When I have tried to talk to people about Christ, I’ve always felt a little at-a-loss to argue against some of the standard evolution, ethics, and other arguments people make. I could have quoted the Bible, The God Conversationbut I know some people won’t accept its truths, either because you’re using the Bible to prove its existence, or some people can’t accept it, for the Spirit hasn’t opened their mind to it.

14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

This book is great because it teaches us to use illustrations and stories to help people understand the love of God. It tackles some of the tough questions like, “How can a loving God allow children to die?” And “Why doesn’t God stop the evil in the world?” And it also does one of the best jobs I’ve seen in answering the question of whether all religions lead to God, and why not.

The idea behind the approach is to use illustrations and stories because people will remember them long after they remember Bible verses or logic arguments we might make. According to the book, “Research in communication says that when people leave a conversation, they immediately forget half of what was said…And worse than that, eight hours later they will remember only about 20 percent of what was discussed” (Moreland & Muehlhoff, 2007, p. 9). When we’re up against those odds, we have to make the most of what we say, in order to be more effective. My favorite quote related to this is from Seneca, “… rules make the learner’s path long; examples make it short and successful” (Moreland & Muehlhoff, 2007, p. 15).

One other thing the book talks about that I’m afraid I’m guilty of all too often, the desire to go for the “slam dunk” when we’re witnessing to someone. The desire to succeed becomes so strong, I want to hit every argument during that one conversation, but that only leaves the person overwhelmed or resistant. What the authors call “agenda anxiety.” The goal when we’re witnessing should be to listen. “The goal [of witnessing] is to engage your friend in a conversation where the two of you can exchange and consider ideas” (Moreland & Muehlhoff, 2007, p. 150).

— Moreland, J. P. & Muehlhoff, Tim. (2007). The God Conversation: Using Stories and Illustrations to Explain Your Faith. Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP Books.

— The New King James Version. 1982 (1 Co 2:14). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.