Sometimes insurmountable obstacles turn out to be not that insurmountable. Sometimes people don’t really need answers to their questions. Sometimes people’s greatest objections to the gospel dissipate.
This sounds like heresy, doesn’t it? And the fact that it’s coming from someone who wrote a whole book about answering people’s questions could be confusing. But I’ve heard enough stories from new converts who leave gaps in their narratives where, inexplicably, they come to saving faith without all the answers they once demanded.
In fact, I’d have to say that’s a very significant part of my own story. What propelled me (humanly speaking, of course) to read the gospel according to Matthew and C. S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity was my despair about all the evil and suffering in the world. As a non-believer, I worded my “presenting problem” as, “How can a good God allow evil and suffering like the Holocaust, cancer, and the recent tragic death of my friend Jeff?”
I thought I would find the answer in those books. But I didn’t. Instead, I met the Messiah. I found another objection to the gospel (“Wasn’t Jesus just a good rabbi?”) answered with an emphatic “No” by Matthew. And I found an unspoken objection (“Why does every experience in this world leave me with a sense of disappointment?”) answered with “Because you were meant for another world!” by Lewis.
But my so-called “big” question, the problem of evil, got pushed to the side. In fact, after over 40 years as a believer and with many hours of study, I still don’t have a totally satisfying answer about the perplexity of pain. The Christian worldview, I now strongly believe, is the best framework for living in a world full of pain. It explains a lot – but not all. It helps profoundly – but not comprehensively. And that’s OK.
I hope you don’t hear me saying, “Don’t worry about people’s questions. Just point them to Jesus.” We have enough encouragement in scripture to take people’s questions seriously. 1 Peter 3:15 commands us to always be ready to “make a defense.” Colossians 4:6 tells us to “know how to answer everyone.”
But we must also remember that evangelism involves more than the intellect. Conversion consists of more than answered questions. There’s more going on than the changing of minds. The realities of being born again are multifaceted, like the wind (see John 3:8). God draws people in ways we can’t fully comprehend or diagram. Isn’t that wonderful!
Does this sound anti-intellectual? I hope not. Do you think I’m telling you to stop reading apologetics books? I’m not. I do hope you’re sensing that, in some cases, God may override people’s objections in ways that are as glorious as they are mysterious. Let’s ask him to use us as part of his amazing, inexplicable, wonderful, saving wind-work.