As a Christian, do you ever experience any of these problems when having a conversation with an unbeliever?
- Get into an argument or debate
- Feel frustrated because the unbeliever doesn’t understand what you’re trying to say
- Feel like you’re wasting your time on a conversation that produces little to no results
If you answered yes to any of those, then welcome to the club.
More than a year ago, I had a conversation with an atheist on Twitter. I’ll call her Jen.
Jen responded to one of my Christian tweets by saying that I was wrong about there being a God.
I shared with her the scientific evidence for there being a God. The article is all about DNA and how that’s evidence for intelligent design.
Jen responded by saying that I was wrong about DNA. She sent me links to scientists that support her point of view.
I responded by refuting those articles. I also sent her links to articles written by scientists that support my point of view.
Before I knew it, we had a tennis match, hitting each other’s tennis ball arguments with our rackets.
Ayy ya ya…so frustrating!
What You’re Doing Right Now Isn’t Working
If you’re like me, and just answering unbelievers objections about God when they come up, then you’re going to feel frustrated, disappointed, and discouraged sometimes.
That’s because you have the following obstacles that you need to overcome in your conversations with unbelievers:
- The unbeliever feels like it’s you vs. them which sets you up for an argument instead of a conversation
- You have no way to sympathize with the unbeliever which makes the unbeliever think you don’t care and just want to “win”
- Whatever you say is perceived as being unbelievable
All of this is part of what’s called the unbelievable gospel.
The unbelievable gospel is made up of things you say and the way you say them. They end up making your gospel presentation sound unbelievable.
Very few people are talking about this problem. Even fewer people are offering a solution.
Today You’re Going to Have a Solution That’ll Help You Win Unbelievers for Christ, Avoid Arguments, and Create Meaningful Friendships
I’m going to share with you today a system that you can use to address the objections of unbelievers.
Here’s what’ll happen if you use this system:
- You’ll be prepared to answer any objection in a positive way that’ll bring you results
- You’ll have a shortcut to a method that’ll help you save time wasted on engaging in useless arguments
- You’ll walk away from your conversation making a friend instead of making an enemy
- You’ll stay focused so you can share the gospel and see God working in the unbeliever’s life
Here’s the 5 Step System to Answering Unbelievers Objections
To help you understand how this system works, I want you to put on your evangelism shoes.
I want you to imagine that you’re sitting at your favorite coffee shop (maybe Starbucks), having a conversation with Jen.
Jen tells you that she doesn’t believe in God because there are all sorts of different religions in the world.
These religions cause more harm than good, and they have manipulative agendas.
So following this 5-step system, this is how you’d respond:
Step #1 – Find Hidden Objections
Sometimes the objections that someone gives you for not believing in God aren’t the only objections they have.
Most of the time, people have multiple reasons why they don’t believe in God.
When you have a way of finding out what the hidden objections are, then you’ll have a clearer understanding of where you need to take the conversation.
So how do you find the hidden objections that Jen has?
You do that by asking her this question:
If I can give you an answer to your question (or objection), is there any other reason you wouldn’t become a believer?
So here’s what the conversation might look like:
You: “If I can give you an answer to your question, is there any other reason you wouldn’t become a believer in God?”
Jen: “Why yes, there are several. If a God exists, then how come He doesn’t reveal Himself? Why doesn’t He just show up so everyone can know He’s real?”
See, now you know that you’ll need to address that objection too.
Step #2 – Acknowledge How They Feel
This step is all about offering empathy.
If you don’t identify with the unbeliever’s feelings, then you’ll be setting yourself up as a stranger instead of a friend.
You don’t want the skeptic to think, “Oh gosh, she probably thinks my objections are stupid and that I’m an idiot.”
No, you want them to think, “Oh wow, this person has some understanding of where I’m coming from.”
So how do you offer empathy? By saying something like one of the statements below.
Only choose the ones that are truthful and that are applicable to your situation.
- “I know how you feel…”
- “I can appreciate where you’re coming from…”
- “I can see how that makes sense to you right now…”
- “I can relate with what you’re saying…”
When you give an empathy statement, you validate the unbeliever’s feelings. That doesn’t mean that you’re saying that their objection is valid.
