Effective witnessing with creation evangelism
Published: 11 November 2017 (GMT+10)
The ultimate purpose of CMI is to equip believers with information that will help them be more effective in sharing their faith in their own contexts. But often people feel overwhelmed and unqualified for the conversations that come up. But we shouldn’t let that stop us from sharing the truth.
Gina V, U.S., writes:
I have been getting Creation’s articles emailed to me every day for a long time now, but I still feel unprepared to present an argument to my agnostic, evolution-believing friends. I can’t memorize each article. Could you post an article listing the basic arguments and counterarguments I could respectfully use when questioned about creation vs. evolution? Maybe you could make a tract out of it. For now, all I know to do is tell them about this site, but I have a feeling they don’t visit it, and because I, a humble layperson, couldn’t answer all their arguments, that they must be right.
Lita Cosner, CMI-US, responds:
First of all, it’s great that you’re interacting with your agnostic evolutionist friends and sharing the truth with them. Don’t be discouraged—God can use anyone, and the fruit may take some time to appear. But there are a few strategic things you can do that may be helpful.
You’re correct that it’s impossible to memorize everything—there are simply too many possible areas of debate. It’s absolutely okay to say, “That’s a great question. I remember reading something on creation.com about it by a Ph.D. scientist, but I can’t recall well enough to describe it accurately. Can I email you the article?”
Another thing you can do is limit the conversation. If your conversations cover a wide range of disciplines, say, from biology to history to geology, then it’s no wonder you’d feel overwhelmed! First, you can limit the discussion somehow. For instance, when someone brings up dinosaur fossils, and you counter with evidence that there is soft tissue and even DNA in dinosaur bones, don’t let them jump over to radiometric dating. You can respectfully insist that they deal with the evidence you’ve given them in a manner explained by Anyone for Tennis? This can make your conversations more manageable and productive.
If you have trouble remembering some information, you can invite them to watch Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels with you or go through 15 Questions for Evolutionists. Perhaps they would read Christianity for Skeptics—all of these resources show that Christians actually think about our faith and have evidence for our worldview, and they might spark conversations.
But in your conversations, try to ‘keep the main thing the main thing’. We’ve shown consistently that evolution and billions of years is a common stumbling block to the Gospel so it’s important to be equipped with answers in this area. However, if your friend is an unbeliever, you should be trying to win him or her to Christianity, not just biblical creation. One way you can move the conversation is, after dealing with evolutionary objection, saying something like, “But you know, neither one of us was around when these dinosaurs were fossilized, so we’re really talking about two different interpretations of the same evidence. In contrast, Jesus lived at a specific time in history that is recorded for us both in Scripture and outside of Scripture, and His claims about Himself are well-documented. And the empty tomb is one of the best attested historical events. How do you explain that?” Deal with the objections to creation by giving evidence, but then move the conversation to Christ and the Gospel. I’ve used this strategy effectively myself.
Finally, let your friends know that you care for them as your friends and that is the reason you’re having these conversations, not just to score another conversion. So don’t try to make every time you grab coffee into a debate, but do take advantage of opportunities as God opens the door for conversation.
Ultimately, God is the only one who can change hearts and minds. But we are called to be faithful witnesses to the truth recorded in Scripture. It sounds like you’re already doing a great job! But I hope these few thoughts are helpful.
With much respect Lita, our primary task in sharing our faith with unbelievers is to share Christ (or perhaps better JESUS) & not 'Christianity'! It's a common 'religious' mistake, which implies doctrine over Jesus, which is wrong, wrong, wrong. Common attitudes today encountered are 'Church' NO, Jesus 'Yes'.
My phrase was "win them to Christianity". I encouraged the questioner to move the conversation to Christ and the Gospel. With respect, this is quibbling about wording.
Of course it's possible to have a dead doctrinal system without Christ (think the Pharisees), but it's not possible to have a true living faith in Christ with no doctrine. Paul is clear that a Christian must believe in the doctrine of the Resurrection, for example. The deity of Christ is another example.
I would suggest that someone who says 'yes' to Jesus but 'no' to the church has a wrong view of Jesus, a wrong view of the Church, or both. Jesus founded the Church.
