste time with scoffers. They are not going to be reached with any amount of reason. If they are to be reached, it will be by loving example alone. Since scoffers cannot be argued into the kingdom of God, when you discern you are dealing with a scoffer, the best approach is often to kindly refrain from argument, pray and demonstrate Christian love.
Seeker. Romans 3:10-12 makes it clear that “no one seeks God.” 1 Corinthians 2:14 makes it clear that non-believers have no interest in or ability to grasp spiritual truth. However, there are people who have not yet committed themselves to Christ, and therefore are not Christians, but who seem to have some interest in spiritual things. How shall we understand this?
Seekers come in two types: (1) Those who are seeking God because the Spirit of God is at work in them, and (2) those who are seeking answers to their problems, giving religion a whirl. Those who are seeking God will find Him. Jesus promised as much in Matthew 7:7. The reason is that God is already at work in them. They are seeking God because God is seeking them! Those who are merely seeking answers to their problems are not seeking God and they may or may not end up coming to faith in Christ.
Since you cannot be sure which category a seeker is in, pursue all who seem to be seeking the Lord with the expectation that some will be saved. Do not be devastated if others end up walking away because God failed to deliver what they wanted from Him.
How to Deal with These Four Types of People
With the truly indifferent, pray and seek to raise their interest without becoming annoying. With skeptics, seek to answer their questions, giving a rational defense for Christianity. With scoffers, know when to continue and when to walk away, leaving them in God’s hands. Since it is virtually impossible to tell whether a seeker is seeking God or merely answers, treat all seekers as though God is at work in their lives, expecting them to come to faith in Christ until they do, or until they walk away.
Answering Questions with Questions
If you read through the gospels with an eye for how Jesus dealt with inquisitors, you will discover that in almost every instance, Jesus answered questions with questions. Here is what He typically did and why: People came along asking questions. The questions were asked from a position of naiveté regarding truth. Rather than merely telling the inquisitor an answer that the person may still fail to understand, Jesus told stories and asked people questions designed to do two things: (1) He wanted them to see the folly of their position. (2) He wanted them to determine the correct answer for themselves. The results of this method are far more impacting than merely spouting off answers.
Christians need to learn from our Lord’s example and imitate His method. Hypothetical situations that reveal the illogic of people’s thinking are far more effective than highly technical answers. Questions that force people to answer their own questions are more impacting than straight forward answers you may give. Resist the temptation to flaunt your knowledge. Understand that compassion desires people to discover truth as God reveals it. Pride, on the other hand, desires to be right.
Thirteen of the Most Commonly Asked Questions About Christianity
There is no end to the number of questions non-believers ask about Christianity. However, there are not many different types of questions. The following thirteen questions are actually categories of questions. People’s questions may be worded differently, but the heart of most questions will fall into one of these thirteen categories. Learning how to field thirteen types of questions is something everyone can do and it will make you effective in handling many hundreds more.
The answers are given in two forms. Facts (F) and sample illustrations and questions (?).
Q.1. Isn’t the Bible at odds with science? What about evolution and dinosaurs?
(F) The Bible is not a science book. It speaks of nature, not in scientific terms, but in terms that are common to man.
? Most people say that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Of course we know that the sun does not rise or set. The earth rotates making it appear that the sun is rising and setting. When we say the sun rises and sets, are we declaring that we believe that the sun rotates around a flat earth? No. We are merely making a non-scientific statement from a human perspective.
(F) Other religions make all sorts of statements about science that are wrong, yet they are not rejected on a scientific basis.
? Hindu scripture (the Vedas) says the moon is 150,000 miles farther away from the earth than the Sun is and that it is a source of light, rather than a reflector of the Sun’s light. Those religious writings claim the earth is a flat triangle held up by giant elephants who live underneath. Earthquakes happen when the elephants shake. Have you ever heard anyone attack Hinduism because it is not scientific? Why not? Why do critics attack Christianity, which makes no such ludicrous statements?
