How adept are you in answering those outside the Church regarding all manner of queries including, for example, abortion, being “born again,” going to heaven, why does God allow the evil that continues to torment the world, or what makes you think you are part of the true Church of God? You call yourself a Christian; how do you define a true Christian? From these examples you can readily perceive the type of questions that might be asked. Could you, for example, quote or paraphrase the Scripture that defines a true Christian or that condemns homosexuality, and what about challenging the Trinity concept, and the notion that the Ten Commandments are no longer in force.
If our explanation is in accord with God’s Word, then disbelief or disapproval of the questioner does not make the truth any less true. 1 Peter 3:15 tells us “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander” (New International Version). It is a matter of defending our faith—the faith that Jesus Christ gives us. It is also a matter of defending the Truth. If we are weak in this area, it may reflect negatively on the Church. It may even discomfort us and put off the other person if we find ourselves groping for a proper answer.
In order to be able to reply to questions we may be asked, and because some of us are occasionally plagued with a “forgettery,” we need to review what we have learned over the years, and then to review it again from time to time so as to improve our memory—and we certainly should ask God to help us in that regard. We need to give thought to areas similar to those mentioned above, keeping in mind that sometimes we are likely not to have a Bible handy to help us in our reply and in which case we will need God’s inspiration.
Our answer will need to be catered in such a way that it does not offend the questioners, realizing also that, perhaps, they are being called, and yet they may lack the Spirit of understanding on a particular matter.
Being aware that we are living in an atmosphere where most people are rich, as it were, with this world’s knowledge and poor in biblical knowledge, our answers need to be catered accordingly. And toward that end, and at that moment, we should pray a silent prayer for inspiration so that we are able to answer tactfully and correctly, not based on personal philosophy which dominates religious discussion in the world outside.
We need to be aware, also, of those who tease us with insincere or inappropriate questions…. “trying it on,” as it were, in which case Solomon tells us to answer according to that person’s folly (compare Proverb 26:4-5).
If, however, they are sincere, we might offer them access to a booklet or an internet reference on the subject, or put them in touch with a Minister. And we should also offer up a prayer for that person when we sense a genuine interest.
One of the most satisfying experiences we can have is to discover that the person who asked us a question was eventually called into God’s fold and who then responded to that calling. Therefore, always be ready to answer those who ask, for how do you know if, perhaps, God was using you in that calling?