Evangelistic Encounters: 6/23/07
As usual on Saturdays, I went with my friend Brian Shank out into the community around our church in order to evangelize. Today, we distributed about eight Ultimate Questions booklets and had more lengthy conversations with three people. The rest of this post will focus on those conversations. These accounts are merely summaries of some of the most important sections of the conversations, as best as I can recall.
The first man we really spoke with did not return our greeting, so I don’t know his name. When we said that we were from Kosmosdale Baptist Church he asked, “Have they got a pastor yet?” in an antagonistic manner. I simply replied that Tray Earnhart has been the pastor for about two years [on further reflection, it has been closer to three years]. The man said that he had been baptized at KBC, but that he no longer attends church because he does not believe in the Bible. I asked him why he does not believe the Bible to be true. He replied that he studied it and found it false. When pressed to give an example of why he thinks the Bible is false, he said that it contained exaggerated numbers. Brian said that the numbers were sometimes given in rounded figures, but that these did not constitute an error in Scripture. The man said that he did not believe in miracles, because he does not see them occurring today. Brian pointed out that the mere existence of the orderly creation we see around us is proof of a miracle. The man said that he did not believe in creation the way it is taught in the Bible, but believes in the scientific account instead. Brian began pressing him concerning the claims of the Bible, and attempting to challenge his faith in science. The man finally just muttered something at us, turned around while Brian was still speaking, and walked into his house.
Next, we talked to a man named Robert who is a member of Heritage Baptist Church and said (basically) that he is trusting in Jesus for his salvation. Brian asked Robert about a statue of Mary in his yard. Robert said that the statue belonged to his grandmother, and that he did not want to disrespect her by removing it, though he realized that some people take devotion to Mary too far. As far as we could ascertain in such a short conversation, Robert seemed to be a genuine believer (we had even interrupted him as he was about to do his daily devotion).
The final conversation that I will mention in this entry was with a woman named Nicole who said she is a Catholic. She did not want to speak to us at first, because she thought that our main goal was to get her to become Baptist. I told her that our intention was not so much that she become Baptist as to tell her about eternal life in Jesus Christ, pointing out that when one reads the Gospel accounts this is a question people ask Jesus, “How can I have eternal life?” I asked her if she were standing before God and He asked her, “Why should I grant you eternal life?” what she would say. She replied, “Because I’ve been a good person.” I said, “Let’s see if that’s true. You’re familiar with the Ten Commandments, right?” She said, “Yes.” I pointed out that the ninth commandment is, “You shall not bear false witness,” and I asked her if she had ever told a lie. She said, “Yes.” I said, “If I told a lie, what would you call me?” She said, “A liar.” So I said, “Then if you tell a lie, that shows you to be a liar, and that is what we all are.” I took her through a couple of the other commandments, and then I asked, “If God were to judge you by these commandments would He find you innocent or guilty?” She said, “I think He’d find me innocent, but I’m not sure, but I don’t think I’ve broken all the commands, and I think I’m still a good person.” I pointed out the verse from James that says, “If you keep the whole Law, and yet stumble at just one point, you are guilty of all of it,” explaining the verse in some detail. She said she understood and agreed. At about this point, Brian took over, articulating (as he always does so well) how our seemingly minor sins are of infinite importance because they are against an infinite God. He pointed out the corruption sin has brought into the world, and the hatred of God against sin. Then he spoke of the Gospel– of Jesus’ death as payment for the sins of all who would believe in Him, and His resurrection. Brian expertly contrasted the biblical Gospel of grace with the Roman Catholic “gospel” of the sacraments. Nicole seemed to receive all of this thoughtfully. I told her forthrightly that her answer about why she thought she should have eternal life– that she considered herself to be a good person– gave us cause for concern. I contrasted this answer with the biblical evaluation of our sinfulness and our need for a Savior; that we must trust in the work of Christ and not in ourselves if we are to be saved. Brian spoke some more to her. She said she would read through Ultimate Questions and tell her fiancé (who apparently lives with her) about our church.
Please pray for those mentioned above, especially for the first man we spoke with and for Nicole, that the Lord would confront them with who He is and who they are in light of His holiness, and that they would find salvation in Christ Jesus.