One of the reasons I’ve always appreciated C.S. Lewis is that he understood there was a distinction between God and our words about him and, still more, our arguments for him. Would to God that more of the apologetics subculture (including the author of certain books written by the man married to my wife) internalized the wisdom and humility of his prayer:
From all my lame defeats and oh! much more
From all the victories that I seemed to score;
From cleverness shot forth on Thy behalf
At which, while angels weep, the audience laugh;
From all my proofs of Thy divinity,
Thou, who wouldst give no sign, deliver me.
Thoughts are but coins. Let me not trust, instead
Of Thee, their thin-worn image of Thy head.
From all my thoughts, even from my thoughts of Thee,
O thou fair Silence, fall, and set me free.
Lord of the narrow gate and the needle’s eye,
Take from me all my trumpery lest I die.
One of the things I realized some years ago that rolled a great weight off my shoulders was that nobody has ever “converted” another person to Christ. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. We are children standing next to Dad while he works under the hood of the car on an engine we are too small to even see and could not understand if we did. Now and then, he asks for a wrench and we hand it to him and imagine we are “helping fix the car”. But in truth, he is doing it all and graciously making us participants in his work. Sometimes he says, ‘Okay. Start her up” and we turn the key and somehow it works. If we are wise, we say, “Dad fixed the car.” If we are naive, we say “Me and Dad fixed the car” and if we are bloody fools, we say, “I fixed the car.” Evangelism is purely a work of grace. We get to help and, if we can keep our egos out of the way, the Spirit is gracious enough to let our fumbles work to the good.
The second most disastrous thing somebody can say is, “I am a Christian because of so and so.” If that is your reason, then you will face a grave spiritual crisis when so and so fails you–as they surely will. Jesus alone is the reason for being a believer, not any mere mortal.
The most disastrous thing somebody can say is, “That person is a Christian because of me.” If you cultivate that blasphemous pride, you are headed for disaster, because sooner or later, you will fail them. If you want to do this work, make double damn sure that the people to whom you witness place their faith in Jesus and not in you. Make disciples of Christ, not fanboi of your precious self.