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Joined: 2004/6/28
Posts: 141

 Ahhh!! Well-informed 'agnostics'!!

I had a lady today who doesnt go to church who said: "I was brought up in a bretheren church as a little girl, lovely people but they were so legalistic it scared me to bits. I saw so many inconsistencies too, like one guy who gets a pension, even though he owns $6mil in property. Anyway, what I don't understand is how God can say one thing and do a different one. He says to not worry about food or about tomorrow, yet He lets children die of starvation and be assulted and infected with AIDS, isnt that not keeping his promise?"

She was on a roll, I stopped her a few times about some other things and explained more, but she was well churched, knew passages off by heart (hated that they made her learn them) and was really a tough one. I let her keep raving because I didnt know what to say! In paticular, I'm a little stumped on the last question... any clues? :-)


 2005/10/24 4:36Profile

Joined: 2005/1/5
Posts: 432

 Re: Ahhh!! Well-informed 'agnostics'!!

Ravenhill says that "the world isn't waiting for a new definition of Christianity, it's waiting for a new demonstration of Christianity."

It's a hard one. Sounds like this lady has built up some heavy-duty walls against God. Moreso, it sounds like she has some hard-core scars. Does she have some background that makes her hate the Church, or is it just that she didn't understand?

The hearts of men are wicked. And sometimes, no matter how obvious the truth is, we can't force a person to come to know Christ.

Ray Comfort has a debate against an athiest about weather or not there is a God. Comfort was amazing- he brought out obvious proofs in things like a banana and a coke can. He tugged at your conscience. Yet still, this athiest was ruthless. He didn't give proofs on why Comfort was wrong, he tore a Comfort's methods.

One of the most powerfull witnesses we have, especially with those who know us, is our character. Do they see that we know that what we preach is real, or do they see a "Sunday Christian"?

And don't forget prayer.

Grace and Peace...

 2005/10/24 6:52Profile

 Re: Ahhh!! Well-informed 'agnostics'!!

It's the age old question, if God is just and created everything, why is there so much injustice in the world? If God is love and created everything, why is there so much hatred in the world?

Good questions that are hard to answer.

My response is to ask more personal experience questions, and not give answers.

Do you recognize the Holy Spirit in your life? Does It speak to you? How do you know right from wrong? etc. These more personal questions bring the immediacy and availability of the Holy Spirit to the fore.

The personal God of Love is more comprehensible than the concept of a Universal Creator God, which seems distant and cold. (Yes, Ron, I believe in a Universal Creator God and evolution.)

Hope this helps.


 2005/10/24 16:54

Joined: 2005/10/18
Posts: 490


Do you recognize the Holy Spirit in your life? Does It speak to you? How do you know right from wrong? etc. These more personal questions bring the immediacy and availability of the Holy Spirit to the fore.

Does God speak to us? Absolutely. Isaiah 30 has this passage: 19 O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. 20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. [b]21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." [/b] 22 Then you will defile your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, "Away with you!"

The Holy Spirit quickens the heart and says don't do this, do this, don't do that. For example, if I'm upset with my wife, he will say, don't be angry with her and I'll have to go to the prayer closet or find somewhere to pray.

How do I know it's God for example when He says don't eat that? I know because once I step into what He has asked me to do, joy rises up in my heart. It's incredible but there no mistaking it for anything else.

If it's my flesh or an evil spirit, I won't have the joy. It's rather difficult to articulate but that's the best I could do in a short message...

Ed Pugh

 2005/10/24 17:19Profile

Joined: 2005/8/1
Posts: 201
North West England

 Re: Ahhh!! Well-informed 'agnostics'!!

The only answer I have to these questions is to say that God does give poor people money and food, but He gives it to us to give to them and we keep it instead of passing it on. Here's an analogy (SP!) As a father, I often walk through a town or shop with my children, when they see a collection pot or busker, they want to give some money so I give them some and they give it or put it in the pot. The money is not theirs it's for the charity, if I gave it to them and they ran off and bought sweets with it then I wouldn't be happy. God gives us (in the West) plenty of money so we can help others, but we keep it for ourselves. God does help the needy but He uses us to do it and when they don't get it it is cos we don't give enough. Ravenhil says we will be accountable for every penny we've earned since becoming His, it's an awsome responsibility!


 2005/10/24 17:23Profile

Joined: 2004/6/28
Posts: 141

 Re: Evangelism - Playing the devil's advocate...

May I play the devil's advocate a little, and maybe say what someone on the street would say?

