I’ll explain the beef pic in a moment.
I’m thoroughly enjoying facebook. I totally get why it is the most popular social utility of its kind. Since subscribing in the summer of 2007, I have engaged in quite a few theological-type discussions with friends from my high school days. Maybe I’m a bit of a novelty–the guy least likely to become a pastor, becomes a pastor (further evidence of God’s sovereignty!). One particular dialogue has captivated me–one of my better friends from Ridley College describes himself as an atheist. We’ve been discussing everything from bible translations to the origins of life (evolution), and a bunch of things in between. One the one hand, I sense my training and education has adequately equipped me for such a dialogue–but, on the other hand, I get the feeling that the cogency of my points is less important than I’d like. I think that is because Jesus is not a concept up for debate. Yes, certainly, He is debated all the time–I realize that–what I mean is that I don’t think God intends to draw people to Himself through clever arguments. As I read the Gospels, and as I see individuals come to a saving faith in Christ, it is not because Jesus out-debated them. Individuals encounter Jesus in a personal way and that experience profoundly transforms them. The examples of this are myriad–Peter, Mary Magdalene, Zacheus, the woman at the well (John 4), just to name a few.
My point is this: We ought to recognize the limitations of arguing our friends and family into the kingdom of God.
So, let me suggest a better way…via an analogy:
Certified Angus Beef is the best kind of beef in the world. I am convinced of this (see: macgregors.com ), and I have been equipped to wax eloquent about the superiority of Certified Angus Beef versus other brands of beef. However, the more I think about it, the more I am convinced of the limitations of my arguments. The best way for me to convince skeptics of the superiority of Certified Angus Beef is to get them to taste it for themselves. Tasting the beef will be far more convincing than any argument I could marshal.
I feel exactly the same way when it comes to sharing Jesus with my atheist friend, or with any friend for that matter. My words are imperfect. If a person’s salvation depends upon my wisdom, we’ve got a problem. Thankfully, Jesus makes Himself known in the Scriptures–He can be ‘tasted’ there.
My encouragement to my fellow Christians would be to recognize the limitations of our words. We need our unbelieving friends and family members to ‘taste’ Jesus for themselves. To this end, invite your friends to ask God to reveal Himself (invite them to pray!). Invite your friends to read a Gospel and to consider who Jesus is. Invite your friends to taste for themselves the goodness of God, which we have come to love and cherish.
Don’t get distracted by intramural arguments about translation, origins, etc. There is but one key question: What are you going to do with Jesus? Everything hinges on how one answers this question. To this end, I implore you: Taste Jesus For Yourself.