Have you ever heard someone say “that rule was only for that time” or “I agree with this verse but not that” or even the famous saying “this is my truth and what I believe is right” in regards to faith. This is post-modernism – simply put it is a worldview with no absolute truth, subjective and dependent on the individual. Jesus came to deliver a singular truth and tasked us with delivering such truth to all nations. So how can we accomplish this task when society prefers otherwise?
How are you presenting yourself?
You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn-bushes or figs from thistles?Matthew 7:16
Presentation is key in evangelism, not only outwardly but inwardly also. To share the gospel to a post-modern society, you need to show a respect and genuine interest in their viewpoint, their lives and where they are coming from. You may not necessarily agree with what they say, but not disregarding their beliefs and why they believe such “truths” will aid in building a relationship that will help you in sharing the gospel. We must try not to correct their misunderstandings from the get-go, or have any changes in our demeanour when listening to them. We must try to wholeheartedly listen and intake why they believe their truths. Additionally, we must try not to be heated, loud or argumentative – we must learn to show grace because once we were also like them, blind to the truth Christ freely came to offer (Eph 2:3). We must demonstrate the fruits of the Spirit [Gal 5:22-23], including gentleness and patience, because in this way shall people know we are of Christ – and this alone can minister to them [Mt 17:15-20].
Ask thought-provoking questions
After creating a relationship, engage by asking thought provoking questions to understand why they think what they think. This may also force them to think about why their “truth” is what they think it is. This is not to say we should ask questions in a condescending manner, but in one that breeds a civil conversation. Questions could include:
- Where are you on your spiritual journey
- What do you understand about Christianity?
- Do you ever think about life after death?
These questions are effective in continuing to build a relationship without seeming overcritical. Furthermore, look for areas of agreement. This can aid you in being less critical of their viewpoint and more interested. It can also make one feel like they are not being looked down upon. All these things will help in creating a space where both parties are calm and open to a conversation that can often come with hostility.
Using the Living Word
Sanctify them by the truth; your Word is truthJohn 17:17
Ultimately, our truth comes from the Word of God, the Bible. Therefore, we can not proclaim truth without directing people to the Bible. As much as we should be respectful of their views, we must also show that we do not necessarily agree with all of them. We do not have to water-down the truth (Jn 17:17) nor do we have to talk in eloquent words disguised as the Word of God (1 Cor 2:4-5), however the truth must be displayed. We must try not to be caught in the trap of purely listening and not providing anything fruitful to the conversation. With respect, we should strive to speak our beliefs, even if it may disregard theirs, providing our foundation as the Word of God. Furthermore, we should encourage them in reading or researching about the Bible, offering up to them the Word of God. It is vital that they understand that Christianity is based on absolute truth that cannot be shaken and this is the difference between simply being ‘spiritual’ and being a Christian.
So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.Zechariah 4:6
At the end of the day, we are not the ones who soften the hearts of the people, for God in His all-knowing might chooses whose heart He wants (Romans 9:14). We merely are to deliver the Word of God, to sow the seed and water the plant whilst God enables it to flourish (1 Cor 3:6-9). We must pray for the help of the Holy Spirit in this situation, to guide and help us to be able to deliver God’s Word fruitfully, because it is not by our power, nor our might, but only by the Spirit can mountains fade (Zechariah 4:6). Trust Him to do just that.