An interesting experience

You all may not know, but sometimes when I see Christians on the street sharing the gospel, I will pose as a non-believer and listen to what they say, in the meantime, sprouting off some objections that I know the answers myself to see how they react to those questions.

The first time was Christmas last year, when SAC was doing so outside Plaza Singapura, and the people were just sharing about Christmas to the passerbys in the Christmas Village which they set up exhibitions on the Christmas story. That first time was a mild one, and I simply listened. I dun remember throwing in any spanner or what into the conversation since I was just interested in listening how they actually share. It was to be a refreshing experience to see people from other churches fervent to share the good news of Christmas to people on the street (somehow it is easier to do so during Christmas).

My second time was precisely last night, after my dinner at PS, I walked to the bus stop to take 190 home. Along the way, I saw a group of people (I could instantly tell that they were not insurance agents and were sharing something remotely like the gospel). I thought they were people from Campus Crusade or what. Unable to resist the temptation, and sorta wanting to find out how they actually preach, I decided to loiter around that area like a lost sheep. True enough two guys approached me to ask me to fill up a survey (I guess I always look lost when I'm alone).

So far so good, until I see them asking a question in the survey about God the mother... I was like... 'ok, here comes another weird theology'. I have heard of the church (can't remember the name) from Joe before as he was approached by them once. Nevertheless, I decided to listen to them and see how their theology played out, since I have never heard of that before, and I was still interested to see how they preach the gospel of Christ to lay people.

It started off with an inauspicious note when they talked about the end days and that the world will be destroyed by 'fire' and starts talking about things like North Korea having nuclear weapon, Mayan calendar blah blah blah. Then they talk about the passover, that God promises that the disaster will pass over His people (this is the biblical part that I think make the most sense). At that point, I decided to throw in the spanner and question their source of information. Basically, they keep on telling me 'scientists have confirmed it, historians have said it, scholars have confirmed it to be true'. Being the bad guy, I asked who are the scientists and scholars that they are talking about. I also asked how do they know whether the text (bible lah) is reliable since they are taking their information from there.

To cut the long story short, their reply was that the bible is true because it has been verifed by the scholars (but who are they, as a lay person, how am I going to verify their claims if I dun even know who are they. This is what I called 'smoke'). It became like an argument which they are unable to affirm the premises. The only impressive thing is that one of the guy (he looked more composed and more well-learned but in the end smoked me still) was able to ask intelligent questions to question back my question, but he was still unable to give me a convincing answer. Their answer basically mismatched my question and thread at the very extreme of fideism (the bible is true, therefore what I say is true and I can only depend on faith to believe that it is true... after they say scholars have verified that the things are true). So they were telling me, after saying that what they claimed was verified by scholars, that you can only depend on faith to believe in the bible because there is no way they can verify it to be true. It sounds logical here, but the way they answered, they literally contradicted themselves.

And on the whole, they were unable to answer my question on the reliability of the bible in a fairly intelligent manner. When asked, all they could do was to assert and say that I need to study the bible... And they tried to continue to tell me what the bible said without answering my initial question of the bible's historical reliability. Literally, they either did not understand my questions or thought they can smoke their way through... As a trained historian, and someone who has been reading up people like William Lane Craig, Ravi Zacharias, Gary Habermas and JP Moreland lately, what they said in reply to my questions sounded like smoke... Losing interest in them after that, I told them to brush up their apologetics and went off to catch the bus.

On the bus, I was just thinking and reflecting through the entire experience. For a start, I didn't go in with the intention to seek an argument, but to listen and observe how other people share so that I can learn from them. But what I saw, as I thought through, could be a reflection of our church today. I have observed that increasingly, people have more and more intellectual questions as well as emotional and existential questions about God than ever. Why is it that we are not prepared to prepare ourselves for these questions? Literally speaking, the two guys are well-prepared to share with anyone on the street, I can observe that. But they are unprepared, when they encounter someone as critical and as bad-ass as me. The thing is that people in our church will face the same issue.

I feel that as a church, as we launch on intentional discipleship, we need to equip our people to share the gospel with other people. This also means at the very least, teach them how to respond to objections properly without smoking their way through. I'm ok with an 'I dun know but let me find out' but I am not ok when you try to smoke your way through without substantiation... This is really part of discipleship that we have to impart to our people.


  1. Amen. and i am so glad to God that you're on _our_ side. ROFL. you arh...

  2. HAHAHA I laughed the whole time I was reading your post =)

    I understand that your intention was not to humiliate nor taunt at the opponent or should I rather say the "believers". But to really question if the bros and sis nowadays are studying the word or simply blind faith.

    HAHA I should have been there man!!!

  3. the purpose is not to question lah, but really to see how they answer and respond, which provide opportunity to learn from them.

    In this case... they could have done better than that...

  4. Cool, you're doing what Sean Mcdowell does, playing the atheist.

    I agree, I'm also in Singapore, and many Christians do not think deeply enough about their faith. If the secularisation of youth affecting American churches comes here, we would lose many people, unnecessarily.

    I'm interested in apologetics and have listened to WLC and Rav too. But it's discouraging because if I want to talk to other people in the church about it, most are not interested. can I know what is true? People don't embody Christ like they used to. I can't work out the reliability of what I'm hearing from these speakers on my own. The church needs to think more deeply for its own sake.

    I am hopeful for a church that is as on fire as William Wilberforce. He thinks and takes the gospel seriously. There is so much to be done to help the less fortunate. If Christians are able to make their faith make sense in their minds, how much more bold, and sacrificial will they be, and how much more will Christianity shine in Singapore. Right now, from my experience, we give off a odour to unbelievers instead.


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