(F) Christianity is at odds with evolution. But so is science! People who discard Christianity because it is not compatible with evolution are right about that incompatibility, but they are also demonstrating that they do not really understand science.
? Evolution is theory, not scientific fact or law. To be scientific, evolution would have to be observable and reproducible. It is neither. Creation is not scientific either since it is neither observable nor reproducible. Laws of science (thermodynamics and entropy) actually disprove evolution. Science does nothing to disprove the Bible. Why should anyone believe evolution that is scientifically impossible, and yet reject biblical creation, that while not provable, is possible?
(F) So what if the Bible is silent about dinosaurs? The Bible never mentions cats either! The Bible never claims to address everything. Dinosaurs are not incompatible with the Biblical record. There are two simple explanations for dinosaurs and their disappearance. Reptiles grow as long as they are alive. Before the Genesis Flood, everything lived hundreds of years. Allowed to live that long, these ancient reptiles could easily have grown to great size. Why are they now gone? Either they weren’t included in the Ark with Noah, or they are still around, but are just smaller since they do not live as long!
? If you reject the Bible because it is silent about dinosaurs, do you also reject Shakespeare because it does not contain instructions on changing a flat tire?
Conclusion: Those who claim to reject Christ because of science are not rejecting Christ because of science. The science argument is almost always a smoke screen for a spiritual and/or a moral problem.
Q.2. Aren’t Christians self-righteous hypocrites?
(F) A hypocrite is a person who claims to be something he is not. To be a Christian you must understand and confess that you are a sinner. To be a Christian you must confess that you have no righteousness in yourself (self-righteousness). Christians are people who have received Christ’s righteousness, because they have none of their own. Therefore, Christians are the only people who are NOT hypocrites and are NOT self-righteous!
(F) Those who refuse to admit that they are sinners in need of Christ’s righteousness are the self-righteous hypocrites, since they are pretending to be sinless and are relying on their own self-righteousness.
? Those who hide behind the hypocrites often say, “At least I am honest about myself!” Since when did dishonesty about ourselves become the only sin that could send a person to hell?
(F) It is true that Christians (including Christian leaders) fall into sin. When they do, they are not being hypocritical or self-righteous. They are proving that they are not sinless. They are only proving that they need the righteousness of Christ. If a Christian does act self-righteously, he is not discrediting Christianity. He is discrediting himself as a Christian.
? If a soldier commits treason against his country, does he discredit his country, or himself?
Conclusion: This is a smoke screen, blaming others for one’s own spiritual and moral problems.
Q.3. Isn’t Christianity just a crutch for weak people?
(F) In one sense this is true.
? What is a crutch and who uses one? A crutch is help for the weak. A crutch is used by those who realize their weakness and want help. In this sense, Christianity certainly is a crutch. Our weakness is sin. Jesus is Help for those who realize their problem and want help. Christianity is a crutch for those who realize that they are not perfect. I know I am not perfect. Why do you refuse the crutch? Is it because you think you are perfect?
Conclusion: Do not be ashamed of the fact that Christianity is for those who realize their need.
Q.4. I am not a sinner. I am not that bad. I am better than most. I have no need.
(F) Many people say they are not sinners. God says all people are! All that is required to qualify as a sinner is to be less than perfect. Nearly everyone (except for the certifiably insane) admits they are not perfect.
(F) There are many others who believe they are sinners, but they do not think it matters. It does. God says that as sinners, as those who are not perfect, we will be judged, banished from heaven for eternity to experience the eternal wrath of God in hell.
? How much poison does it take to pollute a glass of water? How much sin does to take to make a person a sinner?
(F) I’m not as bad as others! True. And we are glad! But comparing ourselves with others isn’t the point. God doesn’t grade on a curve. He doesn’t compare us to each other and exclude only the worst 10%. He judges us against Himself as the standard. Since He is perfect in every way, we all fall short when compared to Him.
