As the flight from Chicago to Dallas climbed in the sky, I became engrossed in conversation with the passenger to my left. "Aimee," a French businesswoman, asked me about my work. On learning I was a Christian communicator, she related that a professing Christian had signed a contract with her, attempted to lead her to Christ, then later deceitfully undercut her. "How could a Christian do such a thing?" she asked.
I told her that Christians weren't perfect, that some fail miserably, that many are honest and caring, but that it is Jesus we ultimately trust. Aimee asked question on question: "How can you believe the Bible?" "Why do Christians say there is only one way to God?" "How does one become a Christian?"
I tried to answer her concerns tactfully and explained the message of grace as clearly as I could. Stories I told of personal pain seemed to open her up to consider God's love for her. She did not come to Christ in that encounter, but she seemed to leave it with a new understanding.
Hurting people everywhere need God. Many are open to considering Him, but they often have questions they want answered before they are willing to accept Christ. As we answer them, seeking to blend grace with truth, an increasing number of skeptics may give an ear and become seekers or believers. That's what happened to me.
After trying as a teenager to live in a way that would be pleasing to people and to God, I was nearly expelled from high school for some problems I helped create. For some time after that, I put on hold any investigation into Christianity. In pain and anger I wondered, "Why would God allow this to happen to me after I had been trying my best to please him?"
Later, students in the Campus Crusade for Christ group at Duke University my freshman year helped me see God's forgiveness as a free gift. They lovingly accepted me in spite of my sometimes-relentless questions.
After trusting Christ as Savior, I still had questions. Bob Prall, the local Campus Crusade director, took interest in me. At first his answers irritated me, but as I thought them through, they began to make sense. I followed him around campus for two years, watching him interact with non-Christians. Today, as I am privileged to encounter inquisitive people, much of my approach derives from my mentor.
"BUT WHAT ABOUT … "
How do you deal with questions and objections to faith that your friends may pose?
First, some guidelines. Pray for wisdom, for His love for inquirers (Rom. 9:1-3), and for your questioner's heart. If appropriate, briefly share the gospel first. The Holy Spirit may draw your friends to Christ. Don't push, though. It may be best to answer their questions first.
Some questions may be intellectual smokescreens. Once a Georgia Tech philosophy professor peppered me with questions, which I answered as best I could.
Then I asked him, "If I could answer all your questions to your satisfaction, would you put your life in Jesus' hands?" His reply: "[Expletive] no!"
I don't have complete answers to every concern you will encounter, but here are some short responses that might be useful.
1. Why is there evil and suffering?
Sigmund Freud called religion an illusion humans invent to satisfy their security needs. To him, a benevolent, all-powerful God seemed incongruent with natural disasters and human evil.
God, though sovereign, gave us freedom to follow Him or to disobey Him. This response does not answer all concerns (because He sometimes does intervene to thwart evil) but suggests that the problem of evil is not as great an intellectual obstacle to belief as some imagine.