I had been under the impression that this woman was at least a professing Christian, but I guess I was wrong about that -- because her account was almost an exact replica of one of my own from my vehemently anti-Christian days:
The first time I went [to a church] because of a deal I’d made with this hypothetical God. It was fall, and the Packers were in Texas, facing another humiliating defeat by the hated Dallas Cowboys. “I’ll give You a chance to prove Your existence,” I’d told Him the night before the big game. “I’ll go to church tomorrow morning. All I ask in return is a Packer victory in the afternoon.”
I held up my end of the bargain by attending a jam-packed Sunday-morning service at this megachurch. In some ways, the service was a trip down Memory Lane. I hadn’t picked up a hymn book or tried to sight-read music since I was a kid taking piano lessons, and it gave me a bittersweet longing for my childhood.
In other ways, the service was horrifying: an Asian man got up and spoke about how missionaries from this church had “saved” him from Buddhism. The arrogance of these Christians, I thought. Implying that their way was the only way and that people needed rescuing from other religions!
Feeling persecuted on behalf of Buddhists everywhere, I headed home to watch the Packers lose to the Cowboys. (Heaven Without Her, page 83)
It’s a good illustration, I think, of how very confused the lost are about Jesus Christ, about why He went to the cross, and about what His death and resurrection mean to us personally.
So when this 21st century Buddhist apologist said almost exactly the same thing to me the other day, I found it pretty exciting to be sitting on the other side of the narrow gate. “I know exactly how she feels,” I thought, saying a quick, silent prayer for wisdom. “I just need to explain it to her. She’s smart, and she’s reasonable, and she’s very sweet, so this is a wonderful opportunity to share the gospel!”
Alas, a few words into my explanation, she became irate. I tried again – same result. And again.
“The Bible says,” I began.
“The Bible was written by men!” she raged, not saying whether her objection was species or gender.
“Men who were inspired by –“
“I don’t believe that!” she snapped, obviously disgusted by the very idea of inspiration.
“I said I don’t believe that!” she hissed on her way out the door.
I don’t know that anyone ever tried to reason with me from the Scriptures in my atheist days, as I’d hoped (and failed) to do in this little encounter. But I’m pretty sure that my response would have been just like this woman’s, and so many others I’ve tried to share the gospel with over the years – tolerant of everyone in the world except people armed with a Bible and a love of truth.
In the end, all we can do is pray for those who are offended by our precious “stone of stumbling and rock of offense” (1 Peter 2:7), asking Him to do whatever it takes to soften their hearts while empowering us to respond without anger or even impatience.
It's a tall order, but fortunately nothing is too hard for the Lord.
Originally posted 4/27/14