? Why is it that when people compare themselves with others, they only compare themselves with those who are worse? Why are people so sure they will go to heaven because they are better than the worst people? Why isn’t anybody worried that they will go to hell because they aren’t as good as the best people?
? Can a cancer patient who has a week to live claim to be healthy because he isn’t as bad off as the guy in the next bed who only has a couple of hours?
Conclusion: We need to measure ourselves not by other sinful people, but by Jesus Christ who is sinless.
Q.5. How do I know there is a God? I’m agnostic.
(F) God never seeks to prove His existence. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Whoever comes to God must believe that He is.” But the fact that God does not seek to prove His existence, does not mean there is no evidence. There is plenty of evidence. Four pieces of evidence that God exists follow. Number four is usually the most convincing.
(1) First Cause. Question: Is there anything that happens or exists without something causing it? Answer: NO. There is a cause for everything. So A is because B caused it. So what caused B? C. And what caused C? D. And so it goes until we reach what is called First Cause. First Cause is that cause that had no cause. Scientifically there is no such thing. Why? Because everything had to be caused. Philosophically there has to be a first cause. The First Cause cannot be caused by anything else, or that would be a prior cause and what we thought was First Cause was not first after all.
What is this First Cause? How do we know that the First Cause is God? Maybe the First Cause is a force or power. That is what the New Agers (including the Star Wars gang) believes. What do we know about the First Cause?
By looking at the world around us, there is order and design. From this we can deduce that the First Cause is intelligent. There is an Intelligent Creative Force, but how do I know it is God? You do not know it since God doesn’t seek to prove it. Rather, God gives evidence. Those who seriously study the evidence, including the Bible, will come to the conclusion that there is a God, and that He is the God of the Bible.
(2) Nature. The Bible says that the heavens (creation) declare the glory of God. This is abundantly clear to Christians. We look at a sunset, a majestic mountain range, the crashing of the sea, or at the starry heavens above and we know that Our Father lives. But what of the non-believer? Does creation speak to him? Only if he is willing to LISTEN — AND THINK!
(3) The Bible. Many have sought to destroy it. The Bible has sustained greater scrutiny than any other book — ever! Yet after the critics die, the Bible remains!
(4) Jesus Christ. No one ever has impacted this planet and the people on it like Jesus has. Jesus Christ and Christianity are unique. Jesus said, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” Those who have not taken a serious look at Jesus and Christianity have not looked at the evidence.
(F) Most people who claim to be agnostic do not know what an agnostic is. According to the dictionary, an agnostic is one who grants that God may exist, but does not believe that God can be known. Gnostic means to have knowledge. A means not. So an agnostic is one without knowledge. It is ironic that many who claim to be agnostics, make the claim so proudly.
? An agnostic is a person who is without knowledge. A person without knowledge can gain knowledge, if they want to learn. A person who has access to knowledge but refuses it is not without knowledge, he is without interest. Do you want to learn? If not, why would you want to remain ignorant when information is available?
Conclusion: People accuse Christians of blindly believing something. Not so. We have looked at the evidence. The people who refuse to believe have refused to look at the evidence. We have not blindly believed, they have blindly refused to look at the evidence. To the question, “How do I know there is a God?” — the answer is, “look at the evidence!”
Q.6. Isn’t the Bible full of contradictions and circular reasoning? Isn’t everyone entitled to have his own interpretation of the Bible?
(F) Where are the contradictions? Very few people who claim the Bible is full of contradictions have ever read the Bible or can point out any contradictions. Challenge those who accuse the Bible of being full of contradictions to prove it by showing you one.
There are things in the Bible that seem to be contradictory, but they all have reasonable explanations. If you offer to give a person an explanation and they do not want to hear it, they have revealed that their problem is NOT the alleged contradictions! That is just a smoke screen.
