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Stop Debating During Evangelism; Address the Conscience!

Is apologetics our greatest weapon in the battle for the salvation of the world? One could make a convincing case for that thought in what we call “the age of enlightenment,” when issues such as evolution and atheism have made these times unique in history. However, arguments actually come from the sinner’s intellect.

The Ungodly Mind

The ungodly mind is like a brick wall. It has been built to keep God out.

  • It is at enmity with God. It refuses to bow to the Law of God “because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be” (Romans 8:7).
  • It lays up arguments against God, so if you stay in that area you can expect a vicious battle.
  • It is the place of hostility toward God—“And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled” (Colossians 1:21).

This wall of antagonism is hard and immovable, so we must make a habit of going around it.

Going Around the Brick Wall

Biblical evangelism speaks directly to the conscience. This means that we can be effective in our Christian witness without having to learn how to pronounce “Australopithecus afarensis” or define the fossil record, or know the age of the earth. When the conscience is addressed, these things become non-issues.

“The ungodly mind is like a brick wall. It has been built to keep God out.”

The conscience is the part of human nature that is not an enemy of God. The conscience is God’s ally. It doesn’t speak against the Law of God, it speaks for it. It is the work of the Law written on their heart. It “[bears] witness” (Romans 2:15). It testifies for God. It is the trustworthy witness who points out the guilty party in the courtroom. Its mouth presents evidence of the Law’s transgression. It is because of what it does that we should make room for it to speak as quickly as we can.

If we want to win our case, we must bring out our star witness and put them on the stand to give them voice. We want to stop the mouth of the criminal, and that’s what the lawful use of the Law does (see Romans 3:19). It condemns the guilty and drives him to give up his defense, so that he will be forced to look solely to the judge for mercy.

The Lawful Use of the Law

How wonderful it is (when trying to talk with someone about the things of God) not to be thrown into panic when someone responds with, “I’m a Roman Catholic.” Before I understood the use of the Law, I would think, Horrors! Now I’m going to have to deal with transubstantiation, Mariology, papal infallibility, the mass, etc. Now I simply say, “Would you consider yourself to be a good person?” I do the same with a Protestant. I do the same with a Muslim, an intellectual, an evolutionist, an atheist, etc. It is simply a matter of moving from the intellect to the conscience.

“The conscience is the part of human nature that is not an enemy of God. The conscience is God’s ally. It doesn’t speak against the Law of God, it speaks for it.”

Amazing as it sounds, although many Catholics have heard much about Jesus, the cross, sin, and salvation, most have never heard the true gospel.

Kirk Cameron taught on the use of the Law one morning at a large church in Ohio. A few days later we received an email which shows the power of the Law to prepare the heart for the gospel:

I just heard you speak this morning…I’m a Catholic…have been all my life…I can’t even begin to tell you how much your message affected me. I’ve been quite speechless all day long, which if you knew me, you’d know that I’m rarely quiet. It’s been a good quiet because I am so humbled all of a sudden…However, I’m confused. You see, I’ve never been hit that hard in any Catholic service I’ve ever attended. How do you minister to Catholics???? I can tell you that most of them don’t want to hear anything unless it’s from a priest…I’m full of questions on what to do next… Everyone needs to hear what I heard this morning. I’m just so full of…well, I don’t even know how to describe it. My life has been changed since this morning. I can’t thank you enough. I’m going to end here and start reading my book I purchased this morning!! Thanks again and God bless you!

Thankfully, for our Catholic friend, our hope is not in the power of lofty arguments or logical reasoning. Once the Law is manifest the usual rational arguments that so often cloud the issue become irrelevant. Our mandate is simply to preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15), and it is the gospel that is the “power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16).

Ray Comfort

Ray Comfort is the Founder and CEO of Living Waters and the bestselling author of more than 90 books, including God Has a Wonderful Plan for Your Life, How to Know God Exists, and The Evidence Bible. He cohosts the award-winning television program Way of the Master, airing in every country in the world, and is an Executive Producer of “180,” “Evolution vs. God,” “Audacity,” and other films. He is married to Sue and has three grown children, and hasn’t left the house without gospel tracts for decades.

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