“But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3).
Many Believers today think that if we speak about the Gospel, we must have the understanding necessary to defend it with the persuasive reasoning of a defense attorney.
This belief often hampers Believers in general from sharing the Gospel because they are afraid they are not properly trained to defend it, and they feel they may do more harm than good if they try. It is as if we feel we are in a debate class and our job is to sway the audience with persuasive arguments that tear through the arguments of our opponent and if the crowd rejects us, we have failed. Such pressure keeps many of us away from the task.
The devil is cunning through arguments that appeal to the mind and the appetites of the body, so we feel that to do the Gospel justice, we need to be cunning too. We think we have to raise up persuasive men of the mind who can go toe-to-toe in a public debate with the great thinkers the world raises against us.
But this assertion illustrates a deeply flawed understanding of every Believer’s responsibility to the Gospel—we are all under compulsion to share it as a testimony, not as a proof. The debate halls of the world are not where the victors are judged, but the court halls of Heaven. Just as a witness in a courtroom, we are not trying to persuade the jury, but we are relaying the truth of the situation, “so help you God.” Our earthly audience may still disregard our testimony, but that does not mean we have failed in any way—in fact, we know the world WILL reject our testimony, just as it rejected Christ’s testimony. We need to understand that we are not in debate class. We are not at some political or social rally trying to convince people our cause is just or right. We are WITNESSES. Like the Holy Spirit, all Believers are to witness (or testify) about Jesus Christ, even if we are not all given the gift of evangelism (Ephesians 4:11). Evangelism IS the gift of reasoning with and persuading men about the merits of the Gospel. Paul was an evangelist when he “entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God” (Acts 19:8). Please note, however, that this is not reasoning or persuasion of men, but comes from the Holy Spirit: “do not worry beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit” (Mark 13:11).
Even if you don’t have the gift of evangelist, you are God’s witness at all times as Jesus told the disciples, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Witnessing is not tasked with persuading men, but rather sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ in our personal testimony (and the testimony of the Saints) through the simplicity and purity of our devotion to Christ. Every Believer’s mission in life is to be a witness, presenting the Gospel to the unbelieving people in our midst. The Holy Spirit does the work of persuasion, whether by preparing the hearts of the hearing or by employing His gift of Evangelism in a Believer to persuade unbelievers: “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36). Even so, Amen.