Monday, April 02, 2007

Don't Fear Fools

“I’m uncomfortable witnessing to people. What if they ask me a question I can’t answer? What if the person is college educated, a teacher, or a scientist? What if the person is a philosopher? How do I argue with someone who is probably smarter than me about the existence of God?”

Many Christians are intimidated by people they assume are more intelligent than they are. Are there people in the world that are smarter than you are? Yes. Oh, by the way, I have no delusions of grandeur. I know there are people in the world far more intelligent than me. I talk to smart people almost daily. But I’m not afraid of them—especially those who doubt or deny the existence of God. Why? Because when I talk to such people I am reminded that the Bible describes them with one simple, unarguable, definitive word—“fool.”

“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; there is no one who does good” (Psalm 14:1).

“Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds, and four-footed animals and crawling creatures” (Romans 1:22-23).

I am not suggesting that we walk around, pointing a finger at agnostics and atheists, angrily and disdainfully telling them that they are fools. What I am suggesting is that Christians have no reason to fear people that God refers to as fools. No matter what a person’s academic credentials might be, no matter how intelligent or philosophical the person sounds, if they doubt or deny the existence of God, they are foolish. They are lost. They are bound for hell.

Instead of fearing such people, the Christian should lovingly, sympathetically, graciously, and kindly present them with the Truth that will save their lives—“repent and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Remember, if you are a born-again follower of Jesus Christ, then He has not given you a spirit of fear. Rather, He has given you a spirit of power, and love, and discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).

There is no reason to fear a foolish person when engaging him or her in spiritual conversation. You know the Truth. They do not. You believe the Truth. They do not. You are relying on the infallible, inerrant, God-breathed Scriptures. They are relying on their fallible, sin-stained intellect. You are relying on the wisdom of the Word. They are relying on the wisdom of the world. You are clothed in the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). They are unarmed.

So, speak the truth in love. “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).

Remember who your intellectual opponent is at heart.

“The way of the fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel” (Proverbs 12:15).

“A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is arrogant and careless” (Proverbs 14:16).

“Wisdom is in the presence of the one who has understanding, but the eyes of the fool are on the ends of the earth” (Proverbs 17:24).

“A fool does not delight in understanding, but only in revealing his own mind” (Proverbs 18:2).

“He who trusts his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered” (Proverbs 28:26).

“And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink, and by merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared.’ So is the man who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:19-21).

Yes, there are people in the world smarter than you. Some of them doubt or deny the existence of God. They are fools. God’s Word is true. When you engage them in conversation, they may respond arrogantly and carelessly. Their eyes may remain fixed on the world around them, blind to the Creator’s work. Their only reason for talking to you may be to hear themselves talk. And they may continue to put their trust in their own heart—a heart that is deceitful and wicked (Jeremiah 17:9).

Be that as it may, if you really care about them, you will not fear the fool. You will talk to them. You will share with them the only message that will save their lives—the gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:16). Remember, this very night their soul may be required of them.

Don’t fear fools.

No comments: