I was speaking to a man the other day, I forget much of what we disguised, but I recall feeling compelled to preach John 14:6. His response was interesting: “That’s disrespectful!” Though things got a little heated from there, I’m glad I was prompted this way because it sparked a very telling conversation.
He went on and said more. If my memory is correct, I think he started to question whether Jesus really said that (or meant that). He tried to defend Jesus (that being his unbiblical idea of Jesus), arguing that Jesus would not hold such an absolute and exclusive view.
In particular he kept commenting on the exclusive claims of Christ, saying things like: “that’s crazy,” “that’s disrespectful,” “I can’t believe that,” “that’s not right.” He talked about other religions, other scriptures and issues of interpretation. My attempts to reason with him seemed unprofitable at large (but you never know how the Lord will use those conversations!). Near the end of our talk I told him, “If I were you my knees would be shaking because one day you will stand before Jesus and He will judge you. He says in the Bible that He will judge the world. You will give an account to him.” He replied by telling Steve K. and I that we’ll have to agree to disagree and encouraged us to move on. Things ended on the friendliest note possible (in light of the nature of the exchange). Interestingly, he said what we were doing (out sharing what we believe) was good. Good? Yes, he said, “good.”
That ended our conversation. As I thought over what we had discussed, I was struck by the fervency, absoluteness and certainty of his relativism. His relativism seemed unshakable. And he was not alone. There were two others I spoke with that day who were deeply rooted in religious relativism! The one told me “when you say someone is wrong you are walking on thin ice.” The man who said this is a Chemistry prof at York U. (We talked for a long time!).
A Determined Evangelist
All that being said, not everyone believes such things. I talked to a nice Muslim man earlier that day. He would describe religious relativism as crazy. And there are lots of Muslims in Don Mills! Even so, I am determined to get better equipped to know how to better reason and preach the Gospel to committed relativists. Of course, there is nothing better than the Bible when it comes to getting equipped for the Lord’s work, but there certainly is a place for learning from others.
Alex Philip, who is a close friend of mine (and Chaplain at Peoples Christian Academy), recommended “True For You But Not For Me”: Overcoming Objections to Christian Faith by Paul Copan and Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing your Christian Convictions by . So, over the next couple of months I will be reading and reviewing selected chapters from these books. I will review them and interact with them over a number of blog posts.
So, if you’d like to read along with me, grab the books and share your comments. I pray that God will use these books to better equip us to do what the Thessalonians did – to sound forth the word of the Lord that man people may “turn from idols to serve the living and true God and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead.”(1 Thess 1:9-10). Stay tuned!