Wacky Witness: Using Humor to
The spiritual seeker was asking lots of questions about Christianity—which
was good. He was asking them of a friend of mine who's a mature
Christian—also good. But some of my friend's answers were—how
shall I put it—a bit off the wall.
For instance, the seeker asked about necromancy—the practice
of trying to contact the dead through witchcraft or sorcery. What
did the Bible say about talking to the dead? My friend's answer:
"It says you should speak very loudly because the first thing
that goes when you're dead is your hearing."
It wasn't the kind of answer this man expected—but it certainly
got his attention. And after he stopped laughing, he stuck around
to hear why the Bible condemns this evil practice.
Humor: It's an unusual witnessing tool. But my friend and former
"BreakPoint" colleague, Eric Metaxas, believes it's
a terrific way to reach modern Americans. And that's why he's
written a delightful new book called Everything You Always
Wanted to Know About God (But Were Afraid to Ask). It's an
imaginary conversation between Eric and a somewhat antagonistic
seeker who wants to know more about the Christian faith. Eric—who
put many of his own real-life talks with non-Christians into the
book—says he "wanted to make the idea of a conversation
on the subject of God inviting and, dare I say it, even fun."
Introducing an element of fun is especially important in a culture
in which many people are wary of Christians. They think we're
dour and unpleasant people to be around. Humor helps put them
at ease, and makes them more willing to listen than they might
Second, Eric says, humor and irony "have become part of
the lingua franca of our culture." Think about popular TV
programs like Seinfeld and David Letterman,
who brought irony and sarcasm into the mainstream. If Christians
want to speak to people who love that kind of humor, we have to
be willing to put our tongues in our cheeks now and then.
Eric is right. Every generation has to find ways to make the
Good News understandable to those around them. In this we can
take a lesson from the early Church. For example, the ancient
Athenians, unlike the Jews, had no prior knowledge of Scripture,
so the Apostle Paul looked for a starting point familiar to them.
He struck on using a religious site in the city: an altar to an
unknown god. Then he quoted a Greek poet. He appealed to the Athenians'
experience in order to create common ground for presenting the
Modern America used to resemble Jerusalem, but it has becoming
increasingly like Athens. It's our task to find ways—including
humor—to reach our unsaved neighbors with the Gospel.
That's a good reason for reading Eric's book, Everything
You Always Wanted to Know About God (But Were Afraid to Ask).
And once you've finished it, pass it on to an unsaved friend to
I've known many people who were turned off by Christians who
were just too serious and dour—but I've never known one
who refused to listen to someone who first made him laugh.
From BreakPoint, Copyright 2005 Prison Fellowship
with Chuck Colson" is a radio ministry
of Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with permission of
Prison Fellowship, P.O. Box 17500, Washington, DC, 20041-0500."
Heard on more than 1000 radio stations nationwide. For more information
on the ministry of Chuck Colson and Prison Fellowship visit their
web site at http://www.breakpoint.org.
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