But what you’re saying is that it’s okay to feel the way they’re feeling right now.
It’s one of the best and fastest ways to set yourself up as a friend instead of a foe.
Step #3 – Put Yourself or Others in Their Shoes
The next phase in the process is to show that either you or other similar people have felt the way the unbeliever feels.
The reason this is an important step is because you don’t want the unbeliever to feel alone.
You can do this by saying something like:
- “I’ve felt the same way…” or
- “Other (insert group – skeptics, atheists, etc.) have felt the same way…”
This step is crucial because it’s going to help the unbeliever respond positively to your answer in step 4.
Step #4 – Offer a Solution
This is the part where you’re answering the objection.
If you chose in step 3 to say, “I’ve felt the same way,” then the unbeliever is left thinking, “What made you change your mind?”
If you chose in step 3 to say, “Other skeptics have felt the same way,” then the unbeliever is left thinking, “What made those skeptics change their mind?”
This is your chance to show how either yourself or other people changed their position because of your solution.
You do that by saying something like:
- “What I found is…”
- “What other (insert group – skeptics, atheists, etc.) found is…”
Step #5 – Transition to the Gospel When the Timing is Right
If you find out all of the unbeliever’s objections, and you’ve answered them, then be in prayer about transitioning over to giving a gospel presentation.
You won’t get a chance to share the Gospel in every conversation. That’s why I’m saying you should be in prayer about sharing the Gospel if you can.
You can share the gospel easily and in a relaxed way by asking the following transition question:
“Do you know the most important reason you should believe in God?”
The unbeliever will either say, “no,” or they’ll give you their answer.
At this point, I recommend not sharing some rehearsed gospel presentation.
Instead, try to customize your gospel presentation according to what the unbeliever shares with you about their story.
For example, if the unbeliever shares with you in the conversation that they sometimes feel like a failure in life, then you can share how they can become a new creation in Christ.
That will be appealing to them, and it addresses their emotional needs.
Another example could be that if the unbeliever shares with you that they’re always trying to be a “good person”, then you can share how God sees no one as good.
That’s because all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
The bottom line of this step is to customize your gospel presentation to the person you’re speaking to.
An Example of a Conversation With an Unbeliever From Start to Finish
So what does a conversation look like from start to finish using the 5-step system of answering unbelievers?
Let’s take a look at your conversation with Jen. We’ll pick up the conversation a little before Jen gives you her objections to why she doesn’t believe.
That way, you can see how naturally the conversation flows.
You: Do you have any spiritual beliefs?
Jen: You mean like, do I believe in God?
You: Yeah, sure.
Jen: I don’t believe that God exists or that any gods exist. They’re all made up by people.
You: May I please ask you why you believe that?
Jen: Because I think that all gods are just things that people make up in their mind. There is no proof that God exists.
You: (Step 1 – Find Hidden Objections) If I can show you some evidence that God exists, is there any other reason you wouldn’t become a believer in God?
Jen: Why yes, there are several. If a God exists, then how come He doesn’t reveal Himself? Why doesn’t He just show up so everyone can know He’s real?
You: (Step #2 – Acknowledge How They Feel) That’s a great question, Jen. I know how you feel.
You continued: (Step #3 – Put Yourself or Others in Their Shoes) That’s because I’ve had the very same question about God before.
You continued: (Step #4 – Offer a Solution) What I found to be the best answer is that God can reveal Himself if He wants to, but He doesn’t. Therefore, He must have a good reason why He doesn’t just show up. (continue to give an explanation)
Jen: Oh wow, I’ve never heard an explanation like yours before. Your answer is very interesting.
You: (Step #5 – Transition to the Gospel When the Timing is Right) Do you know the most important reason you should believe in God?
Jen: I’ve heard all sorts of answers. I’m interested in how you’d answer that question.
You: I’m glad you asked. Here’s what I think. (then give a gospel presentation)
Your Top Questions About the 5-Step System Answered
Do you have questions about this 5-step system or about why you should be using it? Here, let me answer a few of them for you:
1. “I don’t care that much about unbelievers objection’s to God or Christianity.”
I understand how you feel. For many years, I didn’t share my faith with anyone.
My attitude was, “Hey, everyone’s responsible for their decisions and their own salvation.”
