Arguing Evangelism

06Apr09

Logical argument will only go so far in evangelism because the gospel is heart-level, not head-level.

So, when I get carried away trying to witness to an unbeliever and I realize that I’m only arguing with him, I need to stop and ask myself, How can I address this person’s heart? What is their real issue with Jesus Christ? How can I gently but firmly address that rather than all of these defenses couched as arguments?

I am not denying the importance of Christian apologetics, which is often a helpful means of undermining a person’s unbelief. I’m simply suggesting that argument better serves as a means to move an evangelistic conversation heartward than as the focus of the conversation itself.

Here’s one biblical example. In Athens, Paul essentially gave a Christian apologetic to the city’s philosophers (Acts 17:22-34). After he explained the gospel, “some mocked,” though some were more amicable (v. 32). It’s significant that v. 33 doesn’t go on to show how Paul continued to argue with them. Instead it reads, “So Paul went out from their midst.” I would’ve stayed there for a week and held public debates! But Paul’s goal wasn’t to prove his intellectual superiority or even the rational superiority of Christianity; he simply held out the gospel and trusted God to convince the hearts of some of his hearers, which God did (v. 34).

As you look through your Bible, what do you see as the place of apologetics in evangelism? Anybody else struggle with argumentativeness?

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