I was recently at a conference and one of the speakers was admonishing the audience to be diligent in sharing their witness. Then, this speaker went on to make a couple of observations.
First, he acknowledged that there are some people who just have a gift – those who could lead a tree to the Lord. Continuing, he commented that the ones able to do that are actually very few. Most Christians don’t have the ability, for one reason or another, to approach witnessing that way.
But he wasn’t letting anyone off the hook. He said that all Christians are called to be witnesses and proceeded to give some guidance.
In doing that, he went through the “Roman Road” and told the audience to start their witnessing to a lost person by “Romans 3:23ing them” (Tell them that all have sinned). Following that he said to, “Romans 6:23 them” and share that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ. Next, you have to “Romans 5:8 them” (Share that Christ died for us while we were yet sinners). And finally, we have to “Romans 10:9-13 them” (Tell them to confess their sin and believe by calling out to God in the name of Jesus).
Now, there is nothing wrong with sharing the gospel using the “Roman Road” methodology. But that will only take you so far depending on who you are trying to share a witness with. If you are trying to share with someone who basically already believes in a Theistic worldview, then you shouldn’t have much problem. Not that all of these people will accept Christ, but at least they will understand what you are talking about.
But what if you wanted to share with someone in the “Occupy Wall Street Crowd?” Most of them probably don’t even believe in God, so “Romans 3:23ing them” is not really going to get you anywhere. In fact, they will probably ridicule your belief in the Christian “superstition.”
Or, what if you wanted to share Christ with Episcopal priest who believes that homosexual marriage is just as valid as heterosexual marriage. Even though the priest will claim to believe in Christ, the meaning of “believe in Christ” will be entirely different than what you mean when you say it. To them, Christ might very well not even represent an objective person but a “universal principle of love.” This kind of theology also doesn’t believe in sin the way Christians think of it, so “Romans 3:23ing them” will not be helpful – at least not before you bring them to the place where they understand what you mean when you talk about God and sin.
In our current day, sharing the gospel is so much more complex than it used to be. That is not because the gospel message has changed, but because the variety of people we have the opportunity to share with is so much more diverse. It used to be that most people in America held a Theistic worldview. Not that all were Christians by any means, but they at least believed that God existed. But that simply is not so any more. Now, we are just as likely to meet Naturalists, Animists, Far Eastern Thought believers and non-
Christian Theists as we are to meet those inclined to believe in the God of the Bible. And speaking the gospel to these diverse groups requires that we begin our message in different starting places.
If you witness to a person who already believes in the God of the Bible, just whipping out the “Roman Road” and “Romans 3:23ing them” is probably a good place to start. But what if they are a Naturalist and don’t believe in God? Before you can “Romans 3:23 them,” you have to bridge the gap between their belief that God does not exist and your belief that he does. Until you bridge that gap, Romans 3:23 simply will not make any sense to them.
And the same problem exists with people who come from other worldview belief systems. If a person is an Animist, they believe in many gods. You have to bridge the gap between their belief in many and your belief in the one God of the Bible. Until then, Romans 3:23 makes no sense. If the person you want to share with is a Far Eastern Thought believer, their concept of ultimate reality is the impersonal life force. They don’t believe in a personal God at all. Before sharing Romans 3:23, you must bridge the understanding gap between their assertion that no personal God exists and your affirmation of the personal God of the Bible. And even if they are a Theist but of a non-Christian variety, you have to bridge the gap between their God and yours if Romans 3:23 is to make any sense to them.
This is why an understanding of worldview is so critical. It gives us the starting point for witness and a basis for asserting that the God of the Bible is real and true. When we can grasp that foundation, we are in a position to share the gospel with anyone we meet, no matter what belief system they come from.
© 2011 Freddy Davis