As Christians it is important to share our faith. It is also important to learn how to share our faith and how to have conversations with people of other faiths that are edifying to the Lord. Jesus claims to be the only way to salvation. As a result, we believe that the Christian faith is the only way to salvation. While believing that our faith is the only correct and true faith, we can still talk to others about their beliefs in love without being abrasive or rude.
In the opening verses of Romans 1, Paul states that he is not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God to salvation. As Christians, we should be proud of our faith. We may not always be proud of how some we or other Christians represent our faith, but our faith itself should not cause us any problems. This is because we believe that our faith is True – we believe that our faith is genuine and that it is correct.
Ravi Zacharias once stated, “All religions are not the same. All religions do not point to God. All religions do not say that all religions are the same.”
If our faith is unique. It claims to be the only way to a right relationship with God. If our religion is True, then it has something other religion are missing. If our faith is not true, then we as Christians are just as lost as everyone else. Zacharias went on to say that “Every religion at its core is exclusive.” All the major religions in the world claim to be true. Since they have each have claims that are in conflict with other religions, they cannot all be equally valid. As a result, some religions must be false.
Zacharias conclude his discussion on religions by noting that “All-inclusive philosophies can only come at the cost of truth. And no religion denies its core beliefs.”
If we are to share our faith because we believe it is true, we must also know what we believe.
Dallas Theological Seminary requires that their students believe seven things in order to attend as students:
The Full Deity and Humanity of Christ,
The Spiritual Lostness of the Human Race
The Substitutionary Atonement and Bodily Resurrection of Christ
Salvation by Faith Alone in Christ Alone
The Physical Return of Christ
The Authority and Inerrancy of Scripture
Christians have long regarded these seven beliefs as basics of the Christian faith. When dealing with groups that are similar to Christians but who are not actually Christian groups, we find at least one of four patterns. These patterns can be explained by using basic math equations.
+ Addition – does the group add to the word of God
– Subtraction – does the group subtract from the person of Christ
X Multiplication – does the group multiply the requirements for salvation
% Division – does the group divide the loyalty of its members between God and its leaders
What separates true Christians from false teachers is that true Christians follow the teachings of Christ, the Old Testament Prophets, and the New Testament Apostles. They do not add to the Word of God, they do not detract from the person of Christ, they do not believe that we are saved by faith plus works, and they do not attempt to be divisive in the body of Christ. True Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died and rose for their sins.
When we think of sharing our faith with others, we must also be aware of the kinds of questions that they typically ask before coming to Christ and while they are exploring different spiritual paths.
The Main Questions People Ask:
Is there more to life than what is known and observed?
Can God exist in a world with so much evil?
Why would God love/care about someone like me?
Why should I believe that your faith is the right one?
When we share our faith with others we must be willing to show them respect. All people are valuable and worthy of being treated with dignity and honor. There is no reason to ever treat someone as less valuable. We must also be humble. It is not our job to bring someone to faith. We simply share our story and our beliefs and allow the Holy Spirit to convict their heart. The Spirit brings them to faith, we simply proclaim the truth of Christ. We must also guard our souls from spiritual attack. As we share with others, we can expect to encounter spiritual warfare.
We must be aware of typical beliefs by people in our culture. It can be difficult to do the following:
Convince people that absolutes exist and that humans are not inherently good.
Show people that it is probable for God to exist in a world that contains evil.
Show people that we are not good enough to make it to heaven based upon our works. This is hard when the culture stresses individualism, personal achievement, and has an obscured view of success.
Over the next several months for my posts I will be sharing some basic teachings and beliefs of other faith groups and then discussing how they relate to Christianity. I will be looking at common ground as well as differences in beliefs regarding Christ, salvation, what happens at death, and other doctrinal issues. The purpose of these posts will be to help our Christian readers to think about their beliefs in light of the teachings of other faiths, but also to help them know how to have meaningful conversations with followers of other faiths so as to more accurately give an account of our own beliefs.
If there is a specific religion or worldview you want me to be sure and include, let me know and I will gladly do so.
For now, enjoy this video of me and Dr. Scott Bridger discussing how to have conversations with people of different cultural backgrounds who may also have different religious beliefs.
Dr. Scott Shiffer has a Ph.D. in Christian Theology from the B.H. Carroll Theological Institute and has been teaching religion classes since 2006. He leads Transformation Media Ministries, an organization to help believers think biblically about culture in America. Scott has given numerous presentations including one at Oxford. He has spoken at church retreats, youth retreats, conferences, and has taught discipleship classes for over 10 years. Scott is married and has three children. He has a heart for helping believers draw closer to God and for aiding them as they are faced with new challenges in America every day.