I’ve been listening to Unbelievable, a British podcast that pits Christians and atheists against each other on popular topics. Often, the battle is purely head-to-head, with no other topic than why atheism or why Christianity is true or not.
Here in the States, we had a slow news cycle leading up to the Olympics, so the Ken Ham and Bill Nye debate took on a life of its own, with even the secular press touting the “event.”
I say this because all this logic and carefully worded argumentation misses the point. While I can see atheists not understanding how the point is lost, that Christians can’t see beyond is most troubling and says much about the state of the Church in the West.
What Christians forget is what places the Christian Church above all other religious groups and systems, including atheism. Christians believe God put His Spirit into each believer, which both empowers and grants the ability to experience true relationship with God through Jesus.
No Spirit, no Church. End of story.
And yet Christians almost never go to the Spirit when confronting atheism.
All the reasoned logic in the world is unlikely to sway modern skeptics. We can appeal to Paul’s example at the Areopagus, but what was new to the ears of the Stoics and Epicureans in Paul’s day has had nearly 2,000 years to accumulate rebuttals. Reason alone cannot be our primary weapon.
While the Bible is God’s special revelation to mankind and contains what we need to know to have faith and to live the Christian life, many do not acknowledge it as such. To any who saw the Ham and Nye debate, Ham’s repeated returns to Scripture fell on Nye’s deaf ears. This is NOT to say the Bible as God’s Word is inadequate in some way, only that many have inoculated themselves against it when it is used alone.
But there is a word that can stop an atheist argument in its tracks. Why Christians today don’t use it is one of the great losses of our generation.
That word? The word of knowledge.
Yes, the charismatic gift.
A Christian and an atheist arguing presuppositions about the origin of matter can dispense with all the bilateral systematic dismantling if the Christian would simply say, “Your mother told you when you were 13 that she wished she had never conceived you , and you struggle daily to recover from rejection, don’t you?” Or how about “God revealed to me that you’ve been cheating on your spouse for the last two years”?
Any Christian out there wonder if that would change the direction of the debate?
If we’re talking whether God exists or not, connecting with the supernatural is the natural course of argument. A spoken word of knowledge immediately dismantles all opposition. Immediately. People who claim God does not exist must now explain that word of knowledge. Let them try. They won’t succeed. NOW who is on the defensive?
See, God intended us to be more than a Word Church. He intended us to be a Word + Power Church.
In the sidebar of this blog is an ad for Gospel for Asia. When you read the testimonies of the missionaries involved in that organization, nearly all came from non-Christian homes, and nearly all had some power encounter because of a missionary coming into their homes and bringing a miracle of some kind. Supernatural healing, deliverance, words of knowledge, words of wisdom, whatever—the Word was accompanied by a Spirit-filled believer operating in supernatural Power. The result was faith.
You see, the arguments against the Lord went dead in the face of God working through His people in power.
Is it any wonder why atheism has revived in the age of a Western Church that more likely than not DENIES the operation of the charismata? And is it any wonder that the Church is moving forward in leaps and bounds in those places where Christians place no such restrictions on the Spirit moving through charismatic gifts?
American Church, are you listening?
Get the gifts moving again and see the arguments against God crumble. Because they will.
And one more thing…
We always like to say that Christianity is not a religion but a relationship. Why then do we Christians never press the relationship reality when we debate atheists? Why is it always a battle of logic? If knowing Christ is eternal life and relationship with Him is the cornerstone of our Faith, why do Christians never bring up this living relationship with Christ when talking with atheists? Ravi Zacharias is about the only apologist I ever hear who gets to the heart of relationship with Christ when discussing the uniqueness of Christianity and its superiority. More of us need to talk about our vital relationship with Christ with our atheist friends.
For too long the discussion has been from our heads. It’s time to take it back to relationship with Christ and to Word + Power. Because that’s what makes Christianity the only true answer.
11 thoughts on “How Christians Can Demolish Atheism with a Word”
You do seem to touch on a variety of subjects that are ‘verbotten’ in the N American church today! Thank you.
I’m coming to understand that a major issue in the N Am church is, essentially, Unbelief! Jesus couldn’t even DO miracles when he went to his home area for this very reason. No wonder the church is in the state it is today! Is there any wonder we don’t see the charismata to any significant degree?
