Monday, June 30, 2008

Refuting Objections in Witnessing

By Chris Curry

Objection: “But I Don’t Believe that…. I don’t believe the Bible.”

Don’t be intimidated when people say “I don’t believe that” or “I don’t believe the bible.” It is simply an elusive excuse used to evade being confronted by the truth.

The fact is, they don’t believe… exactly what you were expecting when you set out to share your faith. That’s exactly why they’re called unbeliever’s, because they don’t believe. That’s also why we’ve been sent to proclaim the gospel, because they don’t believe. If they did believe, we wouldn’t need to convince them of anything. It’s ludicrous to back away when an unbeliever uses that line. All the more reason to continue to appeal to them as to why they must believe. It’s our duty to give them reason to believe, using convincing arguments and testimony to persuade them.

If a person says, “I don’t believe in that” as their means of escape, ask them if their beliefs about anything in life have ever changed before? If so, they just admitted that they have been wrong before and you’ve caused them to realize the potential for their beliefs to change again. Then ask them if they think it’s possible their beliefs about God and religion may change in the future if they come across enough convincing knowledge they haven’t yet tapped into at this point.

Then say “refusing to believe the bible will not help you if it’s true. Your unbelief has no altering affect on the truth. If the bible is true, you will face the wrath of God weather you believe it or not.” Then plead with them not to be bias, that they owe it to themselves to find out more before it’s too late.

Objection: "I don’t believe the Bible is God’s word, it was written by men.

If a person used this argument to deny that the scriptures are divinely written, by contesting that men wrote them, do this: Get yourself a pen and paper and have them write something down. Say, “I’m gonna show you how God wrote the bible… here, take this pen and write what I say… ‘I am here’.” After the person write’s your words ask them, “who wrote that?” They will say “I did”. Then ask, “who said it?” The answer is “you did.” And that’s exactly how God wrote the bible… He told men what to write.

It’s no complex task for God, if He can create the universe, to speak to men and reveal His instruction to us. It is also absurd that God would leave His created people, whom He loves, in the dark without any road map. It may also be useful to ask the person if they have even read the bible. Many are bias towards it based on third party information. Appeal to them to check it out for themselves.

You have the advantage! Use the scientific facts booklet to show the person how the Bible is filled with fascinating bits of information they might not have known. This can change their attitude about the bible and provoke some curiosity. All you want to do is plow enough ground to make them question their position and possibly open their mind to further investigation.

Objection: “Isn’t God all-forgiving? If so, why do I need to do anything about my so-called sin? If God is all-forgiving, then he’ll forgive everyone no matter what. So why worry about a hell?”

Atheists and skeptics will often use modern gospel terminology against us in a hope to force a contradiction. The concept of an “all-forgiving God” derived from an extremely imbalanced ideology called the dispensationalist doctrine.

That is the idea that with the new covenant of grace came a more gracious and less judgemental God. This has led to the belief that all humanity is “no longer under law, but under grace.” But that is not so. Only Christians are under grace… sinners are still under the law and bound by the law. There is no forgiveness for anyone that is outside of Christ.

Romans 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested… upon all them that believe.
Galatians 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law…
Acts 13:38-39 …that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

Dispensationalist thinking was a quick fix theory to answer the question of why God doesn’t seem to mete out judgment immediately or “as swiftly as He did in the Old Testament.” The truth is that God has not changed at all. He is still a God that reveals His wrath every time a sinner dies in his sin.

Psalm 7:11 God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses his wrath every day. Compare that with Romans 1:18. God hasn’t changed.

The simple answer to this question for sinners is “no, he isn’t “all-forgiving.” The fact of the matter is, God is a just judge who is storing up wrath for the day of judgement. The only reason He hasn’t yet enacted justice towards sinners is that He’s giving them time to repent. It is only by the mere pleasure of his sovereign will that he allows sinners to live another day. That is why we must compel them to repent and put their faith in Jesus Christ, in light of the terrible wrath they will face if they die without redemption.

Objection: “But am I not ok if I just go to confession and ask God to forgive me.”

