Picking up from where we left off on part 1, we covered how a gospel dialog is simply an everyday conversation that gets introduced to the biblical view or solution presented in God’s word. Once again, here are the steps to initiating a gospel dialog:
- Pray before, during, and after your gospel dialog.
- Be an attentive listener.
- Identify the issue.
- Express the biblical view and solution for that issue in a spirit of gentleness and love.
- Respect differences in opinion.
Share the Biblical View with Gentleness & Love
We left off at step 4. Now, I have already given an example of a segway from the worldly focus to the spiritual one in part 1. However, it’s important to mention that when you share the biblical view, that you do it in a spirit of love and grace. I don’t mean sugar-coat it. If you are asked if homosexuality is a sin, for example, clearly state the scripture’s stance on it. It’s a sin, just like sex before marriage, lying, and gossip (see 1 Cor 6:9-11). Be respectful and emphasize that your confidence in your response is based on scripture (God’s word) not human opinion.
Understand that someone people will be offended by this, because a lot of people equate respect or love with actually condoning or approving of their behavior. However, lying is not loving. If my loved one had a drug addiction, I could love them while simultaneously disapproving of their lifestyle at the same time. This kind of disagreement is bound to come up, but don’t give into the pressure to compromise. God’s word is true, though every man is a liar (Rom 3:4).
Don’t expect people to change their views right there on the spot, or people to immediately become Christians. True conversions usually take a long time, even years. You don’t need to be worried about how long it takes. You just focus on doing what God has called you to do. Who cares if you haven’t prayed a prayer with someone? If you haven’t baptized someone? God’s gonna do His job of saving folk, you just need to obey Him and walk in obedience whatever that looks like for you in whatever season you’re in.
Respect Differences in Opinion
Respect differences in opinion. Not everyone will agree with you about the Bible, including people who claim to be Christians. (Sometimes people like to create their own mish-mash religion, that incorporates elements from many different religions.) You have to respect and understand that people don’t just feel or think the way they do about spiritual things for any old reason. There are many experiences and influences behind a way a person operates spiritually. Pray for people you witness to, because it’s going to take a heart change for them to understand what you’re sharing with them and be patient. Listen to what people are saying and hear their explanations about why they feel the way they do. People don’t want to be talked at. Allow them to express their ideas as well.
This is another reason we have to be informal in our gospel presentations. People tend to build a wall when they feel preached at. Ask them questions about their beliefs, listen, and engage them in gospel dialog. Don’t dominate the conversation with a one-way gospel lecture.
I understand that we simply want people to come to accept the truth and be saved, but refusing to show the proper respect to others with opposing views is neither loving nor fruitful. Christopher Brooks adds, “By knowing a person’s distinct beliefs, you can have a far more fruitful conversation with them around their particular points of interest and disagreements with Christianity (48).”
Finally, continue to have gospel dialogs with those around you on a regular basis! Think of every gospel dialog like investment into God’s Kingdom (#escrow). When you get to Heaven God’s gonna reward you for your faithfulness, and hopefully you’ll see that person in Heaven! Keep in mind that making a worldly profit takes effort, and this is also true spiritually. Sometimes you’re going to feel like quitting, like it’s too hard, or you’ll feel like your efforts are in vain. Don’t believe that lie for one second! Everything you do for God counts, and His word confirms the significance of your efforts (1 Cor 15:58).
The Inevitable Question
Now we have to address the inevitable question that will come up as you engage in gospel dialogs. “How do you know you can trust the Bible?” If you’re going to be “Bible thumping” as some have affectionately labeled sharing the teachings of God’s word (that’s sarcasm by the way), you should also be able to give a reason that you find it trustworthy. Click here to read “5 Quick Reasons the Bible is Trustworthy!”
Next week I’ll begin a discussion on developing a Biblical worldview. As Christians we must know what God’s word has to say about things like sexuality, racism, the economy, and all the stuff we’re wrestling with today! (I’m not saying you have to know it all at once, but you should discipline yourself to search the scriptures for answers to the questions that you have as well as those of unbelievers.) So look out for that post next week!
God bless you & live Christ out loud!
Do you have any questions concerning Gospel dialogs? Chime in the conversation by leaving a comment below!