If my descendants wonder about what their “great-great-grandmother” was like—they may not believe such a person even existed in the twenty-first century! After all, they can’t see me, touch me, or experience me with any of their five senses.
But I have a plan. I am leaving evidence of my existence.
I’m leaving written communication for my descendants through journals I’ve kept since I was a teen. I’m leaving behind stacks of articles and other published materials that I hope they’ll read. Although they won’t be able to physically see me, they will have written evidence that tells some of my story. They’ll know something about someone they’ve never met, my desires, my prayers for them, my thoughts, just by reading the written word I’ll leave behind.
You may know people who argue against the existence of God because He can’t be experienced with the five senses. They need to be pointed to the evidence that supports His reality. If you desire to be effective in evangelism (sharing the gospel), it is helpful to use apologetics as a tool in reaching the lost.
Apologetics is simply a reasonable defense of the gospel.
A blog post can’t cover all this approach involves, so I’m just throwing out a few thoughts and some good resources to use when sharing the gospel:
1) Careful Listening
While in conversation, be sure to listen for trigger points and open doors to steer the conversation toward spiritual matters. Listening to the real-life struggles and issues of any individual gives multiple opportunities to express compassion, show genuine interest, and gain more understanding of the individual.
2) Good Questions
Sincere questions laid out in a friendly, non-confrontational manner can widen and deepen a discussion. Never take an argumentative approach with apologetics or you threaten your credibility as a representative of Christ. Some questions I like to use:
- Do you ever think about why you’re here?
- When you see things like the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, or a star-filled sky, do you ever wonder about the existence of a Creator?
- How do you grapple with personal loss and difficulties?
- What is your view of God?
3) Self Revelation
Romans is the premier book to study for gaining an understanding of the gospel in order to effectively present a biblical worldview. In chapter one, we find some tactics to use in defending our faith.
Romans 1:19 tells us that God has revealed Himself to mankind:
“That which is known about God is evident within them [mankind]; for God made it evident to them.”
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse; For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God . . .” (Romans 1:20-21).
- Divine Longing
God has revealed Himself through placing within man a “sense of divinity;” knowledge (which some repress) that there is “something more” and an inner longing and dissatisfaction which was so beautifully articulated by Augustine:
“You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
A painting reveals the artist’s characteristics, genius, style, and definitely his reality. In the same way, God reveals His intelligence, creativity, love of beauty, and intricate design through nature. God is not “in nature” (where Christians differ with pantheistic worldviews)—but God is reflected through nature (Psalms chapters 8 and 19).
- The Inner Moral Compass
God has left an imprint of Himself on man’s conscience, causing us to instinctively recognize standards of morality: justice, truth, right and wrong. Even a child understands injustice. There is an innate understanding of what should or should not be done.
God has given us the wonderful gift of language in order to communicate with one another, but more importantly as a way for Him to communicate with us. He has left us with written evidence to communicate His existence! He has given historical evidence of His working in and through people. It’s recorded in Scripture and often verified through historical accounts and archeology.
And most especially–God has communicated His reality through the life of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1–4). We have credible historical evidence of His life and resurrection.
Below are several excellent resources to help you in developing a reasonable defense of Christianity. These can prepare you for evangelistic opportunities. I also pass these along to skeptics who are willing to investigate Christianity.
- More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell
- The Case for Christ
- The Case for Faith
- The Case for a Creator (all by Lee Strobel)
- Intellectuals Don’t Need God & Other Modern Myths: Building Bridges to Faith Through Apologetics by Allister E. McGrath
- The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Tim Keller
Whew! I’ve given you a lot to chew on today, but I hope you’ll take advantage of some of the resources I’ve suggested and commit to honing your evangelism skills by learning how to present reasonable evidence for your faith.
What are some approaches, resources, or questions you like to use?