How to Evangelize When Challenged by Unbelievers

In my post yesterday (here) I advocated an approach to evangelism which tackles the sinfulness of man head-on, and challenges the unbeliever to see and explain his depravity, and therefore see his need for a Savior.

A more systematic way of applying this concept was developed by the Ray Comfort/Kirk Cameron team from The Way of the Master.  It is a brilliant way to target the sinner’s depravity and get him to admit it.

Ray Comfort developed an acronym based on four questions WDJD (described here)

Would you consider yourself a good person?

Do you think you have kept the Ten Commandments?

Judgment by the Ten Commandments: If you were judged based on those 10 commandments, would you be guilty or innocent?

Destiny: do you think you will go to heaven or hell?

A typical conversation starts with the presentation of a “little” sin like lying or cursing using God’s name.

Have you ever lied?  Have you ever taken God’s name in vain?  Have you ever lusted in your heart, or have you ever committed adultery in your heart?

The sinner will say yes. The admission of guilt is the first step in Redemption, and this is one of the strengths of Comfort’s system.

The system concentrates on the unbeliever’s sin and his admission that an action like lying is wrong.  Once the sinner admits he has lied, he is presented with the concept of a holy and just God who cannot accept anyone who is sinful.

An admission of guilt leads to the next question: do you think you can enter heaven after you have committed these sins?

At this point many unbelievers will try to justify their sin by saying they are a good person and they have done many good things in their life, ie. an attempt to gain universal salvation by works.  Like in a “Karma” system.

The unbeliever now is cornered into basically saying: “I am a liar, all liars go to hell, but… I think I go to heaven because I have done many more good things.”  This is a logical absurdity.

At this point the Gospel makes a grand entrance.

The substitutionary sacrifice of God Himself, Jesus Christ makes it possible for liars to go to Heaven if they believe and obey Him. 

The strength of WDJD is that it confronts sin as an introduction to presenting the Gospel.  This is in stark contrast to the Gospel of Love presented in many circles today… God is love, God accepts you as you are…

WDJD way of evangelizing is effective if the unbeliever accepts the Gospel after he is presented with his sinfulness.  It is logical and recommended especially in those situations where unbelievers may have a Judeo-Christian background, but they have ignored its teachings.

An evangelist must understand that exposing sin is extremely important in presenting the need for Jesus, and that is why I think WDJD is useful when you are challenged by unbelievers.

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45 comments on “How to Evangelize When Challenged by Unbelievers

  1. Todd Friel does this type of evangelism and plays it on Wednesday on his radio show. I did it few times and its amazing how easy you convict people of their sin and present the Gospel in the same time

  2. Unless the unbeliever doesn’t follow your script.

    1. Define what you mean by ‘good person’. Do you actually mean ‘perfect’?

    2. I don’t accept them as a valid, good or moral system.

    3. Given my answer to #2, why should I care?

    4. I do not accept that either such place exists due to the lack of evidence.

    • 1. “Good” would have to be compared to the absolute standard, so yes perfect.

      2. Let us consider just one commandment I that case: do not lie. Even moral relativists (most of them) consider lying as immoral and wrong.

      3. Given a guilty verdict with respect to lying, this points toward a fallen, imperfect state, a state which cannot have salvation.

      4. What if there is a possibility, even remote, that heaven and hell are real?

      • 1. Then we don’t agree on definitions, making your question moot.

        2. Individual commandments might be good…and I notice you didn’t pick one of the non-demonstrable ones. It can be demonstrated why lying, for the most part, can cause harm. If we can demonstrate it, we don’t need the commandment.

        3. I don’t accept your definitions of fallen or salvation.

        4. Possibility doesn’t matter. Evidence does. It’s possible that a magic dragon created the universe. But there’s no good evidence to suggest he did, so why should I worry about it? Do you worry about the Islamic version of hell that you’d certainly go to?

        • Let us focus on #2.

          I will even concede that an explicit commandment to not lie is not necessary.

          But that does not negate the existence of harm as a result of lying. The fact that harm exists as a result of lying, then benevolence tells us that lying is wrong. Which makes lying the wrong thing to do, which then delineates right vs wrong.

          I am using a relative moral line of thinking here.

          Once we demonstrate right vs wrong, then implicitly we have a law, a commandment that is not necessarily explicit, but it exists in our mind and heart.

