How can you be so narrow-minded and intolerant to insist that Jesus is the only way to God?
How do you know there is a God?
How can you believe in “miracles” in a world in which science has explained everything?
How can you believe in a “good” God when there is so much evil and suffering in the world?
What about people who never hear about Jesus? Will God judge them?
Why should I accept what the Bible has to say?
What about other religions?
As we communicate the gospel we frequently encounter questions that challenge the validity of our message. Some arise in sincerity from people who are honestly grappling with the implications of our message. A Hindu student wrestles with our message for his deceased grandparents who never heard about Christ. A student still grieving the loss of her mother to cancer has a hard time believing that God is good and that he cares about her.
On the other hand, other questions arise as a smoke-screen to divert the conversation. A student who is uncomfortable with the implications of the gospel message may say, “But what about people who have never heard?” as a way of diverting attention away from his own need for Christ.
This reality, of course, complicates our situation. In addition to responding to the actual content question we must also attempt to address the issues underlying the question. We must consider not only what someone asks us but also why they ask it. All of this can leave us feeling ill-equipped and discouraged at times. How are we to proceed?
THREE IMPORTANT PERSPECTIVES
Before we discuss an important skill that can help us in answering these questions there are several important perspectives to keep in mind.
First, we must never forget that God can and will use us regardless of what we know. This is not an excuse for not doing our homework but it is a theological perspective we need to keep in view.
Second, there is nothing wrong with saying, “You know, that is a great question. I’ve never thought about that before. Can I think about that and get back to you?”
Most people find that kind of sincerity refreshing. Sometimes we can feel like we need to know the answers to all the big questions before we ever attempt to share our faith. That simply is not true. Learning to answer objections effectively is a process in which we all continue to grow. We never arrive.
Finally, we must remember that we are not merely responding to a position but attempting to persuade a person. Winning an argument can never be our goal. Our goal is to lead people toward faith in Christ.
This means that how we conduct ourselves is just as important as what we say.
We are wise to follow Paul’s advice to Timothy, “and the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”
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