Objections to the Gospel

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locked fenceIn this post, I would like to address the moral, emotional, and intellectual reasons some people reject the Christian gospel.  I will also suggest tactics Christians can use for each type of objection within the paragraphs discussing the specific objections.

My dad asked me to write a blog post for this summer before my fall Liberty University classes start again. I appreciate the opportunity, but it has taken me a long time to get around to it.  But, here it is.  Thanks dad for editing this thing.

Moral Objections

We seem to be living in a time of moral relativism, where people want to be left alone to do their own thing as long as they don’t hurt anyone else, which would be a socially unacceptable thing to do.  The idea of moral relativism can be summarized in Scripture by the lives of the Israelites during the time between the judges and the kings (Judges 21:25, NLT).

The problem with this kind of life is that the people themselves determine the standards of what is right and wrong.  According to Shawn Hayes, however, this is a “self-defeating” argument because it lacks consistency, where people fail to live up to even their own personal doctrine (Hindson, 2008).

The gospel claims that morality is not defined by sinful man, but a righteous and immutable God, represented by Jesus Christ (Hebrews 13:8, NIV).

So, people might reject the gospel because it is too difficult to live up to God’s moral law and they may try bringing accusations against God’s character through examples of people who may never hear the gospel.  The Bible says God’s qualities have been revealed by nature (Romans 1:20, NIV).  God is righteous and fair, and objections against God and the gospel are not fair.

Emotional Objections

I know an elderly man who reacts emotionally when I try to talk to him about the gospel.  This requires me to be compassionate and to seek understanding far beyond my own years.  I think that the death of a beloved parent when he was younger caused him to have suppressed anger toward God.  Being a veteran in a war where he saw terrible devastation to people also probably affected him.  How could God allow that to happen?

Pastor Francis Frangipane says that anger is a result of a perceived injustice. Suppressed anger always degrades into bitterness, which is, in reality, unfulfilled revenge.

The question of why God allows the innocent to suffer is a question that is hard to answer.  But, then I think about God’s own sorrow that He expressed through His servants, David in the Psalms, and Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, in the book of Lamentations.  Even Jesus wept (John 11:35).  God’s heart is not made of stone, and I can imagine how deeply His love may be for us since He gave His one and only Son to save us (John 3:16).

As Christians, we need to be ready to remind people that God is not so transcendent that His heart does not break along with ours (1 Peter 5:7, NIV).

Intellectual Objections

What may be some intellectual reasons people may reject the Christian gospel?  I was once given a book with a funny title.  It was Josh McDowell’s book, Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door (1992).  It countered an old anti-intellectual belief in the church that faith meant that you should not use reason.

I think that it is an incorrect interpretation of the Scripture that says, “For we walk by faith and not by sight.”  God gives us evidence of His truth in the natural world that we should not ignore.  Christians should be able to engage in science and philosophy, and even politics.  If we don’t, then it is no wonder that people have intellectual reasons to reject the gospel.

jeremy1Overcoming Objections

The Christian gospel is the best news for people because Jesus Christ made a way for us to be forgiven of our sins, be reconciled to God, and opens the way to heaven as a beautiful eternal home.  In sharing this good news, I’ve seen people react to it in different ways because of different reasons.  Still, God’s heart is to be patient with them and hope that they would repent and be saved (1 Timothy 2:4).  May God change me to be as gracious as he is and eventually overcome objections to the gospel.

Citations

Ed Hindson. The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics (Harvest House Publishers, 2008).

Josh McDowell & Bob Hosteller. Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door. (Thomas Nelson, 1992).