          A violation of such commandment must have some consequence of moral indictment.

          Indictment leads to guilt.

          At this point one has to examine what he is to do with this guilt.

          Christ offers the solution to this problem.

        • Can you define “harm” and why is harming someone considered evil? Where do you get that concept?

  3. “At this point one has to examine what he is to do with this guilt.”

    Apologize and make amends to the person you have harmed.

    Christ offers no solution, because you haven’t demonstrated that Christ exists.

      • I believe none of the supernatural claims about that character, as there isn’t any good evidence for them. Anecdotes, written or otherwise, are not sufficient evidence to confirm supernatural events took place.

        Whether he existed or not doesn’t particularly matter to me, given this.

        • I see. It is a historical fact documented by non biblical sources that Jesus existed and was crucified by the Romans in ancient Palestine. Such accounts are in line with Gospel accounts. Most skeptics have no problem here.

          I challenge you to see that a number of Hebrew prophecies written many years prior to Christ have come true in his death… The way he was killed, the details surrounding his death, down to the clothes he wore, the way they were torn and divided among the soldiers, prophecies about his torture with specific details, etc.

          How is it possible that all these things were predicted with such high level of accuracy, if he wasn’t who he claimed he was?

  4. “It is a historical fact documented by non biblical sources that Jesus existed and was crucified by the Romans in ancient Palestine.”

    And what about that is supernatural? I don’t recall objecting to the non-supernatural parts of the Jesus story.

    “I challenge you to see that a number of Hebrew prophecies”

    Prophecies that are vague and open to interpretation. If you want refutations of those prophecies, just ask the Jews.

    “How is it possible that all these things were predicted with such high level of accuracy, if he wasn’t who he claimed he was?”

    There are multiple options: legend written after the fact, coincidence, intentional duplicity, the common fact that soldiers routinely performed certain actions like taking prisoners’ clothes, or that Jesus was supernatural.

    Of those options (and I’m sure there are more I didn’t mention), the supernatural option is the least likely.

  5. This is what happens, by the way, when an unbeliever doesn’t follow your script.

    You aren’t convincing me of anything. But the conversation is much more interesting. 🙂

  6. “Can you define “harm” and why is harming someone considered evil? Where do you get that concept?”

    Harm is physical or mental damage. It’s bad because I happen value health, happiness and general well-being.

    If a person does not value those things, then they probably don’t think harm is bad. But if that’s the case, I have no interest in interacting with them.

    • Still… harmful for one person can mean the survival for the other.. survival of the fittest..and than who is the final arbiter on what is harmful? You? The supreme court? The majority?
      And than how can you define what is evil and what is not? Where do you get that notion from? That is your belief my friend, don’t impose it on me …In some tribes in Afghanistan the majority believes that honor killings are moral, having sexual relations with little boys is moral… can you tell me why you would think that is harmful? Majority used to believe that slavery is moral, majority believes that a fetus becomes a person based on geography ( the border is about an inch of skin)…
      Is there a science experiment that can prove what is and what is not moral ?

      • “survival of the fittest”

        This is a reference to species, not individuals.

        “and than who is the final arbiter on what is harmful? ”

        Science. Most often medical science.

        “Majority used to believe that slavery is moral, ”

        And the Bible still says that slavery is moral. Both are wrong.

        • 1 species is made of individuals
          2. Science can not be the final arbiter…
          Science is human, humans err ( forced sterilisation, Mengele, and many other atrocities done in the name of science…
          3. Slavery was abolished because of Christianity…read your history…
          4. You are using Christian terms ( evil, wrong, harmful).. get your own concepts don’t use mine

  7. 1. ” species is made of individuals”

    It is. But the term “survival of the fittest” is meant to speak of species, not individual. It’s about the survival of the fittest species. And ‘fittest’ has many different definitions, depending on the circumstances.

    “Science can not be the final arbiter…”

    Sure it can. I make no claim that science is perfect. But it learns. Your implied morality has no such method for learning.

    ” forced sterilisation, Mengele, and many other atrocities done in the name of science…”

    Done in the name of pseudoscience, you mean.

    “3. Slavery was abolished because of Christianity”

    Shame that the slavemasters disagreed, and the Bible says nothing against it.

    “You are using Christian terms ( evil, wrong, harmful)”

    Such terms existed before Christianity did. Your religion doesn’t own them.

