It is no surprise that America has become a post-Christian nation dominated by secularism. The news media, major universities, and elite institutions control the conversation of our culture. Skepticism is growing in power and influence.
The number of those not attending church is steadily growing in the United States. The percentage of Americans who have “no religious preference” has tripled in the last decade. Faith in God is on the decline or so it seems.
But despite the dim outlook, many churches who hold to the fundamentals of the Bible are actually exploding. Even in secular Europe, there is growth in church attendance. Similarly in academia, religious faith is growing. It is estimated that ten to twenty-five percent of all the teachers and professors of philosophy in the country are Christians, up from less than one percent just thirty years ago.
In short, the world is polarized over religion. It is getting more religious and less religious at the same time. This leads to an odd juxtapose. Both believers and skeptics feel threatened because both are on the rise.
Three generations ago, most people inherited their faith. Today, people choose their faith. And sadly, many are opting for a less-religious life.
As a result, we have become deeply divided as a nation politically—particularly on matters of faith and morality. People are deadlocked. Those who reject a biblical worldview are seen as the “enemies of the truth.” While those who hold to their faith in God are viewed as “forcing their religious beliefs on the rest of society.”
So if both parties are at an impasse, what can we do to change the tide? If we don’t reason with skeptics, but only denounce them, how will they ever come to the knowledge of the truth? The Bible says in Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” The Apostle Peter challenged Christians to, “Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).
Skeptics are not going away any time soon. So how can we find a way to share biblical truth with those who reject its basis?
Pray For Them
Prayer is the start. We need to pray and ask God to soften their hearts and provide opportunities. When we pray, we acknowledge that we rely on the Lord’s power. We must not be confident in our own knowledge. “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3). It is the Holy Spirit who draws people to Jesus. “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (John 16:7–11). Jesus again declared in John 12:32, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”
Show Them You Care
We must speak the truth in love. Treat nonbelievers with gentleness and meekness. “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:15). When we witness to others, we are not trying to win debates. We are trying to lead them to Christ.
Do not try to prove God’s existence beyond all reasonable doubt. Though we may try, it can give someone the impression he is a project to be conquered. Our goal should be more humble. The ultimate objective is for him to see that belief in God is more reasonable than the rejection of God. Another important element in sharing Christ with family members is to incorporate Him into day-to-day life. Evangelism shouldn’t just be something we do in the world and then get back to normal living. It should involve incorporating faith into our natural living situations. We talk about everything else that’s important to us; why not talk about Christ the same way?
We should treat skeptics with the same courtesy as we do our friends. Talk with them. Get to know some of their friends. Share their enthusiasm for hobbies. Learn to be their friend. God will open doors if we show them we care.
Share the Scriptures
Be willing to plant the seed of the gospel. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Whether or not they believe, God promises His Word will not return void. “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
When you trace the spread of Christianity in the book of Acts, it doesn’t mark skyrocketing fame of Peter or Paul. When the Bible describes the spread of the early church, it says that, “The word of God increased” (Acts 6:7). Later on it says that the Word of God, “Grew and multiplied” (Acts 12:24). Again later, it says, “So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed” (Acts 19:20). The triumph of God’s local church was a victory of God’s Word.
Over and over, God presents His Word as the source of our faith and growth. “And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God” (Luke 4:4). The Bible carries the power to break up hardened hearts. “Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29).
These truths aren’t new. You may have all these Scriptures memorized. You may know that God promises to bless His Word, but do you believe it?
Remember that for a skeptic to believe that God exists is only the beginning. They still need to be persuaded that Jesus is the Son of God, Who died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead to conquer death for us. Unless skeptics accept the true Jesus of the Bible as their personal Saviour, they are still outside the Kingdom of God.
Anchor Your Faith
We worry about the local economy, cultural decline, fragmented families, short attentions, political elections, Islamic terrorism, the national debt, skepticism—and that’s just after watching the 5 o’clock news. Remember that God has already warned us that this day would come, and He has given us our instructions to continue in the doctrines we have learned. “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them” (2 Timothy 3:13–14). In order to help our churches, our families, and our own lives grow into Christ-like maturity, we must be saturated with God’s Word. Nothing else carries the promise of God’s power.