@Andi I agree that many people lack that foundation, yet I also agree with you that the Gospel is as relevant as it ever has been to the human heart. So how do we bridge that gap between Christ and culture? In my personal experience, I have seen the advice given by Os Guiness and Tim Keller confirmed. Tim Keller makes the point that everyone of us adopts our beliefs for three core types of reasons:
- rational (logical arguments)
- social (a sense of belonging)
- emotional (meeting the felt needs of our hearts)
The most powerful apologetic to a modern culture is to invite them into a loving community of people where they can have their difficult questions answered and their needs met - the convergence of all three of these reasons.
Guiness adds to this foundation the idea that people experience ‘signals of transcendence’ in their life that point them to God and effectively convert them from being content in their current beliefs to being seekers. It is our job as apologist to understand whether the person with whom we are talking is a seeker or is in need of experiencing signals of transcendence. Seekers need answers and community. People content in their current beliefs need, if God is willing, to experience signals of transcendence through our words and actions.
When I have personally seen unbelievers come to Christ, there was often a signal of transcendence that set them on a search for God and the an intersection with a caring Christian community that took the time to address their questions.
Testimony and Advice from Rosaria Butterfield
Rosaria was a gay activist who was opposed to Christianity but came to Christ through the love of a pastor and his wife. I think her testimony is a great example of how to engage people with truth, community and love. She also offers some advice to Christians trying to reach out to those lost in these types of belief systems.
Some Thoughts from Os Guiness
I finished reading Os Guiness’ book “Fool’s Talk: Recovering the Art of Christian Persuasion” only two months ago and it is a brilliant exposition of exactly the question you want to address. Guiness argues that because society no longer accepts Christian norms, we must recover the art of Christian persuasion. We must persuade people, in love, to open their hearts and minds to Christ.
“far too much Christian evangelism and apologetics is based on the assumption that almost everyone is open, interested and needy—when most people most of the time are quite simply not.”
“apologists we are never out simply to establish an idea or to prove a theory. We stand as witnesses to a Person who is love, and out of our own love for him we are introducing others to being known and loved by him, so that they can know and love him in their turn. Without love, as St. Paul has told us, apologists too are only noisy gongs and clanging cymbals.”
― Os Guinness, Fool’s Talk: Recovering the Art of Christian Persuasion
Tim Keller’s Talk at Google
A great example of persuasively reaching out to a generation that does not accept basic Christian ideas.
A Few Connect Threads You May Find Useful
May Christ grant you wisdom and success as you reach out to others with His love and truth! Hope those resources were helpful.