For many unbelievers, issues around diversity and sexuality are roadblocks to the Christian faith. But in Today’s Conversation podcast, Rebecca McLaughlin shows how a deeply biblical and intellectually honest approach transforms cultural roadblocks into compelling signposts for the good news of Jesus Christ.

Rebecca reminds listeners to “always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). She and host NAE President Walter Kim also discuss:

  • Why there is a biblical, but not secular basis for all self-evident truth;
  • How to address the idea that evangelical Christians are on the “wrong side of history” on issues like same-sex relationships;
  • Why involving the Christian community is so important in relationships with unbelievers; and
  • How to approach difficult cultural conversations with empathy and humility.

Read a Portion of the Transcript

Walter: How can we approach conversations of faith, conversations where we are seeking to persuade with empathy and humility? How do we go about that?

Rebecca: It’s always hard because we’re always, at least I speak for myself, I’m always fighting with my own ego in these situations. There’s a piece of me, if somebody says something that I think is wrong about Christianity or somebody accuses Christians in general or me in particular of hypocrisy or whatever it is, there’s a piece of us that rises up and wants to shoot back. We are specifically told in Scriptures not to do that and we’re told to love our enemies. We’re told to give a reason for the hope that we have but to do it with gentleness and respect.

I think the ways that can play out for us in conversation is first we need to acknowledge and validate the ways in which our non-Christian friends’ objections to Christianity are actually good objections, and they’re right to have them. Whether it’s about race or the way Christians have treated people who identify as LGBT or whatever area it is, often our first move really needs to be, say, “Yeah I agree with you.” Rather than go straight to the defensive, actually say, “Yeah you’re right, and to the extent I have been complicit in that as a Christian, I need to repent of that.” There are my own sins and sins of my tribe that I need to be ready to repent of to the Lord but also in conversation with friends.

I think it’s very easy for us to confuse defending the gospel and sort of standing for our faith in Jesus with defending ourselves and our own record and the record of our tribe. But really, as Christians we should always be ready to recognize that the way to move forward is repentance in faith, clinging on to Jesus, holding firm to the Scriptures and recognizing our own moral adequacy in it.

I love how in the first letter to Timothy, how Paul, just a few verses after he has named same-sex sexual relationships among other sins, just a very few verses later in the first chapter of that book he says, “This is a trustworthy saying, worthy of full acceptance that Christ Jesus came to the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst.” He was not actually coming as a judgmental, self-righteous bigot throwing stones at people. He was saying, “I am the worst sinner I know, and Jesus came to save even me.”

I think that there’s something ultimately liberating about that for us as Christians. As we call our friends to repentance, we’re not doing so from the moral superiority that Jesus can command. We’re actually doing so from a position of moral inferiority. I think that’s liberating and I think it can open up conversations in a different way with friends and I think we can draw on the extraordinary richness God has given us in the global Church… In Christianity, one of the beauties that we have in evangelism and apologetics is Christianity is a team sport, and I think we need to be drawing on the members of our team.

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Today’s Conversation is brought to you by Brotherhood Mutual.