Years ago I had a conversation with a TV host on the topic of faith. He is not a Christian. In fact, he makes a point of emphasizing that he is not religious.
I explained my vocation as a Christian evangelist and apologist and asked this journalist for his advice. He took a few steps back and looked at me. “You have a tough job. You try to convince people who don’t believe to believe,” he said. “Here’s what I would say to you: Don’t try to convince people who do not believe to believe. People who do not believe are not going to believe, and you just have to be fine with that!”
These words seemed to sound the death knell to my entire project, and I couldn't hide my discouragement as I left the studio that day. My friend’s attitude toward belief describes how many people, both believers and unbelievers, view Christian evangelism.
Even within the church, even among evangelicals, we have begun to diminish the work of evangelism. We emphasize good things like relationships and charity outreach but question the work of traditional apologetics, of speaking the gospel in hopes of convincing another that it is true. (Think of the commonly quoted line: “Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.”)
But when we diminish the work of evangelism and apologetics—as ineffective or as a secondary concern—we cheapen the gospel itself. If we believe the gospel is good news, true for all people, we cannot give up on making the case for our beliefs.
With the rise of secularism, sure, the church faces new challenges. But I’m convinced that what we need is not innovative methods or answers. We need fresh confidence in the gospel.1
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