2002-02-18 - A Question
Isaiah 53:12 Because He poured out Himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors.
I realized a while ago that I don't have any non-Christian friends. As I thought about it I looked at the life of Christ and noticed that He constantly hung out with those who were not like Him. He was spreading His message of forgiveness and hope (don't take that as neo-Orthodoxy, for you budding theologians---I'm not). However, if I am to be like Christ, I thought, how come I have this fortress mentality that says I only hang with people like me. That is not what Christ did. So I have been making efforts to make non-Christian friends and to simply bring up my faith as a process of lifestyle evangelism.
Then this question comes my way via a devotional member and I thought, "This is exactly what I am being asked when I meet non-Christians." So I thought I would try to answer the question because I bet that many of you who interact with those who don't believe as you do get asked the same kind of question. Here it is:
"His question: How do we know that Christianity is the ONLY way to salvation? How do we know the Bible is God's only word? (If you try to use the Bible, he will state that every religion can use it's own writings to back up its beliefs)"
Much of this is taken on faith. That really is the starting point, but even
before that there are several points of contact that we have with the
How to get through this in a few short words is beyond me.
The first thing I remember when I interact with anyone is that they know that the God of the universe exists (Romans 1:20,21). I don't have to tell them that I know this, in fact, it is to my advantage to simply know what they don't think they already know. Eventually in the conversation God will come up and most people will agree that there must be a God. If not, well, there is a whole new approach, but let's assume that someone will agree that God exists. As soon as this is done the battle is over. It is just a matter of time.
"So if this God exists, as we both agree, don't you think He would reveal Himself to us, His Creation," I say. "Sure," is the general response. "So how would He reveal Himself? He could do it lots of ways, but don't you think a letter from Him to us, for example, the Bible, might be a wise way to reveal Himself to us?" "Sure, but why the Bible and why not some other book?" "Well, I understand what you are saying, there are lots of scriptures out there, but the Bible is interesting. It claims to be alone the only revelation from God. The Koran, Bhagwatgeeta, book of mormon and others do not make this exclusive claim. That might seem like a small matter, but it sets the Bible apart from every other book of scriptures and establishes it as the Scripture." It is God's Word.
In the Bible, Christ makes the same claims, exclusiveness. If you follow Him, trust Him, rest in Him, and believe in His work of atonement for the forgiveness of your sin, you are saved. If you do not do the above, you are in a world of hurt. The claims that the Christian holds to are radical, because no other religion claims to be so exclusive and yet in Christ there is a gospel that is for "whosoever." Christians, therefore, are also the most inclusive. Here is where we can begin to present Christ to those we come in contact with. Really, the more you do it the more natural it becomes. But as Christians we come to any conversation about God with an advantage. We know He exists, and that those we are talking to also know He exists. So we are ahead of the game from the start.
To share Christ with others you must have a basic working knowledge of the Bible. That is the first place to start. If you don't, someone is going to say, "What about all the contradictions in the Bible?" and you will reply, "huh?" You have to know your Bible and some basics of the Christian faith to be able to say with courage, "What contradictions, name some?" And most will simply shut up, but some might have some they think are real contradictions, and then you either can handle them or you say to the person, "I don't know the answer to that right now, but I am going to find out." And then you search out the question and get back to them. This is why building a relationship with people is so key. Evangelism is not simply hit and run.
I know I have not answered the question exactly and have taken it in a different direction but I think the basics of the question are somewhat covered here. We are ambassadors for Christ, and as ambassadors, we ought to know our business.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God 2 Corinthians 5:20.
Soli Deo Gloria,