For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.
Journey from Agnostic to Belief in Christ
In exploring the question, “Is there a God?” I may not be the best one to answer that.
After all, I’ve been a believer in the Triune God all my life. I was baptized as an infant, grew up in The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, attended Lutheran schools, and am now a Lutheran pastor.
I believe there is a God. I answer the question, “Is there a God?” with a demonstrative “Yes!”
But I suspect that it isn’t too terribly helpful to someone who’s been agnostic – at best – their whole life.
To that end, today I want to share with you two stories of agnostics/atheists who came to believe in God.
Emile Victor Rieu
E.V. Rieu was a British classicist, publisher, and poet. He was one of the founders of the Penguin Classics series of books.
His forte was translating classical literature into English. His translation of Homer’s Odyssey was the first book in the Penguin Classics series.
When Rieu was 60 years old, he decided to tackle translating the four Gospels into English. Being a classics scholar well-versed in Greek and Latin, he was able to translate the thousands of fragments available at the time.
Also at the time, Rieu was an avowed agnostic. This may have stemmed from the fact that he lived in the last part of the 19th century and early part of the 20th century, enduring numerous wars including the First and Second World War.
When he told his family that he was going to take on the translating of the Gospels in 1947, his son is believed to have quipped, “It will be interesting to see what father makes of the four gospels. It will be even more interesting to see what the four gospels make of father.” (Quoted by E. M. Blaiklock, “More and More Scripture Lives!” Christianity Today, 17 [Sept. 28, 1973]: 18–19)
Within a year, Dr. Rieu was converted to Christianity. He observed, “I got the deepest feeling that the whole material was extraordinarily alive. My work changed me. I came to the conclusion that these words bear the seal of the Son of Man and God” (ibid).
Perhaps a better-known story is that of Lee Strobel.
Lee Strobel was an award-winning legal editor of The Chicago Tribune. He was perhaps best known for his investigative reporting about the infamous Ford Pinto crash trial in 1980.
It was about this time that his wife converted to Christianity and joined Willow Creek Church in suburban Chicago.
Shaken by his wife’s belief in something that he, himself, certainly did not believe it, Strobel undertook an investigation of the Biblical claims about Jesus Christ, interviewing thirteen evangelical Christian scholars. He also attended worship regularly with his wife.
While Strobel was an avowed atheist trying to disprove Christianity, the exact opposite happened. His investigation put him in the presence of Biblical teaching and Christians who shared their faith and prayed for him.
The Holy Spirit converted Lee Strobel and he professed his faith on November 8, 1981 (see the Article “Lee Strobel Answers Your Questions, Part 1” here).
God Reaches Out Through Me
These two stories show me that if a person is exposed to the Christian faith and the Holy Scriptures, the Holy Spirit really does an incredible work on them.
However, I’m not saying that everyone who reads the Bible or listens to a Christian is converted to Christianity. Some people do not convert. Why? I believe because they reject God’s invitation to them.
As a Christian, I also believe it is not my job to covert anyone to the Christian faith.
Instead, God – in his Word – tells me to proclaim and teach others about Jesus. I do that by first getting to know people, listen to their stories, and then, if asked, tell my own faith-story.
The Holy Spirit does the rest.
The story is simple yet profound. Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, lived perfectly, keeping God’s Law perfectly for us. Then Jesus died on a cross to forgive all our sin. He rose from the dead three days later then ascended into heaven.
He promised to come back again. In the meantime, he wants his people to share his story and how he’s touched our own lives.
Doing so, we can be part of another person’s journey to faith in Christ!
God, help me to tell your Son’s story and how it has touched my life. I would love to be a part of someone else’s journey to faith in Jesus. In his name. Amen.
© 2019 True Men Ministries