Help People of Other Faiths Discover Christ
- Whitney Hopler Live It Editor
- 2001 26 Jul
Religious pluralism is a popular philosophy in the world today, but despite an emphasis on relativism, truth still exists. Among all the belief systems in our postmodern era, Christianity is unique, because Christ Himself embodies universal truth.
People of other faiths who surround you will be drawn to Christ if you reach them wisely and sensitively. Here are some ways you can help people of other faiths discover Christ:
- Pray for God to give you a passion for people who don't yet have relationships with Him through Christ. Open yourself up to feeling the pain God wants you to feel when you think of people He loves who aren't walking with Him. Ask God to motivate you to reach out as much as you can to people of other faiths, who, like all people, are created in His image and loved deeply by Him.
- Study the basics of other belief systems so you understand the theologies of people you encounter. Think of ways you can relate to some of the spiritual principles (such as the importance of serving others or the need to deal with sin) and consider how you might present Christ's answers to such issues when you talk with people of other faiths.
- Be patient as you talk with non-Christians, realizing that their approach to life is very different from yours, so they'll need time to digest and respond to the gospel.
- Respect the cultural practices of others, and realize that Christ transcends all cultural boundaries, so people can express their faith in Him in ways that retain their particular customs. Present the gospel message in ways that a person of the culture you're trying to reach usually uses to pursue truth (such as inviting a Hindu, who participates in many religious festivals, to a celebration at your church).
- Love all people as Jesus would like you to, so they can see His love in action when they interact with you. When you become aware of a non-Christian's need (through illness, the loss of a job, etc.), pray for the person and offer whatever other help you can.
- When you engage in conversations with non-Christians about spirituality, listen actively to the ideas they share. Affirm whatever glimmers of truth they have (such as by agreeing with a New Age enthusiast that caring for the earth is important, or agreeing with a Muslim that frequent prayer is vital). But be sure to expose the lies that are obstructing people of other faiths from seeing the full truth about God. Show humility and respect when you disagree with non-Christians, and clearly present the reasons why you do so. Realize that the most loving thing to do is to present the truth, because it's the truth that sets people free.
- Don't attack other religions. Instead, show how they're ineffective at bringing about the salvation of people who follow them, and how Christ alone can save people.
- Model a biblical community to others who are watching how Christians relate to each other. Let non-Christians see how you and others have been transformed by the Holy Spirit so that you can love each other well.
- When you talk about God with people of other faiths, try to give them a well-rounded picture of His character without focusing on just some of His attributes. For example, don't just speak about His power while sharing stories of what He has done in your life without also speaking about His holiness and how He has helped you grow as a person.
- Encourage people considering converting to Christianity to relate to Christ not just as their Savior, but also as their Lord, because actually living out their beliefs is the only way they'll truly grow in their relationships with Him.
Adapted from Sharing the Truth in Love: How to Relate to People of Other Faiths, copyright 2001 by Ajith Fernando. Published by Discovery House Publishers, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.dhp.org,1-800-653-8333.
Ajith Fernando, a native of Sri Lanka, has been the national director of Youth for Christ in Sri Lanka since 1976.
How have you discussed spiritual matters lately with someone of a different faith? How has God used a friendship you have with someone of another faith, to draw both you and that person closer to Him? Visit the Books Forum to discuss this topic. Just click on the link below.