How to witness to an athiest?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by mattjtayl, Oct 29, 2008.

  1. mattjtayl

    mattjtayl
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    I got chewed out in public chat online for witnessing to an athiest. I was told that the way to witness is not to jam it down anyone's throat and to let them come to you and only if they wanted to talk.

    I explained to them that I was once an athiest myself in college and understood where many of these athiests were coming from. I was trying to point out their flaws in athiesm and convert them christianity because I love them, I don't want anyone to go to hell and want them to be saved. For if I said nothing to them and didn't try to turn them to God I feel I would not love them.

    A person on the chat channel told me I was doing it all wrong. She had gone through 4 years of college in bible study, so therefore she felt she qualified herself as an expert on the subject. She told me I should respect different religions and not try to be confrontational with them. She said it even says in the bible to do that. That if they debate or arque with you to drop the subject and move on.

    She felt witnessing should only be friendly, non confrontational talk, and they should come to me and I shouldn't come to them. Was I wrong?
     
  2. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    She's wrong and you're right. Paul debated in Athens in the marketplace. But when he was asked up to Mars Hill he adopted a different, less confrontational stance, without compromising his message.

    Don't ever worry that the way you witness to an atheist will run him off. He's already run off.

    The Holy Spirit is perfectly able to use our feeblest efforts by opening minds and hearts to the gospel.
     
  3. Magnetic Poles

    Magnetic Poles
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    Depends on the rules of the chat room. If they have a no proselytizing rule, then that is the owner's right.
     
  4. Jim1999

    Jim1999
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    My experience over the years is that your personal testimony is the best witness. Most other approaches can lead to senseless argumentation which takes you nowhere and leaves you there.

    They can debate your viewpoints, but it is difficult to refute your personal testimony. They can disbelieve it, but it remains your experience.

    Remember, it is not our job to "convert" anyone. That is the Holy Spirit's work absolutely. Our jb is to take the message; the results are God's.

    Cheers, and bless your efforts,

    Jim
     
  5. Jim1999

    Jim1999
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    duplicated for some reason..Sorry
     
    #5 Jim1999, Oct 29, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 29, 2008
  6. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    Jim, your comments are so wise, they're worth saying twice.
     
  7. canadyjd

    canadyjd
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    Amen, brother, amen.:thumbs:

    peace to you:praying:
     
  8. Revmitchell

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    Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God ~Romans 10:17
     
  9. Marcia

    Marcia
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    I think dialoguing and asking questions to show the implications of their beliefs is a good approach. It depends on what is meant by "confrontational." Sometimes that's okay if you are a certain point in the dialogue/debate and you are being confrontational in a kind but firm way.

    I do not think Paul was being that non-confrontational on Mars Hill. On the contrary, although he started off showing some "common ground" (quoting the pagan poets), he got pretty direct, basically telling them that their idols were worthless and God does not dwell in things made by men's hands.

    Then he gave the gospel about a resurrected Jesus and some sneered. But some believed. That is the way it is. (There are some who believe Paul was being sarcastic at the beginning about the "unknown god" - there are debates on this issue).

    Also, I do not think there is necessarily just one approach - it depends on whom you are talking to, the situation (short term or long term), your relationship with this person, and how they are responding (or not). Always ask that the Holy Spirit help you in witnessing.
     
  10. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    Marcia, I would add that we should not only ask the Holy Spirit to help us, but also to work on the other person, as well. With his illuminating, convicting and drawing work, human effort will fail.
     
  11. 4His_glory

    4His_glory
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    No you are not wrong. The woman reflects the typical postmodern wishy-washy evangelicalism that is all too common today. The gospel IS confrontational by nature.

    When we witness we are telling people something that by nature they do not want to hear, and apart from the supernatural working of the Spirit in their heart, they will not hear.
    I applaud your effort. Never shy from declaring the gospel pure and simple although it be an offense. Let God use your faithful testimony to change hearts and lives.
     
  12. 4His_glory

    4His_glory
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    And a triple amen to Jim.
    You nailed it with clarity brother.
     
  13. Marcia

    Marcia
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    Yes, you are absolutely right!
     
  14. Gold Dragon

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    I agree that the gospel message is a confrontational one. But I don't think it is a requirement to present it with a confrontational attitude. Sometimes that attitude is required and maybe this was one of those times, but I would say for the most part, it isn't.

    There has been some good points presented in this thread so far. :thumbs:
     
    #14 Gold Dragon, Nov 1, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 1, 2008
  15. Born_in_Crewe

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    While some people may find the Gospel a confrontational and perhaps unpalatable one, it should not (in most cases) be presented in a confrontational or aggressive way.

    Atheists for me are possibly the hardest people to witness to, because (a) they don't believe in God; and (b) many of them don't want to believe in God and actually hope he doesn't exist. I can't give you too much advice but your best hope is to try and listen to their arguments for no God and then try and address them, and explain why you believe. Obviously your own testimony will help you as well, and may be more helpful than a scientific or theological argument.
     
  16. webdog

    webdog
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    Get them to be gnostic...then you have something to work with ;)

    Ask them to prove a negative (there is no God). It's an impossibility. The only possible thing they can come up with is there "might" be a God. This will give you something to work with "if" there is :)
     
  17. Jim1999

    Jim1999
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    Another way to witness to an atheist is to establish the historicity of the man Jesus. Once this is established, you can discuss the resurrection of Jesus. Outline the events surrounding his burial and disappearance from the tomb. One book calls it, Who rolled the stone? Once you establish some fact to Jesus' resurrection, you can establish who Jesus is and what He did in our behalf. It is a documented way to present the gospel. This is the time one can present the various applicable scriptures of redemption.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  18. Bro. Curtis

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    AMEN. Very good, Godly counsel.
     
  19. Salamander

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    The "no-confrontationals" are usually self-awarding or just plain lazy to witness to others. They think too much of themselves and forget it's the Lord that convinces others all the while using those who take a step forward.

    I haven't read the book and not even sure if this is the right title, but it's something like "A Walk Across The Room".

    I was told by a good Christian lady that it entails the effort of simply going to some one, ( not waiting for them to come to you) to present the Gospel.

    Jesus told us to go! not wait for them to come to us.

    The only thing you did "wrong" was not subject yourself to somebody else's "authority"!
     

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