? In America we believe that a person is “presumed innocent until proven guilty.” Can you show me one of the places the Bible contradicts itself? If you make a charge, you need to have evidence to back it up. If the alleged contradictions can be cleared up, would you declare the Bible innocent of the charges? Would you then believe?
(F) There are things in the Bible that are difficult to understand.
? If I were to give you a textbook on quantum physics would you understand everything in it? You can understand far more of the Bible than the book on quantum physics. Why do you reject the Bible and not the science book? It is not because they do not understand. It is because they have a spiritual and/or moral problem.
? Do you completely understand the chemistry of digestion? Has that kept you from eating?
(F) How to explain those things that seem like contradictions:
It is not likely that you will ever have to because few if any will come up with any.
You must understand what constitutes a contradiction. The law of non-contradiction is a basic law of logic. It states that a thing cannot be both A and non-A at the same time. However it is not contradictory to say a thing is both A and B at the same time. Two statements may be different without being contradictory.
? If the Bible said (and it does not) that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and Nazareth at the same time, would this be a provable contradiction? Yes. But to say that He was from both, since He was born in one and raised in another is not a contradiction.
? Matthew tells of two blind men who came to Jesus in Jericho. Mark and Luke mention only one blind man. These statements are different, but they are not contradictory. Mark and Luke did not say ONLY ONE came!
? What about differences in numbers in the Bible? Example: 2 Samuel 23:8 says a fellow slew 800 men, whereas 1 Chronicles. 11:11 says he slew 300. There are a few places in the Bible where two writers record differing numbers concerning a particular incident. So what? Does the number change the point? These examples are very few, and more importantly, they do not do injury to the point of the story.
? A point of logic: A man is talking to a husband and wife. The husband tells the man about a trip to the beach they took one SATURDAY afternoon. The wife interrupts, insisting it was on a SUNDAY afternoon. They go back and forth about it, until they agree that whether it was Saturday or Sunday, it doesn’t matter. But because of the discrepancy, the man immediately comes to the conclusion that there was no trip to the beach! He further concludes that there is probably no such thing as the beach! In fact, he is unsure if the two people he is talking to ever existed — and even if they do, he will never believe anything else either of them ever say! What’s wrong with the man’s logic?
Conclusion: Those who hide behind the alleged contradictions are making excuses to cover up their moral and spiritual problem.
Q.7. What about innocent people who have never heard of Christ?
(F) What about the innocent people? There are none. To be innocent, one must be sinless — perfect. No one is perfect.
? Is anyone absolutely perfect? If the standard in heaven is absolute perfection, which it is, are there any people who are truly innocent?
(F) What about those who have never heard? For some this is a legitimate question that is born out of a fear for those who have not heard of Christ. For most, it is an attempt to charge God with being unfair, and in so doing, alleviate any sense of personal obligation to turn to Christ.
? If the super market was giving baskets of groceries away free, would you refuse the free groceries because there are many who haven’t heard about the grocery give-away? No. What would you do? You would grab your free groceries and rush to tell your family and friends to hurry up and get to the store for a basket of free groceries. The same applies to faith in Christ. Those who want God’s forgiveness will take it and hurry to tell their family and friends about Christ.
(F) We can assure people that God is loving and just and that He will deal with all men fairly. Rather than worrying about those who have not heard of Christ, encourage your friend that since he has heard, he is most certainly responsible.
Conclusion: The person who refuses is not refusing because of a deep heart-felt concern for others. The person who refuses God’s grace does so because he doesn’t think he needs it and so he doesn’t want it. What is his problem? The people who have never heard? No. His problem is spiritual and moral.
Q.8. Why is there evil in the world? How could a God of love allow suffering?
(F) This is perhaps the most common question of all. There are two answers: (1) God is not responsible for evil, man is. (2) God has done something about the evil in the world.
(F) (1) God created the world and said it was very good. Then man chose to disobey God’s only command, introducing sin and death into the world.
Conclusion: Man is responsible for evil, pain and suffering in the world — GOD IS NOT! Evil, pain and suffering are due to man’s choices, not God’s capricious decrees.
