How To Tell An Atheist About Christ, Oct 14th Simulcast by Former Atheist and Author Of 'The Case For Christ'

By: Tia Johnson 0 Comments   9/20/2012

Looking for tools to address atheism? Churches now have the opportunity to partake in a simulcast with experts Lee Strobel, Mark Mittelberg and William Lane Craig.

It's called "Unpacking Atheism" and is taking place October 14. The simulcast will be world-wide and registration can be done at www.incastevents.com.

Click on "events" and then "unpacking atheism" or click on this link.

Strobel was an atheist-turned-Christian and wrote the book The Case for Christ, among other apologetics-based books. Mittelberg is an author and speaker on evangelism and apologetics, and Craig is an international lecturer and debater and has spoken at universities like Harvard and Yale.

The simulcast includes stories of Craig's worldwide debates and discusses how to best answer the claims made by atheists. Also included are interviews with those who've left atheism to become followers of Jesus Christ.

The promotional material about the event stresses the importance of preparing church members to address atheism in their realm of influence.

"Even if you and your church have not run into militant atheism head-on, the effects of it are seeping into our culture and, increasingly, into the church," the website stated.

"We need to be ready... to not only 'give an answer' (1 Pet. 3:15), but also to 'take every thought captive' for Christ (2 Cor. 10:5)."

Mittelberg stated that 1 in 4 Americans ages 29 and younger describe themselves as atheist, agnostic, or not tied to any faith.

If that's the case, we can't say that we don't need this training. We should have lots of opportunities to interact with those who call themselves atheist or agnostic. I know my public university was filled with these opportunities a few years ago, but I also found opportunities when raising a family from the comfort of my home.

Each instance has not only become an opportunity to share Truth; they have also provided growth in my own faith.

While attending St. Cloud State University a few years back, one of my professors gathered my attention after class. He said that by the questions I was asking in class, it appeared I had a very limited view of God. He was concerned that my convictions were prohibiting me from experiencing the "greater divine."

I agreed to meet with him in his office to talk more about this. During our first meeting, I actively listened. My professor explained his viewpoint: he saw "truth" as one large elephant, and that many religions in our world today were experiencing only a portion of the elephant.

For example, one faith might be standing by the ear and say that truth is wide and thin. Another faith might be standing by the trunk and describe truth as long and coil-like. Another might be standing by its tail, and so on.

He claimed that each religion may have a different perception of truth, but they were all correctly describing a portion of the elephant, or what he might call the "greater divine" over all faiths.

I was wise enough at this point to make sure that I listened before I spoke. This was important not just because it's polite and shows consideration-- the practice of listening also prevents me from spouting out "arguments" thoughtlessly and pridefully (i.e. wanting to have the last word).

I was also able to pray for God to give me the words to say as He promised He would in Matthew 10.

Listening first gave me more credibility when I did speak. After this encounter, my professor sent me an email stating that since I had been such a good listener during our first meeting, now it was his turn to listen. He sent a list of questions for me to answer.

One of them was to explain in more detail how it was, again, that I could have an abiding personal relationship with my God (I had shared at least this much with him).

It was at times like these that I studied my Bible more than my coursework. I was compelled to be prepared to give an answer for my faith- a commandment in 1 Peter 3:15 and followed through with pages of a thorough, written answer to pass on to him and discuss at our next meeting.

I also had shared my testimony with him, which he later asked me to share at one of his speaking engagements. Our testimonies are one tool we must not neglect when sharing our faith, for two reasons: 1) No one can argue with your testimony and 2) the evidence our testimonies provide of a real, working, personal God are often unforgettable.

We must also not neglect the testimony of Jesus Christ, for this is what literally changes lives.

Later on I graduated from college, got married, and had my first child. At this point I missed the plethora of witnessing opportunities that existed in college, so I prayed for God to provide opportunities where I was. Shortly thereafter, I ran into a conversation on Facebook.

The conversation thread involved a couple of friends who had perceived that the Christian faith was only "fire insurance," and its adherents were committed only because of fear of going to hell.

They asked what other reason existed to become a Christian? This was a soul-searching question. Why did I become a Christian? Was it just to stay out of hell?

I can see how she would have perceived this as the reason when churches sometimes emphasize it a bit strongly during altar calls. We're sometimes better at communicating the endll consequence of our sin (i.e. hell) but neglect the gospel message.

If there was not such a severe consequence for our sin, would we be inclined to seek God's forgiveness? The answer to this question reveals the authenticity of a Christian.

Certainly, if we are in it for just fire insurance, what kind of love does that foster toward our God? On the other hand, if we have recognized the wrong of our sin, and have the desire to be made right with our Creator, then we have begun an authentic relationship with our God. (To think of it another way, there's a difference between the child who's just trying to get out of trouble and the child who sorrowfully recognizes their disobedience.)

This was another moment when I was driven to spend hours in my Bible to be prepared to engage in this conversation. I was able to relay scripture which revealed the heart of God and His desire for us to be made right with Him.

The primary reason, I said, for becoming a Christian, is to be forgiven of sin, then to be made right with God and begin a relationship with Him today. This relationship later transpires to an eternity with Him in heaven, which is a truth that we cling to in this difficult world, but is not the primary factor of our seeking repentance today.

For this reason I have taken more initiative not to shout-out "hell" as the reason for committing our lives to Jesus Christ. When my daughter made her commitment a few months back, she had been engrossed in a film of Jesus' crucifixion.

It bothered her deeply that her sin was part of putting Jesus on the cross, and after a couple of days of pondering this; she decided to ask Jesus to forgive her.

I was very careful that she wasn't motivated by the drastic consequences of hell, but by having wronged the One she knew at her young age to be her Creator, one who loved her more than any other, and whom she could trust to be her Lord.

May we all consider not just the urgency in being prepared to share our faith with an atheist or non-believer, but in the glory given to God when we do share.

How great it is that we serve a God who desires to use us, imperfect vessels, to do His work! He certainly doesn't have to use us. And as nerve-wracking, heart-pounding, sweat-gland-producing as it is at times to share our faith, the fruit is far greater. 

I urge you to attend this simulcast. Not only will you be able to give more glory to God in your discussions with atheists and agnostics-- you will also discover rewarding growth in your own faith.

DelightMedia.com


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