Engaging the Closed Mind (Presenting Your Faith to the Confirmed Unbeliever)

by Glen H. Jones

How can I possibly approach a confirmed unbeliever with the gospel? Am I wise enough to meet a confirmed atheist or agnostic? Don Story answers with a resounding "yes." When one approaches witnessing he may find it helpful to identify four types of unbelievers: 1) one person believes in the God of the Bible but feels ignorant or unworthy of salvation, 2) another worships non-Christian gods and trusts this for salvation, 3) a third does not believe in God at all (or considers Him unknowable), and 4) someone who believes in the God of the Bible but considers himself/herself good enough to merit salvation.

When we share our faith, we need to decide if we are to approach the unbeliever with moral law, the gospel, or apologetics. The person who believes in God does not need law or apologetics. This person needs a presentation of the gospel. The person who believes in God, but considers himself/herself good enough for salvation needs to be approached with moral law. Has this person kept all the commands of God? The Bible states that all of us are sinners. Has this person made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ?

The person who rejects Christianity may need to be approached with apologetics. Chapter 2 of this book gives "The Ten Commandments of Apologetics," which will keep our witnessing on target. These ten commandments are: 1) use the gospel first, apologetics second, 2) stay with the essentials of biblical truth, 3) the goal of apologetics is to overcome objections so that one may consider the gospel message, 4) don't raise issues the unbeliever has not mentioned, 5) is the real problem confirmed unbelief or some other peripheral issue? 6) avoid distractions such as the unbeliever's lifestyle, 7) seek to win people where they are, 8) know what you believe, 9) know what unbelievers believe, and 10) keep the right attitude.

Chapters 3 to 7 present apologetic techniques in presenting the gospel to a wide variety of unbelievers. Don Story emphasizes that a witness needs to listen carefully to the unbeliever. The witness needs to ask questions that lead the unbeliever to see the weaknesses of his position (Socratic method). A witness should avoid making statements that "turn off" the unbeliever. Our goal is to lead people to Christ, not to win arguments. Above all, we must realize that it is the Holy Spirit that brings unbelievers to Christ.

Target: All

Type:   Personal Evangelism

Take:     Highly Recommended

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