Question:

I currently attend a church of Christ. The reason I'm contacting you is because my now ex-boyfriend attends a Baptist church. He recently broke up with me because of religious differences. I would not attend his services because I believe that they are worshipping incorrectly. He didn't think our relationship would work because of our difference. Anyway, I still care about him so much and I really want him to know the truth. Everything at his particular Baptist church aligns with our doctirne except for musical instruments, communion, the term "pastor" being used incorrectlyand the necessity of baptism in order to be saved. He is stuck on his views and I don't know what I can say to prick his heart, so that he may hear the truth. What do you think I should do or say to convince him? I've tried numerous Scriptures, but they have not done it for him. I would really appreciate your help.

Answer:

The hardest part of teaching another is remembering that every person must make their own choice. Even Jesus did not convince everyone of the truth he taught. Why should we set a goal for ourselves that is greater?

If the Scriptures cannot convince a person, then there isn't much else we can do. Remember what Abraham told the rich man when he wanted Lazarus to come back from the grave to convince his brothers to straighten up? "But he said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead'" (Luke 16:31). In the same way if the teachings of Jesus and the apostles don't change his beliefs, then nothing else will.

I'm not saying you should completely give up, but I am warning you not to look at this situation and decide you were inadequate for the task. You did the best you could. You let God do the talking. Who knows, it might sink in later, years from now. Someone else might say something similar to what you said, but because he is now more receptive to listening, it might touch his heart. I've seen that happen a number of times. It is what Paul noted as well. "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase" (I Corinthians 3:6). Paul didn't fail when someone didn't respond to his teaching. He understood that with some people he was making it easier for the next teacher to reach that person.

Meanwhile, your ex-boyfriend was correct. Because the two of you cannot look at God's word the same way, a relationship between the two of you would not have worked out in the long run.

Thank you so much for your help! It really hurts though. Please keep him in your prayers. Another question, do you think your article would help him on "Why I left the Baptist Church"?

I'm guessing he probably would be willing to read that particular article. It is gentler in its approach than many others. You might give it to him and tell him something like, "I read this article and it reminded me of our situation. I'd like for you to read it too." Something low key, not whopping him over the head with it and saying "you need to read this right now!" :-)

I know it hurts when you can't convince someone. Preachers face it all the time, but it is part of the territory. Perhaps you understand a bit better about Jesus' lament, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!" (Matthew 23:37).