Not Everyone Deserves an Answer

from A clear answer

“I know that I turned people off and strained friendships and other relationships when I first started out because I did not understand this important principle.”

Sometimes people ask me, “Why are you a Christian?” I like to tell them that I am a Christian because Christianity is true. I say that for two reasons: First, people are often expecting some kind of a testimonial and I like to subvert expectations; and second, the reason I am still a Christian has little to do with my testimony. Notice I said, “still a Christian.” I actually started going to church because I experienced God as I was weeping in the bushes outside a hospital in downtown San Diego. Maybe I will share that story another day; the point is I started going to church almost immediately. While at church the pastor asked if anyone wanted to pray with him to receive Christ. I raised my hand and the rest is history.

Soon after I decided to follow Jesus I came across an argument for the truthfulness of Christianity as it relates to the resurrection of Christ. Some of those minimal facts are as follows: 1) Jesus died on the cross; 2) His tomb was found empty several days later; 3) His disciples gave eyewitness testimony claiming to see Jesus alive (and suffered for it). I realized that I needed to draw a conclusion that dealt fairly with these minimal facts; and ultimately I concluded that the best explanation for those facts was that Jesus did indeed come back from the dead.

More than that, I became excited with the minimal facts of the resurrection as an argument in and of itself. That is, I was surprised that there could be a rational way of looking at the evidence in order to assess one’s own belief in Jesus, and I wanted everyone else to have the chance to weigh the argument (and others) for themselves before dismissing Christianity. I quickly immersed myself in all things apologetics. As a matter of fact, when I decided to get my degree in Theology, I supplemented the class readings with my own apologetic-centric texts.

When I began studying apologetics I quickly realized two things: First, Christianity has spent two thousand years thinking about and addressing a wide range of topics. So there is a ton of information to absorb, which was a little daunting for me in the beginning. Second, not a lot of people know the answers that Christianity has given to various challenges by non-believers; and that simultaneously concerned and excited me in the sense that I immediately had the desire to tell everyone about the compelling aspects of my faith that they might not have considered. Once I got certain things down, like the Kalam Cosmological Argument or the Teleological Argument or the various historical views on Theodicy, I immediately wanted to proclaim them from the rooftops. Consequently, everyone that mentioned Christianity (and I do mean everyone) got an earful from me on those topics.

I was spiritually a young pup at this point in my walk with God and I, therefore, did not realize an important biblical principle with regard to engaging folks. It actually took me several years to realize this, and here it is:Not everyone deserves an answer.

At the outset this might seem controversial; that is, maybe I am advocating for Christians to refuse the Great Commission given by Jesus. Actually, I am not advocating for that. What I am saying is: We need to discern who is willing to hear the truth and who is not before we fully engage.

The Book of Proverbs is replete with warnings against dealing with mockers, scoffers, and fools:

“He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself, and he who reproves a wicked man gets insults for himself” (Proverbs 9:7)

“A scoffer does not love one who reproves him, he will not go to the wise” (Proverbs 15:12)

“Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words” (Proverbs 23:9)

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