Don't Forget the Most Important Question
There's a young man that I've been discipling for over a year, now - not someone who is a part of our church family. We've gone through a few books together and are now walking through the Gospel of John. We simply read the next section, make observations, ask questions, and talk about how it applies to real life. Not complicated, no curriculum, just walking on a journey together.
I've very encouraged by how I see this young man growing. That's not my doing. My part is just to keep pointing to the Word.
In a recent passage, we just kept dwelling on the importance of the identity of Jesus - who He is, more than what He did, can do, or taught (as important as those things are). Even the skeptics in the passage were fixed on the question, "Who are you?"
Who Jesus is matters!
If Jesus is the Son of God, then we either receive Him as He is or we have to reject the very Son of God. If He's not the Son of God, then He's just another religious teacher who we can take or leave as we please.
That's the fulcrum of Christianity! Not how many hospitals have we built in history, not how many people groups we brought literacy to, not how many hungry we've fed, and not how many horrible mistakes we've made in history. Those don't determine the legitimacy of Christianity. Only the identity of who Jesus is (and then what He did as a necessary expression of His identity).
Skeptics may want to focus on other things: age of the universe, history of the Bible, hypocrisy in the Church, the menu of religions available today, or your stance on certain moral or political issues. All of these questions are valid and deserve reasoned responses, but they are not the fulcrum of Christianity.
In your conversations, keep pointing back to the identity of Jesus. Who He is matters more than your politics or failures of certain Christians in history. The question people must face is the identity of Jesus (especially as the Son of God), not the origin of the universe, for example.
As C.S. Lewis wrote, once someone faces Jesus' claim to be the Son of God, they have to respond by calling him either a liar, or a crazy man on the level of a man who calls himself a poached egg, or as the Lord of all. Jesus forces the "Who are you?" question on each of us. So let's pose the same question.
All these other issues will find a place once someone accepts or rejects Jesus is the Son of God. Keep the focus there.
(image: By Rakoon - Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=68341796)