I am pleased to present a guest post by Marilyn Joy Tyner. Marilyn is the founder of True-Way Tracts, a Christian ministry that produces gospel tracts and apologetics briefs and distributes them worldwide (TrueWayTracts.com). Marilyn holds an MA in Christian Apologetics and BA degrees in English Literature and Biblical Studies. She is also the author of Awesom-azing God: Know Him, Love Him, Proclaim Him.
One of the top roles of Christian apologists is to answer searchers’ questions regarding the blessed hope that lies within us (1 Peter 3:15). During our conversations with unbelievers, their comments will sometimes reveal major misunderstandings about Christianity. If we remove those stumbling blocks by offering effective and truthful explanations, more pre-Christians will journey toward the cross—no longer discouraged or deceived.
In my own life, a major misconception about Christianity trapped me behind a spiritual block wall for years. It left me ineligible to enter heaven or embrace my Savior on earth.
People’s mistaken beliefs often result from human tendencies, assumptions, and desires. For we think much differently than our omniscient God does (Isa. 55:8–9). And in our natural state, without the Holy Spirit in our hearts, we cannot understand spiritual matters (1 Cor. 2:14).
Here are three major misconceptions about Christianity that immobilize countless unbelievers. They are followed by key Bible teachings.
- Misconception: In order to get to heaven, I must earn God’s approval, either by being a good person or by doing good works.
Clarification: Gloriously, Ephesians 2:8–9 says, “By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” People cannot be saved on the basis of their good works (Titus 3:5), and salvation is God’s free gift to us. We could never make it to heaven on our own, because every person falls short of God’s perfection (Rom. 3:23). We need only to receive (trust in) the sinless Savior of the world (John 3:16).
- Misconception: It would be far too difficult to live the Christian life, with its long list of dos and don’ts, so I’m not going to try and fail.
Clarification: Marvelously, God provides us the power to live the Christian life. When Jesus Christ walked the earth, prior to His crucifixion, He promised the coming of the Holy Spirit to help His believers (John 16:13–14). And that happened, as shown in the book of Acts (see 4:7, 33; 6:8). When Christians yield to the Holy Spirit’s leading, He empowers them to overcome temptation and to live the Christian life (Gal. 5:16; Rom. 8:11).
- Misconception: God can’t be real, personal, and loving, because He doesn’t answer my many sincere prayers.
Clarification: Wonderfully, God promises to hear and answer all prayer petitions that line up with His will (1 John 5:14–15). But often people don’t know what God’s will is, especially if they don’t read the Bible. The purpose of prayer is not to get our will done in heaven, but to get God’s will done in our lives. Almighty God knows what’s best for each person, in the present and in the future. And Scripture repeatedly reveals that God is real, personal, and loving—even pure love in His essence (1 John 4:8).
As Christian apologists bound for heaven, let’s be prepared to clarify major misconceptions that unbelievers have about Christianity, thereby turning spiritual stumbling blocks into building blocks. And if an opportunity arises, we could share the gospel of grace or lead them in a prayer to receive Christ. For those who know God’s truth can be set free forever (John 8:32).