Friday, January 23, 2009

An Atheist's Guide to Christian Evangelism

David Kizziah told Edwin about this video. Eddie and I watched it, and were pretty amazed. The guy talking is Penn, of Penn and Teller. He is a devout atheist. Check it out; it's incredible!

Let's look at what we learned:
  • Eye contact matters- it sends the message that we aren't ashamed of what we're saying, and that we genuinely care about the person to whom we are speaking.
  • We don't have to come off as lunatics- we're all afraid of looking crazy, but it isn't necassary.
  • Caring about the person is square 1- the best place to start is by knowing what the person you're talking to cares about. This guy started by complimenting Penn's work. That meant something to him because it's a priority to him. I've never believed that, "Hell is real, and it's where you're going!" was the best starting point for evangelism. Maybe it's just me, but that doesn't convey a message of love or concern, just judgement.
  • There's no such thing as a lost cause- Penn has a video series discussing the Bible as, well, something I can't say. He's vehemently against the things of God. But you know what, he saw something there for a second that he couldn't deny. It was enough to cause him to create a video and show the world. That Bible is probably sitting somewhere in His house right now. He may never open it, or he might. Fifteen years from now, fifty years from now, he may open that precious book and discover the very power of God. I've heard of it happening before. Let's pray for him. He could end up being the greatest theologian or evangelist of our time. He may not, but there's no good reason to not pray. Pray for the other people in our world who appear to be "lost causes". I don't think God recognizes that category, and I'm pretty sure that we shouldn't either.
  • It's worth it, folks!- I find one thing that he says extraordinary. "How much do you have to hate someone to not tell them?" That's a great question. We are more concerned with how we look and having friends than we are about the people all around us who are dying and going to Hell. We are more concerned with our comfort than their eternal destiny. How can we then say that the love of a God who gave His very Son for our salvation dwells within us? We come into contact with people everyday who haven't experienced love like we know it. We need to share that. We need to speak up, in love and kindness. It's easy to stand on a street corner and yell out phrases of eternal judgement. It takes guts to walk up to someone and bare your soul to them, forgetting your pride, remembering that there was a time when you were an enemy of God, just as they are now. It's by grace that we can be different. How cruel do we have to be to refuse to share it?


William Attaway said...

That's a powerful quote - I used that as a sermon illustration a few weeks ago. Amazing to hear that coming from Penn.

Nina D. Casteel said...

Hannah,I heard about this from 88.5.They played the video and I was amazed.Christians sure talk about the things that they don't approve
of,so why aren't more talking about the most important thing in our lives,GOD!!I am hoping more pastors use it in their sermons.