My Armor 15: “Debating” Christianity with an Atheist

My Armor 15: “Debating” Christianity with an Atheist February 21, 2014

What does the Bible say in regard to discussing Christianity with not just non-believers, but atheists?

Most atheists become convinced of their stance toward God from an intellectual point of view.  But remember- there are a lot of really bright, intelligent atheists; and there are a lot of really bright, intelligent Christians.  The thing is that Biblical facts are true regardless of people’s brainpower.

1 Corinthians 1:18-21 (Living Bible) says:

18 I know very well how foolish it sounds to those who are lost,[b] when they hear that Jesus died to save them. But we who are saved* recognize this message as the very power of God. 19 For God says, “I will destroy all human plans of salvation no matter how wise they seem to be, and ignore the best ideas of men, even the most brilliant of them.”

20 So what about these wise men, these scholars, these brilliant debaters of this world’s great affairs? God has made them all look foolish and shown their wisdom to be useless nonsense. 21 For God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never find God through human brilliance, and then he stepped in and saved all those who believed his message, which the world calls foolish and silly.

Now, atheists place their security in the scholarly, brilliant debates of the world’s “wisemen”.  However, the Christian’s security is not.  Therefore, it’s rare that any Christian could argue or debate someone into believing in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Redeemer of the world.

1 Peter 3:15 says:

15 Quietly trust yourself to Christ your Lord, and if anybody asks why you believe as you do, be ready to tell him, and do it in a gentle and respectful way.

Notice that it doesn’t say anything about being confrontational or argumentative.  And by the way, it says, “if anybody asks”.  It doesn’t say to turn around to the nearest person in the checkout line at the grocery store and proselytize.  Nor does it say to stand in front of your local sports arena with a giant cardboard sign proclaiming “Turn or Burn!”

Many Christians seem to believe that the louder they are, the more likely their message will be heard.

But, as a Calvinist, I believe that God chose us based on the counsel of His own will, beyond our understanding and before we are born.  Therefore, if we’re chosen to be saved before we’re even born, why would I even minister to people or share the Good News with people?

We do it because that’s what God tells us to do.

You see, if your Dad tells you to go outside and water the trees as he’s leaving for work, he’s not telling you to grow the fruit.  He’s simply asking you to water the tree and He will take care of growing the fruit.

Through your gentle words, God can bring even an atheist to Him, but it is Him who does the calling, not you that does the convincing.

1 Corinthians 3:6-7 says:

My work was to plant the seed in your hearts, and Apollos’ work was to water it, but it was God, not we, who made the garden grow in your hearts. The person who does the planting or watering isn’t very important, but God is important because he is the one who makes things grow.

But back to why and how we are chosen by God.

I look at Romans 9:9  which says:

For God had promised, “Next year I will give you and Sarah a son.” 10-13 And years later, when this son Isaac was grown up and married and Rebecca his wife was about to bear him twin children, God told her that Esau, the child born first, would be a servant to Jacob, his twin brother. In the words of the Scripture, “I chose to bless Jacob but not Esau.” And God said this before the children were even born, before they had done anything either good or bad. This proves that God was doing what he had decided from the beginning; it was not because of what the children did but because of what God wanted and chose.

14 Was God being unfair? Of course not. 15 For God had said to Moses, “If I want to be kind to someone, I will. And I will take pity on anyone I want to.” 16 And so God’s blessings are not given just because someone decides to have them or works hard to get them. They are given because God takes pity on those he wants to.

Now, I know that many of you are saying, “Wait, that doesn’t sound fair at all!”

But Jesus saving us through His sacrifice isn’t about fairness.  It’s not about being saved because of something you have or have not done.  It’s about God’s grace and mercy.

Romans 9 continues:

19 Well then, why does God blame them for not listening? Haven’t they done what he made them do?

20 No, don’t say that. Who are you to criticize God? Should the thing made say to the one who made it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 When a man makes a jar out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar beautiful, to be used for holding flowers, and another to throw garbage into? 22 Does not God have a perfect right to show his fury and power against those who are fit only for destruction, those he has been patient with for all this time?

See, here’s the deal.  It’s not that God is sending to hell people who want to be saved.  It’s not punishment that sends people to hell, it’s justice.  He had been patient with them their entire lives, but it’s justice that places them in an eternal existence away from God.

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