In this short video, Bruce and Nancy Longbottom share about running a Life Explored course in their church in Indianapolis. At one point, Bruce says, “(Life Explored) tells a parable and draws people in that way. So it seems to be using the same methodology that Jesus used.”
If all unbelief is intellectual, then we can limit our evangelism to rational arguments. If all unbelief is intellectual, then the primary thing we need to do is present enough facts to support the truth of Christianity.
But in my experience, I have not found that to be the case.
Randy Newman, who will lead a breakout session at our Christianity Explored annual conference in April 2018, notes in his book Questioning Evangelism: Engaging People’s Hearts the Way Jesus Did, that, “Not all unbelief is intellectual at its core; therefore, reason alone will fail to sway such unbelief.”
As an example, Jesus says in John 3:19: “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.”
Some unbelief is a matter of the heart and of the will, rather than primarily of the intellect.
Jesus used a variety of ways to move people from their unbelief. Besides rational argument, he also used questions and parables.
Here is an insightful exercise for you to try. Read through the four Gospels and record the number of different questions Jesus asked.
And Jesus was also known for telling stories, or parables. Just this morning, I watched a video of well-known preacher, Randy Alcorn, talking about how God used the stories of C.S. Lewis in transforming his life. C.S. Lewis wrote this about the power of stories:
“The whole subject [Christianity, God, and the sufferings of Christ] was associated with lowered voices; almost as if it were something medical. But supposing that by casting all these things into an imaginary world, stripping them of their stained-glass and Sunday school associations, one could make them for the first time appear in their real potency? Could one not thus steal past those watchful dragons?”
What watchful dragons do stories sneak past? How about the internal guards that keep out ideas that challenge our accepted reality?
I invite you to check out the original stories we use in Life Explored HERE. I also ask you to put our 2018 Christianity Explored North America conference on your calendar. It will take place on April 14, at McLean Presbyterian Church, located in McLean, VA. Our topic will be: Building Momentum for Evangelism.