"Well I know about suffering, being brought up in church and all. I know
1 Peter 3:12, [i]"For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the LORD is against those who do evil.”[/i]
and 2 Peter 3:9 [i]"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."[/i]
and Rom 5:12 [i]"Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—"[/i]

So it is clear according to Christian doctrine, WHY bad things happen in the world. But as children starve, walk across land mines, are abused and infected with AIDS, how can we possible see Jesus' words as truth when He says in Matt 6:25-26 [i]“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?"[/i]
It sounds like an outright contradiction. They starve to death and ar told not to worry?"

[size=xx-small]Note: I know this is a very well versed sounding person, but the one I came across knew whole passages! I don't want to get along relying on someone's ignorance, or distract them. Thats pushy-salesperson style, and not Christian. I always want to give an answer (1 Peter 3:15)


 2005/10/24 18:12Profile

Joined: 2005/10/21
Posts: 133
Wellington, Ohio

 Re: Ahhh!! Well-informed 'agnostics'!!

It would be important to note that Jesus is talking to people who would follow Him. This promise is not for those who refuse to follow Him. If my unsaved mom quit her job based on that promise, she would be in a world of trouble. Jesus is almost making a contrast between those who follow Him and those who are in the world (such as those starving children). What is the number one thing the world thinks about (in general)? Survival... getting through today, making it to tomorrow. Here in america it is having enough money to pay the bills, in other countries it is having enough food to avoid starvation. What Jesus said is extremely radical, because to not worry about survival is absolutely crazy in the eyes of the World. How many times have you determined to trust God, and had the counsel of a dozen unsaved (or even, unfortunately, sometimes Christian) friends and family tell you that you are insane? You hear all of the cliche's "God takes care of those who take care of themselves", "We all pray", "Everyone wants to believe that, but how often does it actually work like that?"... well... i have seen it work like that a thousand and one times. But they have never seen it. Why? Because they are not children of God. God has offered this promise to those who would drop lose their lives (including losing all of their daily concerns) and follow Him. He has said that if you drop all of your worries and cares, and follow me, and "Seek ye first the kingdom of God"... then... "All of these things shall be added unto you". Essentially, if you jump off the edge of this cliff in order to come to me, I will keep you from falling. Or, "if you step out of the boat to come after me, I will keep you from sinking."

These children may be starving, but they may be spiritually rich. It is sad to think about these children, but it is even more sad to think about the billions who are starving spiritually because they refuse to drop their cares and seek God.

What this lady doesnt realize is that whether you were rich and died in luxury, or whether you starved to death on a street in Calcutta, it isnt going to be a very big deal in the end. She is starving spiritually, and we should feel for her just as much as those starving children. She rejects God based on material things, because she cant have an eternal mindset. I think in many of these situations people have disguised their own rejection of God in a false "compassion".

Joe E

 2005/10/24 18:58Profile

Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7470

 Re: Ahhh!! Well-informed 'agnostics'!!

Sir, sounds to me like she is fighting God or conviction and using this question as an excuse to not surrender. Methinks there is a deeper issue involved then why there are poor people.

This female reminded me of a quote by Ravi Zacharias: "Is it possible that somewhere in the deepest recesses of the human heart we are not really battling intellectual ideas as much as fighting for the right of our sexual proclivities (def.: an inherent inclination, esp. toward something objectionable) and our passionate indulgences?
~Ravi Zacharias, Lessons from the Battle of Ideas, 11-21

Hope this may help...


Sandra Miller

 2005/10/24 19:27Profile

Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


Sir, sounds to me like she is fighting God or conviction and using this question as an excuse to not surrender. Methinks there is a deeper issue involved then why there are poor people.

Ginnyrose may be on to something here I believe. Many people who are themselves reluctant to help the poor, are still willing to use the poor as rhetorical weapons to produce guilt and shame in others.


Mike Compton

 2005/10/24 22:00Profile

Joined: 2004/10/13
Posts: 2132

 Soveriegn God

I'm speaking personally here. There's alot I can't explain about God or His actions , therefore I don't. I usually just let them know I don't have the answer and then ask them something that makes them focus back on the condition of thier own soul.
The very fact that that lady wanted to place blame or accusation shows that she had a God conscienciousness. Her next line of defense would be to point to the church or some backslidden christian or some other excuse. Same thing , I refuse to answer for the actions of another, again I usually say "I don't know" and again get them to focus on the condition of thier own soul.

If you understand the true function of "conscience" then it will change the entire way you approach one on one evangelism. Always bring the focus back to the individual, no matter what. The Holy Spirit is wonderful at bringing about conviction. He has the full history of the individuals life to draw upon.

Rember , we'er witnesses, not professors bringing about some great doctrine :-( We share what Jesus has done for us and others we know. There's something about being real that breaks down walls people put up.


 2005/10/24 22:03Profile

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