But that’s not the way God sees it. He wants you to love other people. God wants you to share about how He loves the lost.
There’s nothing like loving someone so much that you tell them about Jesus.
2. “I don’t know you, Peter, so why should I trust what you have to say about this subject?”
I’m not an evangelism expert. I’m not a self-righteous dude either. But I have been on a faith journey discovering how to share Jesus with others.
All I know is that I’m a sinner saved by grace. I’m a beggar telling another beggar where they can find food.
As a former atheist and having been on the “other side of the road”, I can tell you that it’s much better being on God’s team than on Satan’s team.
You have nothing to lose when you try out this 5-step system.
Who knows, maybe God will allow you to experience a few surprises if you give it a try.
3. “I don’t think I can talk to unbelievers about Jesus or answer their questions.”
I understand how you feel because I felt that way when I was a baby Christian.
I found that whenever I stepped out in faith, and I thought that I was going to mess up, God was right there holding my hand.
By the grace of God, and all glory be to Him, I’ve had the privilege of bringing people one step closer to God.
In other times, I’ve had the privilege of leading a few individuals to Christ.
All these times have been unexpected. That’s why I can’t take credit for any of them, and I give all the credit to Jesus.
Don’t worry if you’re scared, shy, or don’t know what to say. Just open your mouth and God will use you.
4. “I’m too busy right now. I’ll learn about this stuff later when I have free time.”
Tomorrow is promised to no one.
Every minute that’s spent away from Christ is a minute that’s wasted.
If you want to help your unsaved friends and family members stop wasting their time doing the will of the devil, then tell them about Jesus today so they can start doing the will of God.
I regret every minute I spent away from Christ. I don’t wish that upon my worst enemy.
Neither should you.
5. “Asking these questions won’t work.”
Yes, they will. How do I know?
For two reasons:
- I’ve tried them, and they do work as long as you’re being led by the Spirit.
- Jesus asked questions all the time to those who approached Him. So did Paul.
6. “What if I don’t know how to answer the person’s objection?”
If someone at work asked you a question about your job, and you didn’t know the answer, how would you respond?
The best way would be to say something like, “I don’t know off the top of my head, but let me research that and get back to you.”
It’s the same thing with unbelievers. Just tell them you’ll get back to them.
They will appreciate your answer.
7. “I don’t know how to share the Gospel.”
It’s easy. Here’s the Gospel:
- You and I are sinners
- We’ve lied, stolen, committed adultery in our hearts, and committed many more sins
- God’s standard of righteousness is absolute perfection when it comes to your actions, words, and thoughts
- Since we’re far from perfect and we commit sins, we deserve punishment in hell
- But God took your punishment upon Himself by sending Jesus to die on the cross for you and for the entire world
- Now all you have to do is repent and put your trust in Jesus, and you won’t be punished for your sins and you can go to heaven
If you can’t remember the Gospel, then you can always share your testimony of how you came to Christ.
That is super powerful!
So Here Are the Key Takeaways
Here’s what you learned today:
1. Answering unbeliever’s objections without a strategy often leads you into arguments, and you rarely are effective in winning people to Christ.
2. Using the 5-step system to answer unbeliever’s objections will help you to have a conversation, instead of an argument.
It’ll help you become the unbeliever’s friend and not an enemy.
You’ll have a higher chance of success of getting that person one step closer to accepting Christ.
3. The five steps in the 5-step system to answering unbelievers objections are:
- Step #1 – Find Hidden Objections
- Step #2 – Acknowledge How They Feel
- Step #3 – Put Yourself or Others in Their Shoes
- Step #4 – Give a Solution
- Step #5 – Transition to the Gospel When the Timing is Right
Don’t Be a Broken Light Bulb
Imagine you walk into your bedroom and you turn on the light switch.
Nothing happens because the lightbulb is broken.
If you walk around your bedroom in the dark, then you risk the chance of tripping against your bed, your shoes, or something else.
That lightbulb is useless.
But now imagine that you replace the light bulb with a brand-new one that shines brightly.
Ahh, you’re safe now, and you can get around your room.
You need to be that lightbulb for sinners who are tripping on all sorts of sins in the darkness.
