Answering With the Right Attitude
Reasoning With Unbelievers (Part 4)
Genevan Institute for Reformed Studies
by Bob Burridge ©2011
On Thursday night, January 27th, from 9 to 10 pm Eastern, our webchat time will focus on the topic, “Practical Reasoning with Unbelievers”.
[Continued from the previous blog entry, “Difficult Passages in the Bible”]
Just being accurate and correct are not our only obligations as representatives of the Gospel of Christ. As those changed by his work of grace, our attitude should demonstrate respect for the struggle the unbeliever faces.
1 Peter 3:14-15. “But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, 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;”
The fruit of the Spirit must be seen in us, or we are a living contradiction to the message we bring. The list of what should be seen in us is found in Galatians 5:22-23. It includes: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Jesus said in his Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:16) “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
Shining light on truth includes it’s production of good works in our own lives. A truth that does not transform is not the whole truth. Keep the focus on trying to clarify what God has said, not on showing that you are smarter or better educated. It’s the Hoy Spirit that changes the heart, not your flawless logic and command of the facts.
Many great scholars debated with Jesus and heard his lessons. Some were changed by what he said. Others plotted to discredit him and finally to have him killed. We certainly don’t fault Jesus with a poor presentation. You will not be able to satisfy the objections of every lost heart either. When you engage the unbeliever your prayer is that God will use the power of his word to bring life where there is blindness and spiritual death.
Those who continue to disbelieve merely confirm that their condemnation is just. They prove by their obstinance one of the basic facts they usually dispute: that aside from the work of grace no one will understand the truth of God’s word, and no one will want to admit to the True God as revealed in Scripture.
Romans 3:10-12, “as it is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one’; ‘There is none who understands’, ‘There is none who seeks for God’; ‘All have turned aside, together they have become useless’; ‘There is none who does good, There is not even one.’ “
When we show humble submission to the word of God and to the God revealed in Scripture, we do a better work of bearing testimony to the truth, than if we could merely out-argue the smartest of men.