By John Fischer
I have a good friend whose daughter has a fantastic singing voice and is sailing through a bunch of open doors in the music business in L.A. and Hollywood. It has thrown her, as a Christian, into a largely non-Christian world, and my friend called me today to record his appreciation for the things I have been discussing here lately in regards to our purpose-driven mission as Christians in the world.
In light of this, he told me how his daughter is often asked to answer questions like “Are you one of those born again Christians?” to which she responds, “Well, what do you mean by “born again“?” Pretty consistently the answer she gets to that question prompts her to say, “Well if that’s what you mean, no, I’m not.” What then transpires is an opportunity for her to tell what she does believe. Inevitably, people are more interested in her definition, and are much more willing to accept her as a Christian.
I suppose she could answer the “born again” question in the affirmative and end the discussion right there, but nothing would be gained.
Her open-ended response is wise for two reasons. 1) It gives her an opportunity to correct what wrong impressions people have of Christianity. 2) It allows her to tell her own story and put the meaning of her faith into her own words.
Talking about Jesus needs to be more about meanings than about words, anyway. As Christians we get so wrapped up in words that we don’t stop to consider what meanings our words are conveying. That’s why we need to ask questions instead of just giving answers. I think sometimes we hide behind words because then we don’t have to think about the meaning of what we say. We can just say it, go on our way, and feel justified for having said the right thing.
Memorized phrases and stock words only mean something to those who are already members of the Christian club. They provide a certain security against not knowing what to say. On the other hand, if you have a living, vibrant relationship with God through Christ, you will never be at a loss for words when asked about your faith. It will be the most natural thing to talk about, and you will be able to phrase your response in terms that will take into account the person you are talking to.
Next time someone asks if you are a Christian, ask what he or she means by “Christian.” You might just have the chance for a real conversation, and in the process, find out what you really believe!
Question: How do you respond when asked about your faith?
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