Engaging Skeptics

When is the last time you had a meaningful discussion with a skeptic? How many non-believers are you in conversation with on a regular basis?

It’s amazing to me how we often get so excited about learning apologetics that we forget to practice it! Pastor Dan Kimball wrote an article for my book Apologetics for a New Generation called, “A Different Kind of Apologist.” Dan describes how when he first became a Christian he became motivated to learn as much apologetics as possible. He went to apologetics conferences, studied books on defending the faith, and even started an apologetics club at his church.

As many people would put it today, Dan was “fired up” about his faith. But ironically, the more he learned apologetics the less he actually practiced it with non-believers. In other words, the more head knowledge he gained the less he actually used it. How ironic! Sadly, this happens all the time in the church, especially to apologists (of which I count myself).

We simply cannot let this happen. We need to step out of our comfort zones and engage a non-believing world. Recently I did just this. I actually invited myself to sit on the “hot seat” for a local freethinking group in southern California. I was definitely nervous, but it ended up being one of the best experiences of my life. I made some new friends, broke down some misconceptions, and had a chance to share my faith with 20 skeptics.

I was quite surprised at how eagerly they welcomed me. They were amazed that a Christian was willing to come to their group and they treated me with appreciation and respect. I can’t promise that it will always be like this. But we only know if we try. So, I leave with the question again—When is the last time you had a meaningful discussion with a skeptic? How many non-believers are you in conversation with on a regular basis?

Sean McDowell graduated summa cum laude from Talbot Theological Seminary with a double Master’s degree in Philosophy and Theology. He teaches Bible at Capistrano Valley Christian Schools, is a nationally recognized speaker, and has authored many articles and books, including Is God Just and Human Invention, Apologetics for a New Generation, and Ethics: Being Bold in a Whatever World. This blog post is based on his article “What Skeptics Want Christians to Know” in the Volume 34, No. 3 issue of the Christian Research Journal (a 6-issue subscription is $39.50). To read the full article, please subscribe or renew your subscription or give a gift subscription.

Sean McDowell joins host Hank Hanegraaff on the Bible Answer Man broadcast on June 21, 2011 to discuss his article. Tune in at 6PM ET at our website, www.equip.org!

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