On Tuesday evenings we have our regular church bible study in our Fair Trade shop in Soho. Afterwards we then go out onto the street to chat to people passing by, and hand out some booklets that ask challenging questions, for example 'Are you Good enough for Heaven?'.
Normally we will have at least one or two good conversations with the passerby', however the last couple of weeks its been very hard, with very few people stopping to talk. We've been asking ourselves what the reason might be, the cold? The fact we have building works going on right out side our shop? We've also been asking could we do something different to help start conversations.
However saying all that last night was a real surprise. Even though it was really cold, we were having a number of good conversations with people. One of mine was interesting. I was chatting to a guy that would class himself as a christian because he was christened at birth, but and with his own words 'clearly I'm not'.
I asked him if he thought there was life after death? the answer came back 'we'll find out when we die'. 'That's true' I said 'but by that stage isn't it too late?' The guy replied 'Well I hope that my good actions might help me if it is true.' 'I'm afraid to break it to you mate but they won't'. He was quite surprised and with a worried response asked 'Whys that?'. Well I said 'If God is real he is therefore perfect and good, and his standard of goodness is far beyond anything we could achieve, how could we ever do anything that is good compared to God?' Straight away the reply came back 'Who says God is Good?' 'Jesus does and so does God.' I said 'that God himself defines who he is and his character and Jesus confirms that'. The man started to laugh. 'What do you find funny?' I asked. 'The fact that God defines God, I mean how can God define himself, we (as humans) should define God.' 'Whys that?' I asked, and here is the interesting bit. 'Because' he said, 'we are the source of knowledge not God.'
This is an understandable reaction, if you don't believe in God, of course you are going to see humans as the source of knowledge, more than that though, and this is his problem, he wouldn't see God as God. If he did, he would realise that in fact God can and does define himself. His real problem is that he sees something else as God, and not Jesus.
I've been asking myself the last couple of weeks how can we, in a space of minuets (because that is all you get with this way of evangelism), show people, that even though they don't believe in Jesus, they are in fact believing in another type of god and, that god is useless, because it is not living, and cannot in anyway save them.