6/10/12 Ian, about 22
When talking about the things of God, I often think of exactly what I need to say to people - but unfortunately hours after the conversation is over! This is happening less often now that I am gaining in witnessing experience, but it happened with a young man named Ian whom I ran into at the park. When I asked about his beliefs, he happily showed me the book in his hands, which he described as a science-fiction novel based on New Age philosophy. "I study different religions and philosophies all the time" he told me and went on to talk in detail about his latest religious ideas. In addition to many other religions and theories, Ian demonstrated good Biblical literacy and an understanding of the basic message of the Gospel, though he was unclear on some of the deeper points of Christian theology. For example, he knows that the Bible teaches that "Jesus died for our sins", but he didn't really know why this was necessary. As we talked, I focused on this, feeling that all he needs is a better understanding of the theology and logic behind the message of salvation. But now, much later, I realize that Ian has heard and read the Gospel probably many times over; and his current confusion about it is not based on simple ignorance of Christian theology but the fact that he has rejected Jesus Himself every time he has heard about Him. When it comes down to it, the Gospel isn't a religion or a theory - it's a person, our Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Most High God - and when we reject Him we reject a right relationship with God Himself. Every time Ian has rejected Jesus in favor of some other, more interesting or clever religious idea, he comes up with different excuses for doing so that only further cloud his understanding of Christianity. I'm not sorry for trying to help clear up Ian's understanding of Christian theology, but I wish I had tried to help him see that his confusion is based first and foremost on his rejection of Jesus himself.