The "Either-Or" of Evangelism
Today's lesson comes from the pen of Douglas Hoff, a friend and faithful gospel preacher. His excellent words have been copied below for your reflection and application.

Have you ever tried talking to a friend who told you he does not believe there is a God in heaven as the Bible describes? I am sure most of us have had this sad experience. What can we say to convince this precious soul that there is a God in heaven who one day will judge him (read Dan. 2:28; 5:23)? Often, we feel helpless when faced with such a clear rejection of God's existence. However, many years ago I heard an approach that might get an unbeliever to stop and at least think about the issue for a few minutes. Therefore, I would like to share it with you in hopes it might get a hell-bound soul thinking about his situation.

First, ask the person, "Do you agree with this statement: 'Either God exists or He does not'?" If your friend says "No," make sure what he is saying "No" to. The question is simple and straight-forward. You are asking if he agrees there are only two possibilities regarding the existence of God. You are not asking your friend if he believes in the existence of God. You already know he does not. Unfortunately, some people will answer in the negative because they incorrectly think you are asking if they believe God exists. I have tried asking the question different ways to get around this difficulty but with little success. For some reason, atheists seem to feel threatened when asked about the possibility of God's existence. Their minds apparently feel compelled to affirm their disbelief even though that is not what the question deals with.

If, after pointing out this distinction, your friend really understands what he is being asked and truly does not agree with the simple either-or statement, then you might as well drop the matter. Why? Because you would most likely be wasting your time and efforts (cf. Matt. 7:6; 10:14). If a person will not admit the truth of the statement, "Either God exists or He does not," then that individual is either mentally challenged or dishonest. If it is the latter, there is little hope he or she will ever come to believe the truth. I did not say there is no hope because a person can repent and come to know the truth--if he is willing (II Tim. 2:25; cf. I Tim. 2:4; II Pet. 3:9). As Paul wrote, some souls oppose not only the truth, but in so doing oppose themselves (cf. II Tim. 2:25). In other words, such a person is his own enemy! The apostle indicates that such people have been taken captive by the devil to do his will (cf. 2:26). Sadly, a soul who is dishonest with this most vital issue might well be "unstable in all his ways" (James 1:8).

If your friend answers "Yes" to the initial question, then the second thing to say to your friend would be something like this: "Are you really willing to take the chance that you may be wrong? After all, only one position can be correct. If you are right and there is no God, then it does not matter how anyone lives. When we die, that will be the end of life and nothing we did matters. However, if you are wrong and there is a God, then it does matter how people live and there will be a judgment based upon how we lived."

At this point, if your friend is honest with himself, he should be feeling a little uncomfortable about his position. Why? One reason is that this either-or discussion points out the futility of life without God. Another more powerful reason for his discomfort would be the realization that to be absolutely sure which position is correct, your friend would have to be omniscient (all-knowing). Since man generally recognizes his knowledge is limited, the unbeliever would have to admit (at least to himself) that he can not be 100% sure there is no God!

This is a powerful dilemma that has caused some to begin an inquiry into whether God actually exists. Sadly, some erroneously conclude there is no God because they do not want to recognize His existence. Why? Because then they would have to accept the fact that He is superior to man and disobedience will be punished (cf. Rom. 1:18-31; 2:1-9). Thankfully, there are some souls with honest and good hearts (Luke 8:15) that will consider the evidence for the existence of God and come to the only logical conclusion that there is a God in heaven (cf. Rom. 10:17).

What it really comes down to is our familiar "either-or" situation again. Either a soul will be saved or he will be lost. Those are the only two possibilities when life comes to its end (cf. Heb. 9:27; Matt. 25:46). What about us? Will we obey the Lord's command to teach the gospel to every soul (Mark 16:15,16; Matt. 28:18-20)? Either we will or we likewise will be lost.