What arguments or facts do you recommend that Christians memorize? What are some of the most important points that we need to know at that level to be well prepared to share our faith? Do you have any summaries or other tools you use to keep these essentials fresh in your mind and heart?
What are some of the most important points that we need to know to be well prepared to share our faith?
There are quite a few good things that can be easily memorized. One argument would be the Kalam Cosmological Argument – 1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause for its existence, 2. The Universe began to exist, 3. Therefore, the universe must have a cause. This is helpful because it’s a common sense argument that can be easily defended (something can’t come from nothing!), and points to an ultimate creator of the universe.
Another easy to memorize argument would be the four facts surrounding Jesus’ death and resurrection, summarized by Lee Strobel as the four E’s. Execution, Early Accounts, Empty Tomb, and Eyewitnesses. These are facts agreed to by the majority of historians, regardless of their religion. Jesus was executed on the cross, there were early reports of his death and resurrection, his tomb was empty three days later, and there were eyewitnesses that believed they saw him alive. It seems like the simplest and best explanation for these fact is that Jesus actually rose from the dead!
Lastly, I think it’s important for every Christian to memorize a Bible verse that explains the gospel message. I personally like John 1:12 because it gives us an easy equation to explain to our friends. The verse is “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” and the equation is “Believe + receive = become.” I like this because it shows 1. We actually have to believe the gospel message is true. We can’t just inherit it because we were born in America or into a Christian family. And 2. We have to receive God’s love and forgiveness. Intellectual assent to a religious idea about the existence of God isn’t enough. We must have faith and receive God’s gift of forgiveness, and we will be adopted into the family of God.
Also, I would encourage anyone who wants to have productive spiritual conversations to think not only about the information we want to share, but how we can help others to think through their own worldview. Greg Koukl’s book Tactics has some great questions it suggests we ask our friends such as “What makes you say that?” or “What do you mean by that?” Asking these kinds of questions is often all we need to get people to think more deeply about what they believe and the rationale (or lack there of) behind it. Most people have never actually evaluated their own beliefs from a logical or evidential perspective, and if we can help people to begin to do this, we’re already halfway there!