Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Friendly Atheist Teaches the Bible Well

Hemant Mehta, a self-proclaimed atheist, was recently a guest at a mega-church, Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, where Pastor Randy Frazee interviewed him about his atheism.

This entire interview is approximately 38 minutes long. It's worth every minute. I want to highlight a few of his statements as they stood out to me. These things stood out to me because they are things the Bible has already taught us, but are so often overlooked by modern preachers, teachers and churches. This atheist is teaching exactly what the Bible teaches!

 He stated that people, in their efforts to convert him to Christianity, often tell him he has to have faith to believe. He said that makes no sense to him.

A person without Christ cannot possibly understand or comprehend faith in Christ. Romans 10:17 tells us that "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." This statement is not random. This chapter in Romans is talking about Israel rejecting Christ; not believing He is the Messiah. Verse 16 shows that Isaiah felt this burden as he said, "Lord, who has believed our report?" Israel rejected Messiah as well as she rejected prophets who declared Him.  The cure for this is faith....which comes by hearing the Word of God. 

What this teaches us is that faith cannot be conjured up by human means. It comes through the Word of God. So, how could it possibly make sense to our atheist? It can't! That's a dead argument to a dead man. Dead men do not have faith.....that is, until it is gifted to no means of their own or by human persuasion. It is a gift. Don't tell a dead man he has to have anything.

He stated that he's heard all the arguments before; tell him something new.

One might argue that there is nothing "new" in the argument to persuade one to become a Christian. I beg to differ:

Psalm 33:3 - Sing unto him a new song.
Psalm 40:3 - He has put a new song in my mouth.
Lamentaations 3:22, 23 - It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

So, there is a lot of "new" within the Gospel of faith. We simply are not accessing this newness when we tell others of Christ. To overcome this, we must persuade men with God's Word, not with men's words. Sharing concepts, ideals, traditions and/or empty words that are not backed up by outward practice just won't cut it.

He stated that if were ever to convert, it would have to be a personal experience, a personal encounter of his own with Christ. 

Bingo! Not one person has come to Christ without a personal encounter with Him. Not one. Not you. Not me. When a group of Greeks came to Philip in the book of John (12:21), they said, "Sir, we would see Jesus." They, too, desired a personal encounter. 

In summary, these three statements by this friendly atheist taught me this:

1. He's astute enough to recognize that he does not understand faith, revealing his unregenerate state. He's right. How can one without faith understand faith?
2. He's heard all man's arguments; they aren't making an impact. How could they? Man's arguments don't hold water.
3. He identified the Source of the faith he lacks, unknowingly acknowledging that this is what he needs, that a personal encounter with Jesus would seal the deal for him.
4. We cannot preach/teach on behavior, traditions, concepts or ideals. We must preach Jesus and Him crucified.

It's only just a matter of time for the friendly atheist now.  

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