CMI are like the little boy in the Kings New Clothes so well expressed in Danny Kaye's song. I would encourage everyone who, like me, agree fully with what CMI teach to be filled with the Holy Spirit and also to study God's Word with a passion. The Holy Spirit will download it into your own heart and when you need it He will bring it up out of your resource to speak it when necessary. God will bring us before great men and we need not pre-meditate or else we may lack the confidence needed, not because we don't know the answers but because we need to trust that the Lord actually wants to use us and will work through us. 1 Peter 3;15.
We need well written tracts on apologetics or creation evangelism, in a series, taking us from such points as (1) why should I be bothered with religion, (2) what is so special about Christianity, to what about Evolution, and so on. At the end, an address for a good Bible organisation or church would be ideal.
So many tracts try to say too much and jump the apologetics bit, getting onto pure evangelism, when there is not the background to make it make sense. Maybe about 20 to 28 tracts in sequence would do the trick. They could also reference a book to read or a website to visit.
We have got many good writers: it is just that we need to get the truth out there in bite-sized chunks - how about it?
Thanks, Lita, especially for the 2nd-last paragraph. Dear Gina, toward showing care for your atheist friends, please ask God for discernment re their motivation to move into atheism. Often, deep pain or ‘need’ motivated them—things that also need to be addressed: whether out loud, by you; or internally, by the Holy Spirit (HS), or both!
Some motivations: Most sympathy / compassion is for the atheist when pain / betrayal-of-trust was a motivator. (Especially, when the pain or death is of a loved one, even more than of self.) This is a huge factor, and deep inner healing is needed as well as intellectual objections answered, for those atheists.
Another big factor is misguided sincerity—in thinking that any belief in a supernatural realm (or miracles) will turn the mind to mush. That one instead has to go to atheism in order to diligently seek out within-nature cause-effect layers leading to observed natural phenomena. Wrong thinking, but they sincerely believe it, often at a subconscious level. Pray that the HS will providentially bring out, in their conversation, what they think will be intellectual-integrity compromise on their part, if they became Christians. Then, use CMI resources, and prayer, in answering those mistaken notions.
An additional factor is a seeking of security; a dissatisfaction with subjectivity in many academic disciplines. These are the people who especially resist the idea that atheism is a step of faith. They wrongly think that in order to obtain ‘safety’ in sure scientific results, they have to be atheists. This factor can powerfully combine with the first, for some atheists.
Other, arrogant, motivators also exist—getting atheists into or keeping them in atheism. Praying through these factors is part of our spiritual warfare.
You might also like to try getting on the front foot. The evo's have convinced a lot of people that evolution is scientific, while the Bible is just fairy stories. To combat this, I have sort-of memorised the following, which is sort of in chronological order, which makes it easier to remember.
The Big Bang - contradicted by the first law of thermodynamics
Life from a primordial soup - contradicted by the law of abiogenesis
Increase from 'simple' first life to complex humans - contradicted by the second law of thermodynamics (things should run down)
Life, and increased complexity and function due to mutation - contradicted by statistics/probability
Dinosaurs 65 million years old, and diamonds even older - contradicted by carbon dating, and for dinosaurs, soft tissue and DNA found in their bones
Rock layers taking millions of years to be laid down - contradicted by polystrate tree fossils and Mount St Helens
The Bible is consistent with all of the above science.
By this stage the score is: evolution 0, Bible 9, and there's lots more, but people should get the idea by now. It is evolution theory that is concocted fairy stories, while science is consistent with the Bible.
If all of the above is so, and this covers enormous evo strongholds,then nothing else proposed by evo's as scientific is likely to be true if it contradicts the Bible. If they bring up minutiae that you can't handle, take them back to these basic issues.
I think this all concurs with CMI thinking. Any corrections would be welcome.
True. Winning an argument doesn't win a heart. Sometimes they are so afraid of what you have to say that it is difficult to get a word in edgeways, but hopefully enough to provoke thought. The creation.com search function is an amazing resource - whenever something comes up in the news eg the latest fossil or supanova, it doesn't take long for these folks to get a useful article up about it.