What are you basing your evangelism on?—feeling, emotion…or Truth?

What are you basing your evangelism onCritical thinking skills are essential to living the Christian life. With information bombarding us from all sides— friends, teachers, internet, television, radio, books, newspapers, etc., we need to be able to not only see ‘with the eye,’ but through the eye, using the lens/spectacles of our Christian worldview, so we are not “tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine.” As Nancy Pearcy observes, “Learning critical thinking is important not only for speaking to people outside the church but also for educating people on the inside. They often absorb ideas from the cultural atmosphere and thus need help liberating their minds from secular assumptions.”[1] But thinking “critically” is not enough. As Christians we must seek to think biblically; that is, we must be “renewed in our minds” (Romans 12:2) by the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16). Only then will we be able to test and approve what God’s will is for our lives (Romans 12:3). As Christians we recognize that all the treasures of true wisdom and knowledge are found in Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:3; cf. 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16). It is through bringing “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5) that we can avoid fine-sounding, but deceptive arguments (Colossians 2:3). After all, we are called to love God with all of our mind (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37). So, “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; emphasis added).

As Christians, and especially those who have embraced the ministry of Christian apologetics, it is the truth that we are commissioned to bring people to believe and understand. As Pilate asked Jesus, “what is truth?”, so it is asked by those that we meet in the course of our daily life. It is our calling to bring them to the ‘way, the truth and the life.’ (John 14:6)  However, we will only be equipped to do so if we ourselves are thinking critically about the ideas, ideologies and philosophies that we as Christians encounter in the course of our lives. As Christians, we are to follow the example of the Christians at Berea. They were of “more noble character” because “they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11).

If we are to “take every thought captive” we must learn to think critically about the ideas and worldviews we encounter on a daily basis, examining them through the lens of our Christian worldview. We must then equip ourselves to present the Christian faith as both rational and intellectually engaging. As J. P. Moreland states, “Today we share the Gospel primarily as a means of addressing felt needs. We give testimonies of changed lives and say to people if they want to become better parents or overcome depression or loneliness, then Christ is the answer for them. As true as this may be, such an approach to evangelism is inadequate for two reasons.  First, it does not reach people who may be out of touch with their feelings.  Consequently, if men in our culture are in general less in touch with their feelings than women, this approach will not reach men effectively.  Second, it invites the response, “Sorry, but I don’t have a need.”  Have you ever wondered why no one responded to the Apostle Paul in this manner?  If you look at his evangelistic approach in Acts 17-20 the answer becomes obvious. He based his preaching on the fact that the Gospel is true and reasonable to believe. He reasoned with and tried to persuade people intelligently to accept Christ.  Now if the Gospel is true and reasonable to believe, then it is obvious that every person has a need for Christ’s forgiveness and power, whether or not that person “feels” that need.” [2]

[1] Pearcey, Nancy, Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes, 2015, (p. 52)
[2] Moreland, J. P., Love Your God with All Your Mind, 2012, pg. 24-25

Leave a Reply


captcha *