It’s ironic — those who say God should not allow evil, pain and suffering are the very people who would scream the loudest if God did not let them make whatever choices they pleased.
? People do many things that are contrary to God’s will. Why do they do these things? Because they want to. If the fact that what they do is opposed to God’s will does not deter them, would they like it if God forced them, against their will, to stop doing what they are doing? No.
? A man decides to do a foolish act that will cause him great bodily injury. He is warned by friends, but he chooses to do it anyway. He gets injured, and then blames his friends for not stopping him. Who is at fault?
(F) (2) That God is not responsible for evil will not satisfy some people who challenge God for not doing something about it. Those who insist on questioning further are challenging the character of God. They suppose God is either able to do something about the evil in the world, but does not love us enough to do so. Or, He loves us sufficiently, but is not able to do something.
? God loves us completely, He is able and He has done something about the evil, pain and suffering in the world. Jesus Christ came to earth and lived as a poor man, died a cruel, painful and disgraceful death that He did not deserve. He then rose from the dead, defeating sin and death for those who will believe in and follow Him. Is God at fault for the evil, pain and suffering even though He has warned us not to sin, and has even done something about sin?
Conclusion: The reason for evil, pain and suffering is human choice. If you want to escape it, don’t charge God with wrong. Make a choice today to receive His remedy for your sin.
Q.9. Don’t all roads lead to heaven? Aren’t all religions the same? If there is only one God, why so many religions?
(F) All religions could be wrong, but they cannot all be right. Why? Because they contradict each other in mutually exclusive ways.
? Ask why people reject the Bible because of alleged contradictions (which can be proven not to exist) and yet they believe in the universalism of all religions — which clearly contradict each other?
(F) Christians are often accused of being narrow-minded because we say only one road leads to heaven. Those who make this accusation are the narrow-minded ones. They believe there is only one destination! Christians acknowledge that there are two destinations. While we say there is only one way to heaven, we agree that there are many roads that lead to hell.
? Who is narrow minded, the person who believes there are many roads that all lead to the same place, or the person who acknowledges that there is more than one possible destination? Is there any other area of life that all choices have the same result?
(F) When it comes to the challenge concerning many religions, the first thing you must do is determine whether the person is talking about different religions or different denominations within Christianity.
(1) If the person is speaking about different denominations within Christianity (e.g., Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc.), assure the person that as long as a person embraces Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, they are Christians, no matter what Christian denomination they are in. You do not need to apologize for there being so many Christian denominations. In the same way that the various tribes of the nation of Israel had differences in customs and practices, but were still one people, so different denominations have different emphasis, but are Christian if they are in Christ. It is too bad that the differences between Christians have become such a stumbling block to non-believers. So, let us endeavor to be one in Christ, while enjoying our differences on lesser issues.
? God allows many denominations for the same reason Baskin Robbins has 31 flavors! Ask the person if they have sworn off food because there are so many different kinds of restaurants, or clothing because there are so many different styles.
(2) If the person is speaking about different religions (e.g., Christian, Islam, Buddhism, and all the various cults), the objection is based on an incorrect belief that all religions teach things that are compatible and are worshiping the same God, only in different ways. This is not true. All religions (including Christianity) could be wrong, but they cannot all be right. Why? Because they contradict one another.
(F) Christianity is unique. The claims of Jesus Christ are unique and exclusive. He claims to be God and the only way to God (John 14:6). If His claim is false, He is the most dangerous man ever to have lived, since He has deceived more people than any other. But if His claim is true, He must be worshiped.
? Ask the person if he knows the unique claims of Christ. Challenge the person to check them out honestly — after all, if Jesus is wrong, they have nothing to lose by checking it out. But if Jesus is right, they have everything to gain and had better find out!
Conclusion: People do not realize that Christianity is not compatible with other religions. Help them see this. If they reject it, at least they know what they are rejecting.
