Objection: You Can’t Argue People Into Heaven!
Nail Mark Ministries
As a Christian apologist I often hear the internal objection (that is, from within the church) that you can’t argue people into heaven. Usually this is followed by condemnation of apologetics in general or even classical and evidential apologetics in particular. “Just preach the gospel and stop trying to provide evidence or reason to persuade people.” Many who say things like this seem to think if you present the message “You’re a sinner separated from God by your sin, God loves you, Jesus died for your sin and rose again, believe in him and you will be saved” that people should just believe automatically. No questions please!
But clearly that is not the way it is, or at least not usually. Now, God in his sovereignty can grab a person’s heart at anytime and anywhere. I truly believe that. Some conversion stories you hear about are almost beyond reason. A person hears the gospel for the first time without any context, no church background information to fill in the blanks or anything, and they just know they need Jesus and they believe and they are saved. I’ve heard of cases where a pastor was teaching a non-salvation
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related text and a person was just overwhelmed by their sinfulness and need for Christ. God can and has done that! I praise him for his sovereignty and ability to turn the hearts of sinners to himself! But that is not everyone’s story. I bet that isn’t most people’s story actually.
The fact of the matter is that while God is sovereign in salvation from start to finish (Romans 8:30) he also has chosen to use a very human process to bring about salvation. He uses people like you and me to tell other people like you and me about someone who became like you and me to reconcile us to a God who is nothing like you and me. The fact is, this can be a challenging message to convey.
People of all different walks of life, with different religions, philosophical assumptions, etc., will have all kinds of questions and objections to what we are telling them. But if they don’t drop to their knees in repentance the first time we share the gospel with them does that mean they are doomed forever? Hardly. Most Christians, and especially those who convert as teenagers and adults, had real questions that they needed answers to before they could in good conscience sign their life over to Jesus…