Lord, I believe, help my unbelief! (Hmmm, maybe the early christians were called Believers for a reason?)
Yes, this is it exactly. Though I’m not sure a debate setting is the best place to give a word of knowledge…which begs the question of whether Christians should engage in public debates in the first place. But when dealing with atheists and un-believers in general, the Holy Spirit is the only solution to getting anywhere. It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict and convert, not ours. We only sow seeds and let ourselves be used by God. Our intellect will only get so far in a world where Christianity makes no sense to the rest of the world.
I read this as an atheist and…I’m still an atheist. That seems to disprove your point. I’m not even sure what the point was. Was I supposed to have a revelation? Knowledge of God should flow through me now?I don’t feel his spirit.
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you stick around!
God works through His Spirit to reveal things to believers they could not know except by supernatural means. This is called a word of knowledge. It’s considered one of the nine supernatural gifts of the Spirit. This isn’t a guessing game kind of thing or what magicians do. It’s otherwise unknowable information revealed by God to a person filled with the Holy Spirit. When an entire church of people operate in this kind of gift or others like it, it’s a powerful testimony, not only to God’s existence but also to His giftings and goodness.
“…to His giftings and goodness.” And to His Love. And the power that accompanied the rise of the West to, in many resects, lead the world.
May Mr Grundy come to know that awesome love which transforms the human heart into new levels! Thanks for your thoughtful writings in Christ, Cerulean!
I’m an atheist. Prove it.
And please not something that you can get from Google.
One more comment, the reason why you can’t do this over the Internet is because you can’t do the cold reading, which is all “word of knowledge” is.
No different than the charlatan and huckster faith healers.
This is retarded. You did bad and you should feel bad.
I am an ex-Christian turned atheist who has been looking an awful lot into Words of Knowledge lately.
Would you care to give me one? I’m willing to reconsider my stance on the issue of God and the validity of Words of Knowledge. Please don’t think of it as a pressure, as you being unable to do so does not prove that God does not exist.
I’ve been surrounded by Charismatic Christians all of my life but not once have I received a notably accurate Word of Knowledge. I would appreciate if you would try it out on me. You may be able to indirectly reconvert me.
Catherine, thank you for writing and for stopping by the blog.
At the risk of disappointing you, I want to be honest and say that words of knowledge and wisdom that I have received are not “automatic,” and I have received very few outside of praying for someone in person. Not that it has never happened a different way in a different context, just that it’s rare for me. I know there are people better gifted than I am in that gift and do better outside of personal contact, so perhaps such a person will read this and respond. I’ve always been in-person when it comes to ministry, so perhaps that’s a limitation on my part, since God is not limited.
For that reason, I will keep you and your request in prayer. I have your email. If God does share a word with me for you, I will most definitely let you know. I will also pray that God puts a reliable, godly, charismatic Christian into your life locally.
Shalom, I have a word of Knowledge for the people who call themselves atheists. Why do you fight so hard to say there is no God if he doesn’t exist? Why do you willingly choose to stay in a place of denial? If there is no God and we ask you to accept the invitation to be saved, why do you deny it? Why not accept it? If you take this invitation and we are right, you will not be sorry but if you refuse it and there is a God, what then will you say when it is too late? Thomas was a skeptic until he saw the holes himself. So then, you are also a skeptic but why go so far as to say humans were created from nothing. If you are lost child of God, say this, “In the Name of The Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I renounce this spirit of unbelief. Holy Spirit, please help me, I’m lost.” For those of you who have tried this, you will not be sorry. You may feel anger, but that anger is not yours. Say this, “In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I renounce this spirit of unrighteous anger. Do you feel lighter? Say this, “Melech Elah, (This means “The King, The awesome God.”) I am here, please help me.” Only God can free you from this internal Chaos. But We are praying for you. We love you. I love you. My father loves you and when you are sad and even frustrated, like right now, Jesus is right there with you. Just ask for help. Jesus, please help me. Show me that you are real. I do not believe in you because of what men and women have done because of their freewill. That’s my fault. I apologize. Please forgive me. Now, you will feel lighter. That is because you let go of the pride that was holding you down. We love you. Shalom.