You have helped me in the past, and I'm very happy to be asking you a question on much better and different terms.
I am a Christian and attend a church of Christ. I believe in what the Bible teaches and like to think the church I worship at does as well.
I have been slowly getting to know a very nice girl, who is not a member of the church of Christ but is very involved in her non-denominational church. She is a small group leader, the whole nine yards. Obviously, she is very interested in getting to know Christ and following the Bible.
We are getting close to the point of having serious discussions on how to handle this. I feel like I could really mess this up as I have no experience in slowly drawing someone into the church as I think the Bible clearly lays out. I am afraid of coming across as being very close minded without also showing my concern in love. I'm not willing to compromise my beliefs, but I want to give it my best shot to ultimately try and move her to the point of understanding worshiping in "Spirit and Truth." My grandpa converted my grandma from the Baptist church. This has been done many times, I just feel inadequate and inexperienced in doing it, so I am looking for any advice.
Any suggestions on converting someone who is already a "believer" to being a baptized Christian?
This is supposed to come across as the very simple, and I'm sure often-asked, question you get all the time.
"Often asked question?" No, I don't get this question nearly often enough.
When teaching anyone, girlfriend, boyfriend, family, enemy, the first rule is always the same. You must keep in mind that your goal is not to prove that you are right. Your goal is to get another person to heaven.
"But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will" (II Timothy 2:23-26).
Getting your own personal ego out of the way is probably the hardest part about teaching the Bible to another. You are going to run into people who will challenge you, mock you, and misrepresent your position. If you focus on the issues and ignore anything that you see as a personal attack, you'll be a better position to remain calm.
The second rule follows from the first. This isn't about you, it is about what God says. So make your points by citing God's word.
"If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen" (I Peter 4:11).
I tease people when I start a study that I'm going to avoid giving my own opinion. It isn't that I don't have them, but I consider them to hold little value. I will answer questions by going to a verse and asking the person to read the verse out loud. As they read I listen carefully for any stumbling -- that usually means they don't understand the word used or the phrase doesn't make sense to them. I'll then help define the word or ask a question or two to make sure they grasped what they read. Then we talk about how that verse answers their question.
In doing it this way, the person with objections isn't arguing with you. He is in the position of arguing with God. I had one person tell me that baptism had nothing to do with salvation. I had him flip over to I Peter 3:21 and waited for him to read it. When he finished the verse, he looked at me and said, "That's just your opinion." Unwittingly, he made my point. Without my saying anything, he knew what that passage meant and that it was different from what he believed.
What I suggest is not to have a long drawn out study session. Instead, as topics come up, ask her to flip over to a verse and read it. At first, you're going to think, "I'll never remember which verses to use." Don't worry about it. With practice it becomes easier. What I did for many years is jot topics and verses on those blank pages in the front and back of every Bible. When the topic of, say repentance, came up and I knew there was a good verse dealing with it, but I couldn't remember where, I would just flip to the front and refresh my memory. If someone asked me something that I didn't have a verse to answer, I would tell them I would get back to them. Then I would do some research and when I found some appropriate verses, I would add them to the list because I knew that question would come up again with someone else.
By keeping it away from a "me against you" situation, you won't undermine your relationship. You will also see first-hand your girlfriend's attitude toward the truth.
Very wise advice and scripture references. I appreciate the help and practical ideas tremendously.
I trust that God will reveal to me through these steps how both of us will handle confronting the truth straight from the source.