One of my favorite passages in the Bible having to do with evangelism is Acts 26:28-29, “Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?’ Paul replied, ‘Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.'” Paul got it… he knew what it would cost King Agrippa to believe in Jesus Christ and become a Christian. Paul understood that it would take two main things, and I believe those are two things we don’t prioritize as much as we should in evangelism: Prayer and Time.
Some people put up “Willful Roadblocks,” refusing the claims of Christ because they simply aren’t convinced that Christ is worth the sacrifice they’d have to pay. Really, I think more of us should count the cost so intentionally. Many people who have this roadblock holding them back from believing in the Gospel have three main objections, adressed below.
1. “I just don’t believe in God.”
Obviously there’s way more written about this than I have the time (or desire) to write about in this one blog post. I simply point to the Evidence of Design, which says ” purpose, order, design, and structure point to a designer.” As the band, Switchfoot, says, “The shadow proves the sunshine.” There’s a reason why pretty much every culture’s traditions revolve around some form of worship – whether it’s polytheistic or not – there’s just something inside of us that knows there was a creator.
There are a lot of people who are atheists/agnostics because they don’t want to believe in God. A lot of them have experienced tragedies and simply don’t understand how a good and loving and all-powerful God could have allowed that tragedy to happen, and so they dismiss belief in God. I get it… and I don’t want this to come off wrong or insensitively, but God’s existence shouldn’t simply be dismissed and rejected because I don’t understand suffering.
We need to take suffering and good, hard, intelligent questions seriously. But we also need to be asking ourselves whether or not someone is disagreeing with us about who Jesus is and what difference He makes because they have real objections or if they simply don’t want to believe and use science or philosophy or whatever as a way to keep on living however they want to live without needing to answer to God.
2. “Jesus is Not God”
As C.S. Lewis famously wrote in Mere Christianity:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. … Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God.”
In summary of Lewis, Jesus is either “Lord, Lunatic, or a Liar.” He cannot be viewed as just another Rabbi who taught good ethical things.
3. “Christianity Would Cramp My Style, Because Christians Can’t Have Fun.”
Alright, now that you’re done laughing I really want you to think about this one seriously. A lot of people do believe this… and for good reason, because much of the time that’s the impression we give! Jesus came to give us “abundant life,” to make us whole and complete, to fill us with joy and peace that passes all understanding. The promises of God are overwhelming.
The problem here is that we don’t really hold onto His promises and we try to live with half our hearts given to Christ (for eternal life) and half our hearts given to this world (for life now). Instead, we need to remember that God created our world and everything in it and He wants us to really trust that His ways really are best.
That means that we will refuse to do some things that others would consider “fun” like getting drunk, doing drugs, having sex with people we aren’t married to, and just generally making stupid and dangerous decisions. Honestly, some of the most “fun” people I know are Christians (granted, I’m biased).
There’s really no “argument” here for you to have with people to convince them of this other than your life. Simply put, “Let your light shine that people may see your good deeds and praise your Father who is in Heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Live fully for Christ, and He will strengthen you to have joy even in the midst of suffering and trials.
When you’re talking with a friend or family member or someone else who seems to have a “Willful Roadblock,” learn from Paul’s example with Felix: Give it Prayer & Give it Time.