J. Warner Wallace: 10 reasons why you hesitate to share your faith

Want to be brave? Then talk about things you know
Want to be brave? Then talk about things you know

He has links to 10 articles in his post.

Here are the titles:

  1. We mistakenly think our beliefs about Christianity are entirely subjective
  2. We think we have to be a theologian or apologist to share effectively
  3. We aren’t sure who we should share with
  4. We are simply afraid to take the first step
  5. We think we have to know someone well before we can share the truth
  6. We’re not sure how to engage people (especially people we don’t know well)
  7. We’re afraid of feeling uncomfortable at any point in the process
  8. We hold pessimistically low expectations of being successful
  9. We have been conditioned to speak a Christian language foreign to the secular culture
  10. We think our success as evangelists is entirely dependent on our individual effort

Number 1 is the most important to me, but the one that I am seeing the most in church is number 7.

The biggest problem I am seeing is that people think that Christianity should make them feel good, and that it should make other people like them. Even if we are doing spiritual things, the overall goal is for us to feel good and be liked as we do them. Well… people are reacting very angrily to Christianity these days, so normal Christianity is not going to make you feel good or be liked by others. The animosity to Christianity is primarily for one reason – our moral rules on sexuality. A lot of people are not interested in hearing about the truth claims of Christian theism, e.g. – Jesus is God stepping into history, since they are already blocked off from Christianity because of their commitment to engaging in sexual activity.

Wallace’s solution is for us to get used to the fact that Christianity is not supposed to make us happy, or make people like us:

So my first goal in training yesterday was to simply help these young men and women get comfortable with discomfort by taking their eyes off themselves and placing them firmly on God. I tried to remind them that character is more important than comfort. It’s easy to get caught up in thinking that our worldly image is more important than our heavenly mission. As Christians, we ought to know better:

1 John 2:15-17
Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

James 4:4
You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Sometimes our fears expose what’s really important to us, so they’re a good place to assess and address our priorities. 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. It’s easy to worry more about the world we see than the Kingdom that matters. But we can change all that. We can conquer our fears by simply changing our focus.

Yes, Christianity is not meant to be fun. If you are asking yourself how to merge Christianity with your desire to be happy and to feel good, you’re doing Christianity wrong.

My solution to the problem of feeling uncomfortable when talking about Christianity to non-Christians is to talk about science. Specifically, to talk about mainstream scientific discoveries around cosmology, biology, paleontology, embryology, and so on. No one is going to get mad at you for that – not even at work. The best way to be able to get to Christian specifics, especially the resurrection, is to first establish the existence of a supernatural Creator and Designer from mainstream scientific evidence. Then we can talk about whether history shows us that miracles have occurred, e.g. – that Jesus rose from the dead. Before you can have miracles, you need God right? Otherwise, who is there to do the miracles? So, start with the easy stuff first – science. People feel more comfortable talking about science because the findings of science are universally accessible to all religions, and even to no religion at all.

The secret to talking about God with strangers is not to talk about things that are private and subjective. Don’t start with your subjective Christianese testimony – that just makes them uncomfortable. As uncomfortable as you would be if a witch doctor or voodoo priest started telling you their testimony with all their weird spiritual language. So don’t do that. Talk about pure science using pure scientific language, until you defeat the presumption of naturalism. When the naturalism is dead, turn your attention to the historical claims of Christianity. When the historical claims are defended, then turn to defending Christian theism from philosophical arguments like the problem of evil, the hiddenness of God, and so on. Start from the things that even non-religious people accept, and they will discuss them with you easily. Don’t annoy them with Christian theology and your religious experiences. That just makes them uncomfortable, because they can’t see how any of what you are saying is connected to reality. It’s like you are trying to get them to take your make-believe seriously – they don’t know what to say back without offending you.

The only downside to this approach (which works, trust me) is that you have to study first. Which is probably why some Christians don’t want to do it.

But, I have books to help you. Wallace actually has a new book out where he goes over the scientific arguments for a Creator and Designer. It’s actually on sale (pre-order) on ChristianBook.com right now. If you want to read something easy and good right now, get yourself a copy of Lee Strobel’s “The Case for a Creator”. You should also get the 3-DVD pack on intelligent design from Amazon.com if you want to watch something instead of reading.

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