Q.10. Why Jesus? Isn’t my sincerity and goodness enough? Isn’t it arrogant for Christians to think they have the only way?
(F) Sincerity about error is still error.
? In what other area of life does sincerity override error? If I sincerely believe I have medicine that will save a sick man’s life, but it is actually poison, will my sincerity reverse the effects of the poison, making it a life-giving medicine?
? If a person plays with a loaded gun, sincerely believing it is not loaded, will his sincerity protect him if he puts the gun to his head and pulls the trigger? If God is real and has said there is one correct way to reach Him, how will sincerity help me if I choose the wrong way?
(F) Christians are not arrogant for saying Jesus is the only way. Christians did not initiate the idea. Jesus did. We do not say Jesus is the only way because we believe in Him. We believe in Him because He said He is the only way. Do you see the difference? There is no arrogance involved.
? As a person who breathes air, if I claim that all people need air to breathe, am I being arrogant? No. Why? Because people do need air to breathe. Is air necessary because I breathe it, or do I breathe it and declare it to be necessary because it is necessary?
(F) Why Jesus? Human beings were created in God’s image, and enjoyed a perfect relationship with God. However, human beings disobeyed God, destroying that relationship. They did this despite the fact that God warned them of the dire consequences beforehand. God warned man that disobedience meant death, followed by God’s eternal wrath. There is nothing any man can do to reverse the effects and deliver himself (much less the rest of humanity) from God’s wrath.
God did not want to leave us in this hopeless situation, so He made the way back. That way is Jesus. He is the only way for a very simple reason. To pay the penalty man deserves for his sin, someone has to die. But since all men deserve to die, no mere man could die for anyone else, since his death would be what he deserved anyway. The only One able and worthy to die for the sins of humans is God. But God cannot pay, since it is man who owes the debt. If God were to pay, there would be no satisfaction. It takes the power and worthiness of God to pay the price, but it has to be done by a man.
Why Jesus? Because Jesus is the only One who is God and man. He is worthy because He is God. He is qualified because He is a man. He is the only One who ever was, is, or will be, both God and man.
? Can a man convicted of murder be executed to pay the penalty for another man convicted of murder? No. Why? Because his execution was what he deserved. Why could a man who was not a murderer give his life for one who was a murderer? Because he was innocent. The same is true of Jesus, who is guilty of no sin — ever.
(F) What makes Jesus’ life worthy? We understand the concept of one life being more significant than another. Why Jesus? His death is the most significant death because His life had more worth, more dignity than any other has had, has, or ever will have.
Why Jesus? Not only was His death more significant than any other death — He rose from the dead! In fact, He raised Himself from the dead. Who else has, or has even claimed to do such a thing? His resurrection is backed by so much evidence that for two thousand years people from all walks of life have not only believed it, but have committed their lives to following Jesus.
? Some people are old enough remember the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. How many remember the name of the man who was killed on the same day by the same assassin who killed Kennedy? His name was Tippet. Why did they change the name of Cape Canaveral to Cape Kennedy? Why didn’t they name the place after Tippet? Because we regard the attack on the life of Kennedy far more serious than the attack on Tippet. Is there anything intrinsically more important about Kennedy’s life than of Tippet’s? No. But we understand a difference based on dignity. So much so that we don’t even call it murder, we give it a special name — assassination. As worthy as that man’s life was, as much honor as we have bestowed upon him by naming things after him, it has been less than 40 years since Kennedy was killed, and to most, it is only an event in history. It has been nearly two thousand years since Jesus was killed. People all over the world bow their heads on Good Friday in remembrance of the death of Jesus Christ. Even those who are not Christians recognize this day. Groups of people at various times and in various places around the globe gather together to celebrate communion “in remembrance of Jesus.”
Conclusion: Why Jesus? Invite the skeptic who dares ask, “Why Jesus?’ to answer this question: “Considering who Jesus is, why haven’t you bowed before Him yet?
