When I’m in a general market bookstore like Barnes and Noble (or Chapters in Canada) I make a point of hanging out in the Bible aisle and getting into conversations with people. Many people are purchasing a Bible in a relative vacuum and store staff can’t offer the same advice you’d get at a Christian bookstore.
So on Saturday, when the opportunity appeared to present itself, I told the guy that I kinda work in Christian publishing and if he needed any advice on his purchase…
“I have a doctorate in divinity;” he replied, “and I preach and teach around the world.”
By the tenor of his conversation, I knew that the tables had been turned on me that time. (I also got that humility wasn’t his thing; but that’s topic for another day.) This was clearly a man that doesn’t suffer fools, and that could have shut down the whole conversation right there; but I persisted by explaining what I do and why I asked.
He then asked me, “When did you become a Christian?” This was quickly followed by, “How did you become a Christian?” Finally, the most interesting question of the lot, “How does someone become a Christian?”
I liked his forthright manner.
The answer to the first for me would be as a seventeen year old. True, I “accepted Jesus” when I was seven, but I lived a very dualistic lifestyle all through high school. It was at seventeen I took ownership of the faith I had been raised in, the belief system I had been baptized into.
To answer the second question, I told him an analogy I often share with others; that of “taking delivery” of the salvation that God was “holding” for me. I explained that often one receives a parcel-delivery card in the mail; the card says that someone has sent something, it’s got my name on it, but I need to drive to pick it up. I don’t possess it until I reach out and take it.
For the last question, I said that the act of accepting Christ’s offer of salvation is an invisible transaction that one makes on faith, trusting His promise that if I tell Him through prayer that I want to be under the covering He offers, He will do His part. (You could break this down into the ABC process: Acknowledging, believing, confessing.)
…So, you’re in a bookstore like me, or a grocery store, or getting your car fixed, or your hair styled, and you’re asked, How does someone become a Christian? Do you have a ready answer? Is your answer different when explaining it to someone with a doctorate in divinity than it is explaining it to your mechanic, or mail carrier? Should the answer be different depending on the hearer?
A divinity student named Tweedle
When Refused to accept his degree.
He said, “It’s bad enough being Tweedle,
Without being Tweedle, DD”.