My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.
1 Corinthians 2:4-5
What Makes the Case
In 19th Century England there was a man by the name of Charles Bradlaugh. Charles Bradlaugh possessed a power-house intellect. He was a riveting speaker. And he was, perhaps, the most prominent atheist in the English-speaking world. He was the founder of the National Secular Society, an organization that opposed all things religious. He authored pamphlets and books, including one called A Plea for Atheism. And Charles Bradlaugh loved to debate. Often, he would challenge well-known Christians to set up heated arguments in a public forum. As a skilled debater, he reveled in finding just the right turn of phrase or aggressive maneuver that would portray Christianity in the worst possible light.
It’s said that, in his search to find another Christian to attack, Charles Bradlaugh challenged a London pastor to debate him. After some thought, the pastor accepted, but he did so on one condition. The condition was this. On the day of the debate, the pastor would bring with him 100 people who had come to faith in Jesus Christ. These people would simply talk about their Savior, what he meant to them, and how the message of the gospel had impacted their lives. Charles Bradlaugh, in turn, would be welcome to bring with him a group of people eager to speak about their atheism, what it meant to them, and how the power of its message had impacted their lives.
The date was set. The day arrived. The pastor entered the room with 100 people ready to describe what God’s forgiveness in Jesus had done for them. They waited. Then they waited some more. Charles Bradlaugh—and the group he was welcome to bring—never showed up.
What makes the case for the gospel is not your debating skills. What makes the case for the gospel is not finding just the right turn of phrase or clever line of attack. What makes the case for the gospel is the gospel itself.
God has cleansed us in the blood of his Son. He has lifted us from the pit into the warmth of his light. Because he has, you and I possess a peace and a quiet joy that the troubles of this world cannot touch.
And so live that quiet joy. Put on display what the gospel has done for you. Give the Charles Bradlaughs of the world a reason to pause, and think, and reconsider.
Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Answer. You are the Truth. You are the Way. Fill me with your Spirit. Move me to display what your gospel has done for me. Amen.
This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.
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