The second person I spoke with was a sweet, young black lady that was a relativist. In the midst of the conversation I asked her, "If ethical standards are determined by society, how do we judge between societies when they have mutually exclusive ethical standards?" She replied, "Uh, I guess we go back to our own upbringing" and I said, "But that wasn't the original standard you raised and because of that it wouldn't be relevant." I then asked her the same question again, using Nazi Germany as the classic example and she said, "That's a good point, I see where you're going with this." I then told her that unless you begin with the Bible you cannot have a non-arbitrary, transcendent basis for any standard, much less ethics and that if God's word is ditched in favor of a social contract, then there are no absolute, transcendent ethical standards by which a society can objectively determine right from wrong (Judges 21:25). I then asked her what her religious background was and she said, "Christian"; I asked her to tell me how to get to heaven and it was essentially the same postmodern pottage I received from the young man above. I then gave her the gospel, our contact information, we exchanged a warm handshake, and I was off to talk to someone else.
The third person I spoke with was a young girl that rejected Christianity because she prayed that her mother would be delivered from enslavement to alcohol and it never happened, so she left the faith. She also noted that her father-in-law held to Native American religion and that she liked some of those beliefs better than Christianity. I asked her if she thought that Christianity was merely one of many ways to get to the same God and she agreed that she did. I then asked her how that could be true given the fact that most major world religions have competing and contradictory truth claims? She asked for an example and I noted that Native American religions tend to be animistic and pantheistic and then contrasted that with the Creator-Creation distinction made with the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) and asked her how those four alternatives could be true at the same time and the same sense when they have completely different truth claims regarding the nature of God, man, the world, and the afterlife. She then saw the point so I then asked her "How do you determine the difference between right and wrong?" and she basically said that she follows her heart and seeks to do what brings the greatest happiness to the most people. I then asked her that if she made moral judgments based upon what her heart tells her and my heart tells me that its okay to molest little girls for fun then how can she object? Worse, if what makes the majority happy determines what is morally acceptable then upon what basis could she condemn the practice of widow burning in ancient India? She then admitted that there was a problem with her views and I then explained to her that this problem is solved through the gospel of Jesus Christ. I explained the gospel to her and she went on her way.
The third person I spoke with was a young man raised as a Roman Catholic but was now cynical of religion, especially "the Church". I asked what he now believed about epistemology (how does one know what he knows?), metaphysics (what is reality like?) and ethics (How do I determine right and wrong?). He was all over the board in answering these questions. I then explained to him the problems with his understanding of church history, "the Church", what the true Church is, what it looks like, and how truly regenerate people behave. He then shifted gears and explained that the existence of God can neither proved nor denied and I quickly responded with what God says in Romans 1:19-21, ". . . that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened." I then said, "My friend, the Bible says you know God exists and the evidence is all around you. You're standing on it, breathing it, and living in it." He admitted that this was true and I said, "I don't know what all happened to you in your religious upbringing, but I would like to know this: Do you know what the gospel is?" He admitted he was clueless. I then took the next ten minutes to explain the differences between the Biblical gospel and the false gospel of Roman Catholicism. He avoided eye contact, was always looking around at who was listening in on the conversation, his body language screamed that he was uncomfortable and wanted out of the conversation, so I wrapped things up, asked if he had any questions, and he quickly bolted after a weak handshake.
I then took the opportunity preach open air for about 15 minutes because the foot traffic was sufficient enough to do so, and we had several hundred that milled through and heard at least part of the gospel. Several young folks were standing around listening for a few minutes, but no hecklers came forward and the foot traffic died down after 15 minutes.
I then spoke to one other girl that became a Buddhist through her involvement in Asian martial arts. I have a long history in practicing various types of martial arts so this was a good stepping stone to discuss the differences between Buddhism and Biblical Christianity. I couldn't discern whether she held to Theravada or Mahayana Buddhism, but it didn't matter because she contradicted her own principles several times in her own description of what she believed. I then explained to her why I rejected Buddhism; because it didn't offer a loving personal God who could forgive my wrongdoings against Him and other men. After asking her if she knew what the gospel was, she said she didn't, and then I spoke the truth to her in love. She said she had a Bible, and I told her to begin reading in the gospel of John to read about who Jesus is. She truly was enjoyable to talk to and I hope to get the opportunity to speak with her again.
In conclusion, here are a few things to help you in your beginning evangelism/apologetical work:
1. Be able to summarize the gospel in a minute or less. This is the most important thing you can do. Be ready to explain the gospel in greater detail as needed. Some passages to read, familiarize yourself with, and do memorization work in are John 3; Romans 3-5, and Ephesians 2.
2. Study a reformed catechism and memorize the answers and Scripture proofs to the sections that pertain to the nature of God, the doctrine of salvation, the nature and sufficiency of the Scriptures, and other pertinent sections.
3. Be able to ask the following questions of people and provide the Biblical answers to people as needed: "If you could ask God one question, what would it be?", "If I have a knife stuck in my back and only have 2 minutes to live, what must I do to go to heaven?", "Do you believe in absolute truth?" "Do you believe in God?" "How do you determine the difference between right and wrong?" "Do you consider yourself to be a good person?" These kinds of questions are diagnostic and are designed to help you gather information about people so as to determine where to take the conversation next.
3. Print these out and familiarize yourself with the Biblical answers to questions and objections: God’s Answers to Man’s Excuses
God’s Answers to Man’s Questions
4. Here's more great evangelistic resources:
Lies Students Hear
Alpha and Omega
Are There No Absolutes?
Are You Bad Enough?
Are You Born Again?
Baptism or Christ?
Great Teacher or God Incarnate?
How Would You Feel?
One Way or Many?
Way of Salvation
What Then Shall I Do With Jesus?
The Worth of a Soul
What Every Woman Needs