“I can’t worship a God that allows so much pain and suffering.”
“I think Jesus was a great teacher, but I don’t think he resurrected after he died.”
“How can you really believe that Jesus actually turned water into wine and healed people with his touch?!”
These are just a few examples of questions that have come up while having conversations about Jesus with students.
As I’ve been asked these things, I just sit there, stunned, without much to say. I usually sit there scrambling for verse references, sermon references, any resource to help me know what to say. My mind ends up screaming “WHAT THE HECK AM I SUPPOSED TO SAY TO THAT?!”
I walk away, rewinding the conversation in my head, and thinking about what I could have said or done differently. I can tend to walk away believing that what I said or didn’t say will determine that person’s fate. There have been times where I was so afraid that I didn’t get them any closer to knowing Jesus personally. I thought I might have even deterred them further from the Gospel.
First, let me stop right here and tell you what I myself needed to hear. God is sovereign and loves that person more than anyone, including you, ever could.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved-and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-6
This passage is about how we gain eternal life with God. Nowhere in this does it mention the act of a human putting themselves or someone else in that position. We are seated with God because of God’s love for us, through Christ, by grace of God we are raised up. The ministry I work with, Cru, has a great definition of successful witnessing: “Taking the initiative in the power of the Holy Spirit to share the message of Christ and leaving the results up to God.”
So, we can rest assured that Christ’s love surpasses dumb things we say or don’t say. Praise God He uses us to make Himself known even when we don’t know how to articulate what we want to about Him.
I also want to mention that the conversations that I’ve had with students and the questions brought up are valid questions. It’s important for us as believers to be able to know and defend the Gospel in a humble way.
Being able to defend the Gospel is a command from Scripture:
“But in your hearts honor Christ and the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason.” 1 Peter 3:15
It’s also demonstrated by Jesus performing miracles to prove the claims of Him were true (John 14:11). We also see the early church defending their faith in Acts 14:15-17 and Acts 17:22-23.
Knowing and being able to defend the Gospel not only helps nonbelievers understand God more, but it also encourages our faith as believers. When we have doubts and struggles we can have more tools in our belt to encourage our heart through that time. Friend, please know that we can boldly proclaim our faith because the power of the Holy Spirit will speak through us.
We don’t have to know everything there is to know about apologetics. We are commanded to be ministers of reconciliation and as we learn about the Scriptures, God, and the Gospel we can share this Good News with those around us.