Is there a proper way to share the Gospel with someone? Should we explain church doctrine or go into the depths of Biblical theology to one who does not know the Lord? Or should we keep it simple and just explain the basics?
I think something needs to be said as to ‘who is your audience’? This changes the answer quite dramatically. You would address the unbeliever different than you would a believer. Many people try to unload doctrine and deep theology on an unbeliever in an attempt to explain the Gospel. I believe this in incorrect. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 2:14 that those without the Spirit of God cannot accept or understand the things of God. One is wasting their time going into too much that is just not necessary with someone who doesn’t know Christ. Theology and doctrine are for the believer!
For example, if you were having a party at your house and you were inviting people who did not live there, you would give them directions on how to get there. You wouldn’t go into detail with them where the Tylenol or bath soap is kept in the pantry would you? No, of course not. On the other hand, to someone who already lives in the house you wouldn’t go into detail on how to get to the house-they already live there! But you would definitely go into detail and describe the exact location of the Tylenol bottle and bath soap!
Now you may ask “what does directions and Tylenol have to do with sharing the Gospel?” Well lets relate this to the current topic. When speaking to an unbeliever (someone who does not live at the house) you would carefully detail the directions on how to get to your house (heaven), not the details of where the Tylenol or bath soap are (doctrine & theology) but, for the believer, they don’t need directions to your house (they are already saved), rather they need the details of the interior and where things are kept (doctrine & theology) so they can be comfortable and make the most out of living there!!
I believe we need to keep in proper perspective the fact that yes, our words and what we say are important when explaining/describing/sharing our faith to someone but even more importantly (when sharing with an unbeliever) is the Holy Spirit’s working in that individual to give them the faith to believe and then respond. We want to be theologically correct in what we say but our words alone won’t save a person, I don’t care how great your apologetics are or how versed you are in theological doctrine. The Holy Spirit is the only thing that can open a spiritually blind person’s eyes, mind and heart to see (Luke 24:31, 24:45, Acts 16:14) the truth of the Gospel. Jesus said “No man can come unto Me unless the Father draws them.” (John 6:44) The Word also says the devil has blinded them to the truth of teh Gospel (2 Cor 4:4). Yes there is a place for apologetics. Yes there is a place for theological teaching. But even more so, there is the great need for the working of the Holy Spirit. A person is not born again by mere intellectual argument or intellectual understanding but rather by the inner-working power of the Spirit of God!
I do think it good though if one can learn to condense their personal testimony truth of the Gospel into a 4-5 minute presentation. Very useful when street witnessing or sharing with anyone for that matter. In today’s day and age, time is of the essence and unfortunately people want things now. Paul says “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might win some.” Blessings.
Glory to God!! Let us use wisdom and the knowledge God has instilled in us through His precious Word when sharing/discussing the Gospel!