Let’s be honest. When someone mentions evangelism, we start to get a little nervous. Yes, we know that we are supposed to be telling people about Jesus, but that means that we have to get out and meet people who do not know Jesus. We have to get into conversations that are deep and out of our comfort zone. And we think that we have to know all of the answers. Most of us are terrified to proclaim our faith because someone might ask us something we cannot answer and ultimately make a fool out of us. And then we read verses like 1 Peter 3.15 which drive us into more despair:
“…but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.”
– 1 Peter 3.15-16
Many of us consider ourselves to not be academics and deep thinkers. Very few of us pursue apologetics as a discipline. And thus, while we claim Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and we have a relationship with Him, we are timid to try to explain this relationship and are afraid of being humiliated in conversation about faith.
Consider this, however. Of everyone in your circle of friends and people with whom you interact regularly, how many people have devoted their lives to the study of eternal things and religion? Everyone has a worldview and a life philosophy by which they make decisions and live their lives. Everyone. But how many people can articulate with absolute clarity the logic and foundation on which they base their worldview? How many people can defend their absolute truth with evidences and proofs such that none can refute them? How many people claim a worldview which requires no faith?
None of them. Do you know why? Because any worldview requires a level of faith. There is no human being alive who has scientifically and empirically tested every “fact” that he believes, and has his own experiential proof for every claim he might make. For example, how do you know Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492? Because you learned the rhyme when you were a child. Not because you were there and saw him. Not because you have studied the historical manuscripts and documents including his journals and ship registries. Someone taught you in elementary school during American History, you have seen the results of his travels – namely, the existence of the country of the United States of America, and there is no reason to question this historical occurrence.
If you believe anything from antiquity, then you must affirm – at the very least – the integrity of the Bible. It is the most well preserved and consistent piece of literature from history. There is no other document – from which we derive events and “facts” from history – that even comes close to the number of copies, the lack of variation within those copies, and the age of the documents. And while this is unarguably the case, many doubt the events documented in the Bible while believing that Shakespeare existed, that Homer penned the Iliad and Josephus is the leading scholar and historian of the first century.
But many who would demand such a defense of Christianity can offer no defense of their own worldview. And what I mean is simply this: If you should ever find yourself in a conversation about Jesus and someone asks you to defend yourself on an academic level beyond your present ability, ask them to do the same. It is possible that you have stumbled across one of those rare academics, but chances are extremely high that this person has been trained to be skeptical of Christianity, but not of his own worldview. He is more than likely living a hedonistic lifestyle that considers the present and pleasure the highest goal. Do not let someone refute your belief system on a level he is incapable of doing for his own. And when you begin to listen to foundations for other worldviews, you will probably find that the basic Christian worldview is more grounded in fact that you realized.
And while you gain confidence in discussing Jesus, do not grow complacent. If you have realized the depth of your sin and have turned to Jesus for forgiveness and salvation, if you abide in Him and depend on Him for guidance and for life, if you love Him and have a relationship with God through the power of the Holy Spirit, you must remain in the Word, you must spend time with Him and you will be invested in getting to know Him more. And the more you learn and know the Bible, the more you will be able to answer those questions. If your conversion and coming to faith did not involve the asking and answering of those deep and difficult questions, ask them now! God will answer them for you, if you ask them.
“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
– James 1.5
God promises to give us wisdom. We only need to ask. The Scripture has the answers. We must only seek them out. Do I have to know all of the answers? No. There are very few scholars who can answer every question asked by an examiner of the faith. And if we have the confidence of our salvation and are continually getting to know the Lord more through His Word, then we can always answer to an extent. And the simple fact that we are concerned about and continually learning about Spiritual and eternal things puts us one step ahead most who would try to stump us. So be diligent that any question that you are asked, ask it back. Help people think. Help people consider eternity. And point them to Jesus, the only one who does know all the answers.
Every worldview requires faith. We must choose in whom or what we will place that faith. You do not have to know all of the answers, but you do have to know the One who is the answer. And once you have met Him, be confident in Him – because He is the only one who can offer true hope. If someone asks you a question that you cannot answer, one way to respond is to simply say, “I do not know the answer to that, do you?” And trust Jesus. He alone gives life, He alone convicts of sin, He alone can save.