Q.11. I do not understand everything. It is too complex for me.
(F) People do not have to understand everything to come to Christ. That does not mean faith in Christ is without reason.
? How many of us understand how the same dirt, water and sunshine make an orange sweet, a lemon sour and a persimmon bitter? Does that force you to refuse to eat fruit?
(F) There are many things concerning the Lord that we can understand — but we do not need to understand them before coming to Christ. Until a person receives Christ, he will not understand spiritual things. If a person waits to receive Christ until he understands it all, he will never receive Christ. Once a person receives Christ, he will begin to understand. The Bible teaches this in 1 Corinthians 2:14, “The natural man does not receive the things of the spirit, nor can he know them for they are spiritually discerned.” The way to get the spiritual discernment so that you can understand spiritual things is to receive Christ.
(F) There are things about the Lord that we will never understand as long as we live in this world. In Isaiah 55:8-9 God says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts and My ways are not your ways, says the Lord, for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Romans 11:33 “O the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His way past finding out!”
? All science begins with “not knowing.” Experimentation and observation reveals facts that information so that a matter can become known. Should science be abandoned because we do not know everything?
? There is more about evolution that is not understood than there is that is understood. Why do people believe in evolution when there is so little known about it?
? Think of a game. Many games have countless intricacies and details that the novice doesn’t understand. If a person waits to be a grand master in Chess before playing, when will he begin? If a person refuses to try his hand at martial arts until he is a black belt, when will he get started? The Bible calls on us to GROW in grace and in the KNOWLEDGE of Christ. We come to Him with childlike faith and understanding, and then grow.
Conclusion: What does a person need to understand before coming to faith in Christ? We all have a serious spiritual problem. Jesus Christ died and rose again to be the solution to our problem. For the solution to be effective, each person must ask Jesus Christ to come into his life and then follow Him.
Q.12. I’m too big a sinner. You don’t know where I’ve been / what I’ve done, I could never be a Christian.
(F) This objection usually comes from one of two kinds of people. Scoffers may say this as a boast of their sin. Seekers may say this because they are legitimately troubled about sin and fear that God would never accept them.
(F) If the person is a scoffer, tell him that he shouldn’t try to flatter himself. Though he might be quite a sinner, his sins are no match for God’s grace. For a person to say that he has the ability to sin more than God has the ability to forgive is tantamount to saying that he is greater than God.
(F) If the person is a seeker, assure him that God’s grace is sufficient for even his sin — no matter what it may be.
? If God is all loving, and He is infinite, does it seem logical that a finite being could be a bigger sinner than God is a lover?
? Would you agree that the Apostle Paul was Christian? Yet, he was formerly a murderer of Christians. Paul said he was the chief of sinners — yet Jesus saved Him. The good news is that Jesus came to save sinners.
(F) Jesus said that in the same way that a physician comes to heal the sick (not the healthy) He came to forgive those who realize their sin problem, not those who do not.
? I don’t know if you have ever been sick and someone offered to come clean up your house. Some people are so concerned about how dirty their house is that they clean it up before the help arrives! Jesus didn’t offer to forgive our sins as a nice gesture, expecting us to clean ourselves up before He arrives. He died and rose again to forgive our sins because we were totally helpless to do anything to clean ourselves up. (Romans 5:6 “When we were still without strength Christ died for us.”) What is the point of trying to clean up your home before the house cleaner arrives?
Conclusion: Focus on the greatness of God. God’s love and ability to forgive is greater than anyone’s ability to sin. The only sin that is unforgivable is rejection of God’s provision for forgiveness, available exclusively in Christ Jesus.
Q.13. What must I do to be saved?
(F) This question is seldom asked in these words. People who are asking this question will usually ask it in other words, or without words at all. That is why you must be sensitive if you are going to hear this question. How do people ask this question? Two ways:
(1) Silence. They stop objecting. Silence may indicate a lack of interest. But it may also be an indicator that they have run out of objections and are ready to receive Christ.
