On Monday I observed how many of us are concerned about our shrinking religious freedom even though we seldom exercise this freedom by sharing the gospel on a regular basis. I listed ten obstacles we must overcome if we hope to be better Christian Case Makers. In this blog post, I’ll expand on this list and provide a free Bible Insert to help you overcome these common impediments to the Gospel:
We mistakenly think our beliefs about Christianity are entirely subjective
Some of us hesitate to share the Gospel because (whether we care to admit it or not) we’ve come to see religious truth as a matter of subjective opinion rather than objective truth. We treat the Gospel more as a cookie than a cure.
We think we have to be a theologian or apologist to share effectively
As Christian Case Makers, we don’t have to become experts. We simply need to know how to resource the experts when someone on our jury asks a question. We need to have access to the book, the article, the website, the podcast or the video that will help us remember the details and help each other make a decision.
We aren’t sure who we should share with
If we aren’t careful to assemble the right jury, our efforts to articulate and argue the case will be meaningless. I’ve often said the best jurors are simply smart and interested citizens who are humble enough not to presume they know the answer before they hear the question, and it’s important to understand these characteristics of good jurors if we hope to have an impact as Christian Case Makers.
We are simply afraid to take the first step
Even after hours of training, people are still anxious about engaging people with the Gospel. It turns out the fear most of us have with evangelism is simply taking the first step of starting a conversation. Our fear typically turns to joy (and even courage) once we get the conversation started.
We think we have to know someone well before we can share the truth
The reason “friendship evangelism” is statistically dominant is simply because we, as Christians, are so uncomfortable sharing our faith with strangers. We have created this statistical reality. But does it have to be this way, and more importantly, is this approach consistent with what the New Testament teaches?
We’re not sure how to engage people (especially people we don’t know well)
Walk up to the person you want to engage and ask the question: “What do you think happens when you die?” This question can take a variety of forms (like, “Do you believe in life after death?” or, “What do you think about the afterlife?”), and it invariably leads to deeper conversations about the meaning of life, the existence of God and plight of humans.
We’re afraid of feeling uncomfortable at any point in the process
What are you afraid of? What’s keeping you from sharing the Gospel with the people in your life, even the strangers who you meet every day? It might just be that (like me) you’re often more concerned with your own comfort than you are with the cause of Christ.
We hold pessimistically low expectations of being successful
Our expectations are a matter of choice, and our choices have consequences. As I examined my own low expectations, my true nature was exposed. Why wasn’t I sharing what I believed? Because I was lazy and tired of rejection. Why wasn’t I reflecting the nature of Christ? Because I’d come to see my behavior as a way to reach the lost rather than as a reflection of a truly changed life. Why didn’t I trust God for my expectations in the first place? Because I was slipping back into my old self-reliant denial of God’s power.
We have been conditioned to speak a Christian language foreign to the secular culture
I understand the importance of our theologically rich Christian language, and as a Christian I often use similar words when talking with Christians. But when I’m talking with unbelievers, I try to think about how I used to hear and interpret these words before I became a Christian. I take the time to translate important Christian concepts for those who might be willing to entertain the ideas if only I was willing to speak their language.
We think our success as evangelists is entirely dependent on our individual effort
It’s not all on me. I don’t have to win the game by myself. Evangelism and Christian Case Making is often just like baseball. Remember your place in the line-up. Drive in a run if you can, or just get on base for the next player at bat. Remember you’re not alone. If each of us can get a single, we’ll eventually succeed as a team.
I hope this brief list helps you become a better Christian Case Maker. Be sure to visit the links in each heading to read the extended articles if you have a question, and download the Free Bible Insert from the homepage at ColdCaseChristianity.com.
For more information about the nature of Biblical faith and a strategy for communicating the truth of Christianity, please read Forensic Faith: A Homicide Detective Makes the Case for a More Reasonable, Evidential Christian Faith. This book teaches readers four reasonable, evidential characteristics of Christianity and provides a strategy for sharing Christianity with others. The book is accompanied by an eight-session Forensic Faith DVD Set (and Participant’s Guide) to help individuals or small groups examine the evidence and make the case.
J. Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured Cold-Case Detective, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Adj. Professor of Christian Apologetics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, author of Cold-Case Christianity, God’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith, and creator of the Case Makers Academy for kids.
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