That’s what Jesus said in Mathew 5:14–16.
You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.Jesus, Mathew 5:14-16 (NLT)
Will you be a light for someone living in the dark today?
One of the pitfalls I sometimes get into is, getting led into an argument rather than a solution. My belief against theirs. Thanks
Have you found any solutions, Larry, on how to avoid arguments?
Just what I needed to hear Peter! Even though I know arguing gets us nowhere, too often I lapse into debate anyway. Thank you for sharing!
You’re welcome Kurt, I’m glad you found this post to be helpful.
Let me ask you something: there are some guys that enjoy getting into a debate. Is that you?
I would say, I’m a reformed chronic debater. But one who finds himself relapsing on occasion.
LOL, that’s the best answer I’ve ever heard ??
Great article Peter – I have to agree with Kurt, it is too easy to argue although ineffective. Blessings to you my friend. 🙂
Thanks Greg, I appreciate that brother. Sometimes I wonder if God uses arguments to plant seeds into unbelievers hearts anyways. I guess one day we’ll find out in heaven.
God bless you Greg 🙂
Great article Peter! I find Ray Comfort’s and Jesus’ confrontational approach to evangelism one of the best ways to go with the proud and humble. http://Www.thewayofthemaster.com http://www.Livingwaters.com http://www.robertivacic.WordPress.com gbu
Yep, his stuff is really fantastic, Robert. I watched the Way of the Master and I’ve also graduated from the School of Biblical Evangelism.
Do you usually go out witnessing, Robert?
As you go, make disciples. I sometimes intentionally go and share the gospel when I can, but most of the time, I share with people I meet wherever I go doing my things like job interview fares yesterday. I even recorded an interview with a job seeker in the line and I got it on my phone. IN slovenian language. I also have one example of WOTM evangelism aproach live in english, as I did it this summer. I try to do this more and more. Please, pray for me to get out of debt as soon as possible, soo that I can do the ministry Full time. Thanks for any advice and ideas you have about this issue. I also learn from http://www.compass1.org and I’m translating on of their books, HOW to manage finances God’s way. I should have known this when I was 5 y old. God bless you! I signed in for TWITTER lessons, how to get more followers and be effective in twitter evangelism. I have to read it thru when I get thru translating a book. See ya. ANyone wanna check my music? It’s freely avaiable ( add your email to fan list ) and you get my music. ENjoy!
Thanks for sharing Robert. Praying for your finances, brother ?
Just want to stay up to date with replies
I replied to your other comment Robert. I hope you got notified through email.
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Peter my name is Jessica and I have a sister that is gay and struggling with smoking marijuana. She gave her life to Christ almost a year ago and she fell back into smoking marijuana and hang out with the same person I have avoided confronting her because the Bible says to confront them gently and I am still not sure what to say to her do you have any suggestions of this for the past couple of days I have been crying and sadness because she was on the right path. I am not sure what to do in this situation haven’t said anything to her because I don’t want to offend her and turn her away. She is easily to snap back when you correct her on something she is doing. I truly love my sister and I want to see her get back on the road. When she first gave her life to Christ she kept a bag of weed in her room and never threw it away. I was thinking about that that when a person gives their life to Christ is truly willing to change that they will get rid of the things that holds them down. I’m not sure about that either I just truly want to see my sister saved and changed.
Hi Jessica, my heart goes out to you and to your sister. I’m sorry to hear that she fell back into sin. I know of many people’s testimonies who became Christians, fell into sin, but then got back onto the right path again. So definitely know that there is hope and keep her in prayer.
I would suggest that as you are praying for your sister, that you also pray for yourself. Ask God to show you whether He wants you to talk to her about what she is doing or not. Additionally, I would use the power of questions. Questions are so powerful and if you continue to ask the right ones, then sometimes a person can come up with the right answer.
So some questions that you could ask would be 1) why did you go back to smoking weed? 2) how does smoking weed make you feel? 3) Are there any stresses or anxieties in your life that you’re worried about?
And I think based on her answers, then you’ll be able to come up with even more questions. Do your best to not give her solutions to her problems. Just listen empathetically and keep trying to come up with questions based on her answers. Let her think on her own and allow the Holy Spirit to convict her of her sin.