The power of asking questions and using illustrations


Many of us are wary of sharing the gospel because we fear that we will not be equipped to answer questions asked of us. In the podcast we look at some quick answers to questions that will prompt an approach and an answer. We recommend you listen to a course by Michael Ramsden, which provides wise counsel, practical strategies and a clear demonstration of how to answer some of the toughest questions, with gentleness and respect. There are also excellent resources in Digging Deeper below.

The 16 Questions and Answers Addressed in the Podcast

Q1. Atheism isn’t a belief, it’s the absence of belief.

A1. Really? And I suppose anarchism is the absence of political convictions?

Q2. If God made the world, who made God?

A2. That’s like asking “If the sun enlightens the earth, what enlightens the sun?”

Q3. I don’t believe in God.

A3. I probably don’t believe in the god you’re imagining either. Let’s talk about Jesus…

Q4. I could never be religious.

A4. Many say ‘I could never be married’, but then they meet The One. That’s who Jesus is to me...

Q5. How can you believe in the virgin birth of Jesus?

A5. How can you believe in the virgin birth of the cosmos? Talk about miraculous!

Q6. There's no need for God, science explains it all.

A6. I can explain that sentence. Does that mean there's no need for you?

Q7. If you grew up in 12th century Nepal, you wouldn’t be a Christian.

A7. If you grew up there, you wouldn’t be a skeptic.

Q8. You believe we’re born sick and commanded to be well.

A8. No we’re born hungry and offered Bread. As with the physical, so the spiritual.

Q9. Suffering rules out God.

A9. Which God? To be sure many gods are incompatible with suffering, but what about the crucified God?

Q10. To say Jesus is The One Way is narrow.

Q10. But you insist on One Way to consider religions. That’s narrow. The cosmic Christ isn’t.

Q11. To say sex / marriage is for one man and one woman is homophobic.

A11. Think of a Buddhist. Is their vegetarianism carnivore-phobic?

Q12. Religions cause all wars.

A12. Nope, about 7%*. God isn’t the common denominator in war. Humanity is.


Q13. Why doesn’t God just forgive?

A13. Ever tried it? It hurts! It means self-sacrifice because forgiving a debt means absorbing the cost.

Q14. Christians are hypocrites.

A14. Christians are SINNERS and we're very open about that. The biggest hypocrisy is pretending you don't have any.

Q15. I wish I had your faith.

A15. If I recommend my doctor, you don’t need my faith in her, you need HER. You don’t need faith, but Jesus.

Q16. If God knew there’d be suffering, why create?

A16. Every parent knows their children will suffer, they give life nonetheless.

How to Handle Objections Podcast Episode

This week’s podcast comes from Speaklife in the UK (you can subscribe to their regular podcast or watch it live at fb.com/SpeakLifeUK). It includes some great, quick answers to common questions, as well as suggestions on how to answer questions gracefully (it’s not just a matter of bludgeoning them with your quick answer!)

Answering The Tough Questions - A Course by Michael Ramsden

Michael is an evangelist and a Christian apologist. He is International Director of RZIM and one of the founders of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. In this two part course he explains how 1 Peter 3:15-16 provides a framework for sharing the gospel. When we answer questions, all answers must flow to, or flow from the cross of Christ. We must be ready to answer questions such as

  • Why are you a Christian?

  • Why did Jesus die on the cross?

  • Can you explain why he sacrificed his son and then forgave us?

Lecture 1 provides a practical and helpful framework for answering questions. In Lecture 2, Ramsden demonstrates his strategy, Lecture 3 he looks at how to apply the strategy 9-5 and Lecture 4 looks at some of the challenges we may face in very challenging times that are approaching.

Ramsden's strategy focuses on using questions to understand the real issue at the heart of the question being asked. Asking questions forces people to open up within their general assumptions and their cultural assumptions, exposes faulty logic, makes people think and exposes people's motives.

We need to be alert to trap questions. He explains that it is a trap question if someone asks you a question and by giving a simple answer people will conclude the opposite view to what they should conclude. He states that giving the right answer to the wrong question is always wrong.

