When the Apostle Paul arrived in the Greek city of Athens, he left his backpack in the hostel and went out to see the sights. A church-planter by profession, he naturally headed to the local worship center to analyze the spiritual condition of the culture. There he examined the statues on public display and found one with the title: “To the Unknown God.” For Paul, that statue represented the yearning of the Athenians to know the God who could do what their own gods were powerless to do.
A generation ago, the God of the Bible was not an “unknown god” to most Westerners. But Christians can no longer assume that their friends and neighbors know even the basics about the Christian faith. Losing interest in the Christian faith has not, however, made people secular, as one might have expected. People these days want to be spiritual, and as long as they have “faith” (of any kind) they consider themselves spiritual. The object of that faith doesn’t matter. In fact, anyone who tries to insist that faith must be placed in a particular God, rather than the crowd of gods worshiped in the culture, is breaking our society’s first commandment: “thou shalt not impose thy religion on me.”
In this context, it is hard for a Christian to know how to start explaining the gospel of Jesus Christ. Familiar words such as “sin,” “salvation” and “prayer” have come to mean “false self,” “hope for the planet,” and “good thoughts.” Good things we experience are due to our “karma,” and people speak naturally about getting things right in their next reincarnation. It is hard enough to explain the basic Christian notions, let alone the richer doctrines of the Christian faith.
This brief manual will stroll with you through our religious marketplace. Can we explain the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who still yearn for something they have not found? We pray that as you work through this manual you will have an “aha!” moment that opens a new understanding of how your neighbors think and of how the gospel can speak to them as they seek the “unknown god.”
How to Use this Manual and the Evangelism Tool
The truthXchange team has designed this booklet to accompany a small evangelism tool that you can carry in your pocket or handbag. We call it a “tool” and not a “tract” because it is used to help you speak to your friends and neighbors. It was not really meant to be left on a park bench or even handed to someone without explanation. Though the tool might benefit someone without a Christian to explain it, we have designed it for Christians to use in a relationship with a friend or neighbor. The tool is the first step and assumes that you or another Christian will draw your friend into the fellowship of a Bible-teaching, compassionate, Spirit-filled church.
Each guide comes with 10 evangelism tools.