(2) Agreement. They start to agree with what you are saying about the Lord.
(F) What to do when you sense that a person may be ready: Invite the person to commit his life to following Jesus Christ. There are many Christians who do share their faith in Christ, but who still have never led anyone to the Lord. Here is the probable reason: They haven’t asked.
You are on a camping trip. You are planning to fish and to catch your dinner. So you tie your fishing line around a worm and throw it into the water. What are you going to have for dinner? Who knows, but it isn’t going to be fish! Tying fishing line around worms and throwing your line into the water is not fishing. It is feeding fish. You are not fishing unless you use a hook. If the hook is missing, you will not catch fish.
Jesus called some fishermen to be His disciples. He said, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” What is the hook when fishing for men? You have to ask people if they would like to receive Christ. Ask this question often. You will catch fish! You do not even have to wait until you have finished your presentation of the gospel. Ask at any old time. After all, God may have them ready before you are done with your presentation! (This means you do not have to wait until you think they are asking “What must I do?”)
? Imagine you ingested a lethal dose of poison. You are going to die. But you hear about an antidote. If you take the antidote, you will live. Someone even provides you with the antidote. So you hold the vial containing the antidote in your hand, relieved that there is an antidote and that you know about it. What happens if you do not open the vial and take the antidote? You die. Knowing about Jesus is not enough. The way to receive Him is by asking Him to forgive you of your sins and to commit your life to following Him. So, what do you think about committing your life to following Jesus Christ? Can you think of any reason not to commit your life to following Jesus Christ?
(F) Why don’t we ask this simple question? Two reasons:
(1) We don’t have faith that God would actually use us to lead someone to Christ. Good news: He will. Ask! For some reason we do not believe that anyone would actually want to receive Christ. Of course no one wants Christ — neither did you! But the Holy Spirit put it in you to receive Christ, didn’t He? Has He retired since you were saved? Have faith! God will save people if you and I will ask people if they would like to receive Christ.
(2) We are afraid they will say, “ no.” Of course some will say no. Maybe even most will say no. But keep asking and some will say yes!
Our fear that people will say no is a self-conscious fear. We are fearful that they will say no and we will be embarrassed. Do this:
(a) Ask people if they want to receive Christ;
(b) If they say no, do not be surprised, many will say no;
(c) If they say no, do not take it personally. You didn’t ask them to receive you, did you?
(d) If they say no, say something like this, “I appreciate your honesty. I hope you will want to receive Christ someday.” Then say, “If you do not mind me asking, why do you not want to receive Christ?” By asking this, you keep the conversation alive and you may find out that they said no because they are not exactly sure what you are asking them to do. This may allow you to explain something in more detail that will help the person decide that they do want to follow Christ.
(F) What if the person says yes?
(1) Make sure they know what you are talking about. This is where tracts can come in handy. Use a tract that not only tells the gospel, but illustrates it as well. Read it out loud, asking the person if they understand along the way. When you get to the conclusion ask them if they want to receive Christ. Do not worry that your questions will put them off and that they will be lost. This is where theology is important. God will save His people. You can be sure of that. While you do not want to put people off, be sure they really understand and mean it.
(2) Invite the person to pray to receive Christ. You may lead the person to follow you in a simple prayer, or you may tell the person to pray a simple prayer in his own words. The prayer should contain three ingredients:
(a) Confess sin
(b) Ask for forgiveness in Christ acknowledging Him as the only way to salvation
(c) Ask Christ to come into your life and enable you to follow Jesus Christ as Lord.
Do Not Worry About Being An Expert
Prepare yourself to give an answer to those who ask about your faith in Christ. Do not be afraid because you do not have all the answers. Learn all you can so that you may be able to give answers to those who ask. Relax. Be yourself. Tell what you know like the blind man Jesus healed in the ninth chapter of John. Trust God for the rest.