Ramsden offers a three step approach to understanding the real question and the motive behind it. He suggests that you ask yourself:

  • why is this person asking this question? Explore the various options.

  • what question can I ask that will help me figure our where the person is coming from?

  • how can I best answer the question.

In the remainder of videos 1 and Ramsden demonstrates how to use this approach on a variety of tough questions. He explains that most people's questions are moral complaints to God or about God. They make faith in God impossible.

This course is practical, the approach is doable (especially with practice) and its fun to listen to. Michael has an engaging wit which is peppered throughout the course.

Speaker: Michael RamsdenPublisher: C.S. Lewis InstituteDuration: lecture 1 -1hr:51m Lecture 2: 2hr :14m Date accessed: 23/8/2019

Greg Koukl is interviewed about how to answer questions about Christianity. He uses the Columbo Approach - a method of asking questions to get the person to think about whether their claim is really rational enough. He outlines three types of questions:

  1. Questions that draw the person out, allow you to gain information and to clarify

  2. Questions that reverse the burden of proof

  3. Questions that lead somebody in the conversation.

Speaker: Discussion with Greg KouklPublisher: The Whitehorse Inn - whitehorseinn.orgDuration: 32 mDate accessed: 23/8/2019

The Power of Illustrations

Glen Scrivener discusses the power of using illustrations during one-to-one conversations. They also discuss the dangers of using illustrations. Glen also gives some examples of illustrations that can be used to answer some tough questions such as:

  1. How do we know that Christianity is true?

  2. Is the bible trustworthy?

  3. Why is there suffering in this world?

  4. I wish I had your faith

  5. If you're saved doesn't it give you a license to sin?

  6. How can someone else pay for my sin?

Check out Glen's course and book 321 on evangelism.

Speaker: Glen Scrivener Publisher: Speak LifeDuration: 38mDate accessed 24/8/2019

This article provides a practical approach to engaging in a conversation with a person who ask you about faith issues.

The article also provides a practical methodology for developing your skills, knowledge and confidence in handing tough questions about Christianity.

The article also provides a list of tough questions that you may wish to research answers for.

Author: Andy Mccullough Publisher: Read time: 12 minsDate accessed: 24/8/2019


1 Peter 3:15–16 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

Proverbs 26:4–5 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.

2 Corinthians 10:4–5 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

John 10:27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.


1. Research and develop an answer to the toughest questions. You could use the approach described in the article - Answering Objections to the Gospel.


Heavenly Father, there are so many different questions and objections that people raise and it feels overwhelming to try and have answers for them all. Thank you that even though I don't have all the answers, you do. Thank you that even though I don't know everything, you know all things. I praise you that there is no knowledge beyond you. Thank you that your word provides me with the firm and solid foundation to know and understand things about your amazing world. Please Father, give me wonder and curiosity about your world and your word. May questions people ask increase my desire to learn. Please guide me to the right answers, based firmly on your word. May Christ be set apart as Lord of my heart so that I am ready to give an answer. And Father, please use my stumbling efforts at providing answers to point people to the one in whom all answers are found, your Son Jesus Christ. And it's in his name I pray, Amen.

Digging Deeper

This website is an excellent resource for identifying and researching answering questions about the Christian faith. An excellent resource for the keen evangelist.

Publisher: https://www.gotquestions.org/ Date accessed: 24/8/2019

Why Apologetics - R. C. Sproul

Is it necessary to defend your faith? First Peter 3:15 tells us that it is. But is defending the faith a matter of giving historical and archaeological evidences for the dependability of the Bible, or giving rational arguments using the tools of philosophy? Supposing you had all of your evidences and arguments prepared, are they really going to work on the unbeliever? Dr. Sproul looks at Christian apologetics as he helps us understand how to fulfill the mandate in first Peter.

Speaker: Dr R. C. SproulPublisher: Ligonier MinistriesDuration: 24 mDate accessed: 24/8/2019