By Dr. Don Bierle, FaithSearch President
FaithSearch International is in its forty-first year of evangelism ministry. Throughout that entire time our mission has not changed: “To extend the Gospel with evidence to all peoples everywhere.” The “Gospel with evidence” means that we answer “why” questions as well as “what” questions about the Christian faith.
Today, with the rise of secular humanism and socialism, the abandoning of the Church, and an anti-God worldview, our mission to defend the truthfulness of the Bible and Christian faith is more relevant than at any previous time of our ministry.
In 2019, it is time to call Christians everywhere to the Holy Spirit-revealed appeal of the apostle Peter:
Simply reverence the Lord Christ in your hearts, and always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you all have. But give it with courtesy and respect and with a clear conscience… (1 Peter 3:15, Jerusalem Bible).
Peter’s appeal for the use of evidence (reasons) to provide answers to an unbelieving world is what we are calling “A 3:15 Response.” I will outline four components of this response in this issue of the Paraclete. In subsequent issues I will elaborate each of the components.
1. My STORY: “May I share with you what God has done in my life?”
Only if there is transformation evident in our lives will it peak the interest of the watching world. Jesus alluded to this when told us, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16, NASB). There should be a contrast between lives lived “with God” versus lives “without God”! The difference Christ has made in us is our story. Additional details and the preparation of “My Story” will be in the next issue of the Paraclete.
2. My WORLDVIEW: “These components help me to think like Jesus.”
A 3:15 Response is to act like Jesus twenty-four hours a day. We can only do this when we think like Jesus. “For as he thinks within himself, so he is” the Proverb says (23:7, NASB). The life of the believer and the life of the unbeliever are different because their convictions about God, the Bible, and Jesus Christ are different. These components together with our understanding of humanity, the universe, and time define our worldview. Society may support views which are repugnant to a Christian. Both think they are right! The reason “why” will be apparent when I develop “My Worldview” in a later issue of the Paraclete.
3. My REASONS: “Biblical and external evidence support my worldview.”
God is gracious in that He has left His fingerprints in nature and history. The evidence of Intelligent Design detectable in the creation, and the eyewitness accounts of His incarnation are quite adequate to prevent atheism for the honest seeker. The discoveries of archaeology have confirmed that the people, the places, and the events recorded in the Bible are historically reliable. Sharing these reasons leads unbelievers to take the Word of God seriously. Strengthening “My Reasons” is part of A 3:15 Response. Details will be forthcoming.
4. My INVITE: “I want to invite you to become a follower of Jesus.”
The primary reason Christians tend not to prepare A 3:15 Response in this area is because they are not convinced that unbelievers are lost for eternity and because of the fear of asking. If we are not prepared to offer a salvation summary; to suggest a prayer of confession and faith commitment; nor able to provide spiritual nurture to a new Christian; why would God trust us with an opportunity and the privilege of leading someone to Christ? God will use anyone who is prepared with “My Invite.” A discussion of this will be the subject of a future issue of the Paraclete.
In the forty days after His resurrection, Jesus was passionate that His followers share the Good News with everyone of the availability of forgiveness and life after death in heaven. It is recorded in the Bible on several occasions (Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 24:46-48; Acts 1:8).
A 3:15 Response is one way FaithSearch can assist you to become equipped to fulfill Jesus’ heart. Stay tuned!