Today at school a couple of friends and I got together to go and share Christ with those on our college campus. At first we were going to try to do an open air session, but we were quite unsuccessful at drawing a crowd – to our credit, there weren’t very many people out to begin with. There was one young guy that did come over when we were attempting to draw a crowd (who I will now refer to as “Bob”… I always wanted to write something like that, you know, to protect the lives of the innocent and…), and since he seemed to be the only person interested in talking to us I decided that it would be nicer to talk to Bob face to face, as opposed to yelling at him from my soapbox (or bathroom stool as the case was today).
My friends and I had a very nice conversation with Bob. We all talked for probably around one and a half hours… instead of trying to give an accurate account of our whole discussion, I think it would be more beneficial to share the 3 thoughts that came to my mind upon reflecting on this witnessing encounter.
- The gospel is foolish. This is kinda’ a no-brainer, but Paul was 120% correct when he said that “the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing” (1 Corinthians 1:18). The deeper we got into the gospel, the more Bob would express (both physically and verbally) how foolish, and ignorant it seemed to him. After some explanation, and reading through parts of Isaiah 53, Bob finally understood that Jesus was punished for the crimes that he had committed. Upon realizing this he scoffed a the idea that God “spanked” Jesus for our sins (I thought this was incredible, Bob chose to scoff at one of the most attractive pieces of the gospel!).
- The gospel is offensive. In Galatians 5:11 Paul speaks of the “offense of the cross.” This was very obvious when witnessing to Bob today. We were able to talk about the cannon of scripture, supposed errors in scripture and other things of that sort without any problem. But when I, or any of the friends that I was witnessing with would make a direct claim to the truth of a particular part of scripture then we had problems. We were able to dialog and reason about general morality in a very calm manner. But once we asserted that Romans 1:18-23 is an accurate description of Bob, he started to get a bit heated (Bob did a decent job of keeping his cool, and he was by no means reckless, but it was very clear that he was moderately angered by the claims we were making). Staying in the apolagetical (is that even a word?) realm is easy, no ones feelings get hurt; but the offensive nature of the gospel is really made known when the discussion turns to the “weighter things of the law.”
- If someone asserts that they have free will, have them prove it. I am not sure how it came up, but we did get around to talking about free will. Bob (and the friend that had joined him at this point) both asserted that they had free will. I told them that they were slaves to sin (Romans 6:17), so their “free will” was limited. Now, upon looking back at this encounter, I really wish that I had asked them to prove that they really did have free will, by responding to the gospel with repentance and faith. I think this would have been a great idea because both of the possible outcomes would have been beneficial to them. They would have either 1) responded with genuine repentance and faith (which would have been awesome) or 2) they would have not responded with genuine repentance and faith. You many wonder why the second option would have been a good thing. I think that if they had consciously chose to not respond with repentance and faith, it may have then been possible to show them, in a deeper way, their spiritual impotency (Ephesians 2:1)
Those are the 3 main things that I was able to take away from my witnessing encounter with Bob.