Evangelism, Apologetics, and the Sovereignty of God
As Christ’s witnesses in this world we must remember that worldview-shifts normally don’t occur overnight. In fact, they almost never do. Some more common ways people adopt a new worldview are:
- Through a series of small changes in their thought which, in time, lead to substantial restructuring of how they view the world.
- By persuasion through the lives of those in the worldview community that the person is ”converting” to.
- The example of godly living coupled with a godly apologetic/witness.
Each of these points is crucial. The first reminders us not to fret or worry when we do not see instant results. We speak to people, after all, not machines. Though we hold to, and defend, our faith as an organic whole (where each belief affects and is affected by every other belief) in real-life discussions we can only speak of one thing at a time. A proper understanding of the faith, along with counting the cost of discipleship (Lk.14:26-29) takes time. And It is time well spent. God may be leading that person to himself.
The second and third points place a great responsibility upon the Christian evangelist. We aren’t simply disembodied, mental beings. We are gloriously embodied creatures. Our bodies matter. How we dwell with other Christians matters. They need to see how we love one another. They need to see and experience for themselves they we, like the Master, come not to be served, but to serve (cf. Mk. 10:45). Also, the manner with which we speak to unbelievers conveys a lot. The church is Christ’s body on this earth. Do we reflect His character? Non-Christians aren’t naive. They notice insincerity and pride. We convey with our words and actions this is what God is like.
Let’s not give false testimony .
Here are some helpful resources on evangelism.
- Evangelism: Doing Justice and Preaching Grace – Harvie Conn
- Heart of Evangelism – Jerram Barrs
- Learning Evangelism from Jesus– Jerram Barrs
- When God Goes to Starbucks: A Guide to Everyday Apologetics– Paul Copan
In terms of working toward a systematic approach to large-scale evangelism and urban outreach, I can’t think of a better book than Tim Keller’s Center Church: