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“What if I don’t know how to answer an objection about my faith in Jesus?”
This is a top fear people face when seeking to introduce a friend or loved one to Jesus. Sadly, it will stop many Christ followers in their tracks while sharing their faith this year. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
First, we should get one thing settled – if you are actively sharing your faith, you will be stumped by an objection about the Bible, Jesus, or Christian beliefs eventually. Unless, of course, you have an immediate answer to every potential question someone may ask about our infinite, all-knowing God. If that’s the case, I need to be reading your blog. However, if you’re more like the rest of us, the question really isn’t “what if I get stumped?”; instead, the question is “when I get stumped, how should I respond?”
Here are three things to do and one very important thing to remember when you run into an objection that shortens your breath, quickens your pulse, and makes you want to exit stage left.
Ask a clarifying question
Many Christians falsely believe that when an objection is raised, the clock starts ticking, and they have a very short window of time to answer the objection. If that’s how you feel, I want you to read this next sentence carefully. When someone makes an objection, you are not on the hook to answer it; they are on the hook to explain more. You can invite them to do so with a clarifying question like, “What do you mean by that?” I think an example will help.
Joanne: “Tina, I appreciate your beliefs, but I really don’t see any good reason to believe in God.”
Tina: “Thank you for being honest. However, may I ask what you mean when you say ‘God’?”
Joanne: “Well, I just don’t think there’s an old bearded guy up there watching our every move.”
Tina: “I see, and actually, I don’t believe in an old bearded guy either – can I share a little about who God is according to the Bible?”
Look back at what Tina did (politely). She asked a what do you mean question that invited Joanne to explain more. That did two very important things: It kept the conversation moving toward the gospel, and it took all the pressure off Tina to cobble together a defense of God’s existence on the spot.
Acknowledge the objection and advance the conversation
Consider this brief exchange:
Jonathan: “I just don’t think there is any evidence that Christianity is true.”
Craig: “I definitely want to hear your thoughts about that, but can I briefly share what I believe about Jesus?”
In this short conversation, Craig isn’t interested in proving Jonathan wrong, and he isn’t avoiding the objection. In fact, he makes it clear that he wants to hear Jonathan’s thoughts. All he’s seeing permission to push the objection to the end so he can share about his faith in Christ. This can be very effective, because in some cases, someone like Jonathan has been bringing up this objection for years and has heard 1,000 reasons why Christianity makes sense (and continues to ignore them), but what he’s never heard is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“But,” you may be thinking, “what happens when they bring up the objection again and I don’t know how to respond?” Well, that leads us right into the next suggestion.
Use Your 5-word Ace Card: “Let me think about that”
If you ever feel pinned down by an objection, these five words will get you off the hook 100% of the time: “let me think about that.” Here are four reasons this phrase is so powerful:
- It lets the other person know you appreciate their objection and want the time it deserves to think about it
- It removes all pressure to provide an immediate answer
- It allows you the opportunity to set up a future time to talk
- It gives you the chance to meet with a pastor, mentor, etc. about the topic at hand so you can come prepared to the future discussion
As you can see, this simple phrase does a lot of work for you. It is quite literally your ace card in any conversation that goes sideways.
One critical thing to remember
Now that you know some helpful tactics to address objections while sharing your faith, there is one last thing to remember – and it’s vitally important.
Your job is to glorify God, not win arguments.
Too often people come to blogs like this with the goal to “not look foolish” or “to get the best of someone.” If your honest intention is to win arguments instead of souls, then your intention has more to do with glorifying your intellect than glorifying God. Sit with that for a moment before you depart to put these tactics into action. Ask God to make these a part of your efforts to glorify Him as He opens opportunities for you to share the wondrous message of the cross.