    • @NotAScientist:

      Since you do not subscribe to Christian morality or an absolute system of morality, what do you think of the various moralities developed by everyone and anyone… don’t they point to the idea of an absolute system? By virtue of relation to each other, they automatically imply that there is always a better, more correct system of morals.

      • ” don’t they point to the idea of an absolute system?”

        No.

        Though that depends entirely what you mean by ‘absolute system’.

        Given shared values and specific circumstances, I believe we can determine the most morally correct position to take. But I don’t think you would call that absolute.

    • Actually religion owns those term… with out a truth giver there are no absolutes… You should know that too…
      The reason you even know about evil is because someone had to define what good is…
      And what you call pseudo science now, it was considered science back than, what was considered science in 1800 we laugh at it now… science invented the word “fetus” and made it legal to kill it… science

  8. “NotAScientist, on what basis does a late-term abortion cause harm but a 2nd trimester or 1st trimester abortion does not?”

    If a fetus has no brain, no heart, no organs, and no nerves, I can’t see any definition of ‘harm’ that can happen to it.

    • And at what exact point in a pregnancy that might be? What if you abort a day after the baby gets nerves?
      You still didn’t answer my second question

      • You claimed I said things that I clearly didn’t say, so I have no problem not answering any of your questions.

        You’re now talking about the practicality of operating a certain type of limitation on abortion.

        I’m fine with how the abortion laws currently are.

    • As a physician I can tell you that the items you just mentioned begin forming early in the first trimester. By 7 weeks the fetus has a tiny heart that beats and blood cells are circulating through blood vessels. Who is right in determining where the cutoff point for “harm” is?

        • If you value life in late term, why not value life very early like at conception?

          The heart of the matter really isn’t abortion or abortion laws. It is the morally relative vs absolute system where we oppositely find each other!

          You see how arbitrary it can be to even define harm from which a moral-relative person will decide what is evil or what is not?

          Moral relativism and its plasticity fails miserably because by definition it depends on ever-changing values, science, mood, culture, democratic voting etc…

        • “If you value life in late term, why not value life very early like at conception?”

          Because I don’t acknowledge a fetilized egg or a clump of cells as being the moral equivalent of a more grown fetus or a human. It’s not arbitrary…if you’ve developed a brain and nerves, then we can start taking you into consideration as a human. Until then, you’re not.

          “because by definition it depends on ever-changing values”

          Ever competing values. Mine don’t change.

        • I would like to point out a serious inconsistency in your moral argument:

          “I am against late term abortion because it causes harm. This can be determined scientifically.”

          “If a fetus has no brain, no heart, no organs, and no nerves, I can’t see any definition of ‘harm’ that can happen to it.”

          “I’m fine with how the abortion laws currently are.”

          Abortion laws currently allow great harm according to your statements. But you accepts these laws as rightfully moral?

        • Again, based on your statement above…. your statements contradict themselves.

          We allow abortion for a fetus with distinct organs, nerves, blood vessels etc…

          According to the statements you made it follows that a legal abortion causes harm, yet you are ok with that..

        • “We allow abortion for a fetus with distinct organs, nerves, blood vessels etc…”

          Only when the life of the mother is in danger or the child has a medical situation that would result in them suffering and dying.

        • Actually, not true. Abortion in the first trimester and early 2nd trimester is pretty routine. By the 2nd trimester we now have an intact human being who can move, feel, hear, etc. But 23-24 premees can survive outside the womb with medical assistance.

        • Define ‘pretty routine’, when the vast majority of abortions take place in the first trimester.

          And saying that abortions take place in the second trimester in no way implies my previous statement is untrue. If the life of the mother is in danger or the baby if allowed to be born will suffer and die, it doesn’t matter if its the 2nd.

        • I am trying to make you realize that your statement saying that you are ok with abortion laws as they are, contradict your other statements.

          It is legal in the US to have a 2nd trimester abortion, and in most states one can get an abortion before 20 weeks for ANY reason.

          Now, if you sustain that it is harmful to abort a fetus with intact organ systems as in a case of a 12-20 gestational age fetus (2nd trimester), than how can you be ok with abortion laws?

          I am disappointed that you are side stepping the issue of the contradiction I have been presenting over the last several comments.

          If you made a mistake in expressing your view than that would also explain the contradiction.

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