Cross-examining the Attorney
by Gregory Koukl
As an ambassador I’ve learned that encounters are the bread and butter of my witness for Christ.
While giving a talk at a local Barnes & Noble, someone asked why it was necessary for him to believe in Jesus. He was Jewish, believed in God, and was living a moral life. Those were the important things, it seemed—how you lived, not what you believed.
To him our message depicted a narrow-minded God pitching people into Hell because of an arcane detail of Christian theology. How should I answer?
Remember that the first responsibility of an ambassador is knowledge—an accurately informed message. What is our message?
One way to say it is, “If you don’t believe in Jesus, you’ll go to Hell. If you do believe, you’ll go to Heaven.”
That’s certainly true, as far as it goes. The problem is it’s not clear. Since it doesn’t give an accurate sense of why Jesus is necessary, it makes God sound petty.
So how do we fix this? Here’s how I responded to my Jewish questioner. I asked him two simple questions.
“Do you think people who commit moral crimes ought to be punished?”
He thought for a moment. “Well, since I’m a prosecuting attorney…yes.”
“So do I,” I agreed.
“Second question: Have you ever committed any moral crimes?”
There was a slight pause. This was getting personal. “Yes, I guess I have,” he admitted…
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