I often come across religious people, particularly Catholics, who use this very dangerous false comfort as a way out of acknowledging their guilt and facing the consequences of their sin. So let’s find out why simply confessing your sin and asking God forgiveness is not enough. Here’s the most logical way to answer this misconception:

What would confessing a crime do for a criminal? Imagine a man robs a bank and kills 4 people in the process. He then walks down the street to the police dept. and asks to see the chief. He says, “officer, I just robbed a bank and killed 4 people, I’m sorry, please forgive me.” All his confession does is bring the wrath of the justice system upon him. The only thing confessing ones sins does for them is reveal what God already knows, that they are guilty of transgressing the law. Confession in itself cannot save them. Now that they confessed, they must be punished for what they’ve done. Catholics who contend that confessing their sin to a priest will somehow absolve them of sin are trusting in a man-made religion rather than Jesus Christ Himself. Furthermore, if confession is the primary requirement to forgiveness, what happens if they die in the middle of the week before they make it to confession? Those who are in Christ have an advocate with the Father… Jesus Himself is our High Priest. His death on the cross is a one time sacrifice that absolves us of all our sin once and for all (Hebrews 10).

Also remember that many unsaved persons, even Muslims, ask their god to forgive them and confess their sins to him. One reason it’s not enough is that the god they pray to is a false god. Until they come to the knowledge of the truth in Christ Jesus, God is unknown by them… they cannot communicate. Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Objection: “You shouldn’t use fear and threatening’s of hell to convince a sinner of their need for Jesus. That will lead to serving God out of fear. Fear is a wrong motivation."

There have certainly been those who have experienced an upbringing in a very legalistic fear driven environment. This is unhealthy for Christians. Once we come to Christ, our motivation for serving Him must be one of utmost desire from a sincere and willing heart. As a result of being brought up under an unhealthy hell-fire brimstone environment, some Christians get nervous with using fear, hell, and the law as a motivation to convince sinners of their need to repent. But a healthy fear is a Legitimate Motivation for convincing sinners to repent.

The Bible tells us why we must persuade men: “Knowing the terror of the Lord we persuade men.” (2 Cor 5:11). Why is it the Bible says we should persuade? The TERROR of the Lord.

Hebrews 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Jude 1:23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire.

These passages are meant to convey the fear and dread that will come upon those who face a God of wrath in their sin. A proud sinner that has no fear of God will tremble before Him on judgment day when all their sins come out as evidence of their guilt. Bringing to sinners the reality of their condition in light of the fury of God’s wrath (hell), is the most caring thing a Christian can do out of concern for ones soul.

It is a healthy fear when one recognizes their detriment. To taunt a just God with constant acts of injustice is as foolish as playing in a pool of water atop a high metal tower during a lightening storm. The intent is not to scare them into serving God, but to show them their current dilemma in the hope that they will cry out for the mercy of God. Once He comes to Christ, he is motivated by a heart of gratitude. We now serve Him because we love Him, not because we’re afraid of Him. The fear is healthy when we’re away from Him! It’s the fear of a just God that drives us to the cross, where we find the mercy of a loving God.

When I get into my car and reach for my seat belt, it’s not because I love the police officer and desire to please those who make the law. I put it on out of a healthy fear of being impaled on the steering wheel, or to avoid being cited with a hefty fine. The fear is healthy in that it can save my life and my wallet. Go find a person who’s life was saved by a seat belt in a serious car accident. Having been motivated by a healthy fear, the result is gratitude for the device that saves them. In the same sense, when sinners are convinced that God’s wrath is coming upon them because of their sin, their desire to live and escape death will cause them to put on Christ in order to be saved on the day of wrath. They are now eternally grateful to God for the device (the cross of Christ) that was provided for their salvation. The law did it’s work, bringing knowledge of sin and the fear of God.

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love…

This passage is for Christians. Those who are in Christ have no reason to fear God’s wrath. If anyone does have reason to be afraid, they are not in His love because they are not his children. But while we are motivated by a love for God, we still have a godly fear of Him in the sense that we revere Him and are humbled by His awesome power and glory.

Hebrews 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: 29For our God is a consuming fire.

Rev. 15:4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy.

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