Can someone be argued into following Christ?

by Michael W. Austin

Over the years I’ve heard many people say something along these lines: “No one has ever been argued into following Christ.” Usually, people nod approvingly and add something about how God doesn’t need defending. I understand why people say this, and there is something true behind the claim, but it is, nevertheless, false.

I’ve read essays by people who describe becoming followers of Christ based on a good argument or set of arguments. Augustine, for example, describes his own conversion as in part a response to the arguments against Manicheanism and for Christianity. It was not the arguments alone that accomplished this, but they played a significant role.

It is true that arguments alone are not sufficient for someone to decide to follow Christ. The will, the emotions, and desire are also in play. But for some people, God has worked and they have responded, and the only remaining barrier is some intellectual issue…

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Can someone be argued into following Christ?