11/10/12 Aquilino about 25
What is the secret to gaining and keeping someone’s attention when sharing our faith? Well, I hesitate to say “the” secret but at least one very important secret is found in Romans 3:19: “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.” How is this a secret for evangelism? Well, I’ll write about how this worked today with a young man named Aqui (Aquilino). I had stopped him on the sidewalk after he had gotten off the train and was hurrying on his way to see his girlfriend. He answered my questions about his beliefs with his strong opinions that all religions are valid pathways to God and that he himself is therefore a tolerant and peace-loving person worthy of reward in the next life. I listened to this for perhaps 15 or 20 minutes, eventually asking some logical questions that helped him to see that in all these religions, we are still subject to some form of judgment. Aqui had grown up Catholic and had some general Bible knowledge, but views the Bible as written by man and feels free to pick and choose what parts of it he will believe. He also mistakenly believes that Jesus and the New Testament is soft on sin compared to the Old Testament. Then I asked him how he thought he would be judged were he to die today and find that all the Bible says is true. I brought him face to face with God’s law, the law he has been dismissing and ignoring and developing all sorts of excuses to avoid. Now Aqui became “silent”, doing a lot more listening than talking because he was finding himself being held accountable to God. He didn’t bring up any of his previous arguments against the Bible or Christianity. Instead, his focus changed to alternately defending his sin, trying to figure out how he could atone for it, or wondering how he could be forgiven. The last 20 minutes of the conversation he kept getting calls from his girlfriend. At first he ignored them, then he answered and told her to wait, but finally he had to go, reluctantly. The law of the Lord had done its job, acting as a mirror into Aqui’s soul (James 1), and though I’m sure Aqui went on to be quickly distracted from its message, this was a conversation I don’t think he will ever forget.