Types of unbelievers

In Tell the Truth, Will Metzger identifies classes of unbelievers. While I am generally suspicious of cookie-cutter evangelistic “methods,” these are better than most:

  1. The ignorant and indifferent. This is the largest class of unbelievers. They need to be surprised and challenged to seeing their folly in throwing away their souls… [T]hey are like people living in houses without fire insurance. Appropriate passages… would be the parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:13-21) and the woman at the well (John 4)… Such people must be confronted and warned.
  2. The self-righteous. The non-religious who despise the idea of sin and the nominally religious whose hearts are like stone… Such people must be charged with their self-righteousness (Matthew 5:20, Luke 18:9), shown the difference between external righteousness and sins of the heart (Matthew 23:25), and helped to understand that their righteousness is only relative (Luke 18:9-14). We must hold a mirror up to these people to give them a glimpse of their pride.
  3. False Christians. These people may think they are Christians, but they are not. They need to be shown the nature of regeneration and the evidences of saving faith in 1John (Also John 6:60-66, Luke 14:25-33).
  4. Deliberate Atheists. The vaunted intellectual problems they express are often moral problems of the heart (John 3:14-20). If they do have real questions, however, these must be dealt with honestly and thoroughly. Jesus invites the skeptic, as he did Thomas, to examine more closely…
  5. Seekers. [T]hose who have awakened to their need for spiritual solutions. They possess some conviction of sin and guilt. We point them to Christ and His promises… passages of Scripture like Isaiah 53, Psalm 51, and John 3.
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