You’ve heard the myth that most Americans are practicing agnostics, and they’re more hostile to the Gospel than ever. The hostility part may be true in the Middle East where terrorists are committing genocide against the church. It may be valid in India where Hindus burned a group of Christians alive last week. Not here. Most Americans are secular and materialistic, but they aren’t generally trying to stamp out the Church of Jesus Christ.
Most Americans aren’t agnostic, either. Granted, they don’t go to church or publicly profess faith in Christ, but many of their views depend completely on a biblical point of view! Think about it. When a skeptic argues, for instance, that people who oppress women are evil, the logical follow-up is “Where did you get that idea?” It’s certainly not a majority view: women are still oppressed in most places around the world!
Women deserve to be treated equally by everyone only if this is a principled world created for a purpose; a world where there are universal moral laws. If this is just a world where life developed gradually through random evolution, there is only one law: survival of the fittest. Until Jesus came, civilized nations throughout history had upheld a standard of justice that sounds a lot like evolutionary philosophy: it was evil to help an unfortunate, suffering human being. You would be interfering with the justice of the gods!
It is unnatural to tell a male lion that female lions have rights. It violates all the rules of animal behavior to suggest that a hungry leopard should not attack and eat a lame antelope, even a crippled child. Animals approach life on the planet exactly as it is. But human beings approach life as it should be: liberty, equality, compassion, the sanctity of human life. That is based on the biblical view of divine creation. And it leads to the question of why sin is such a problem.
So when you begin conversations about life with skeptical men and women, don’t preach at them. Just ask questions about their views. Listen with interest as they explain their deepest beliefs about the way life should be. Then ask thoughtfully why they accept such moral values in a world where the law of nature is kill or be killed. Smile mercifully as they squirm under the realization that they have always believed in a form of divine creation as taught only in the Bible. Don’t rush, but you are already on your way to Jesus.
At Providence, we are practicing three baby steps toward being more Gospel-influential:
- Begin praying for five friends, relatives or co-workers who are lost and in need of the Gospel.
- Begin 5 new relationships (not necessarily deep friendships) that might ultimately give you an opening for meaningful conversations about life, faith and Christ.
- Spend 5 minutes before you leave home each day getting spiritual prepared to serve on the mission field of your life.
For the message that inspired this blog, click here. Consider also Timothy Keller’s classic book, The Reason for God.
And lift up the Cross!