When we share the Gospel, we will encounter unbelief. But is all unbelief the same? Don Bierle of Faith Search International says that there are actually three different types of unbelief. It’s important to understand the differences between them.
The first category of unbelief is ignorance.
“People do not know as a result they really don’t believe. Those who are in ignorant unbelief need information, somebody needs to tell them because they don’t know. That’s why witnessing is a part of the Christian faith, because there are so many people who just don’t know.”
When people are ignorant, they simply haven’t been exposed to the Gospel enough to make a choice to accept it or reject it. When we encounter this type of unbelief. We don’t have to force the Gospel down their throats, all we have to do is present the hope we have as Scripture says.
The second category is doubt.
“They’re vacillating, it could be this, it could be that, I don’t really know where to land on this. Those who doubt also need information. At the same time, they must eventually decide what the weight of the evidence really is and make a decision. Somewhere along the line, the individual that’s in doubt has to weigh all of the information they have and come to faith or reject it altogether.”
The third category is what Don likes to call decisioned-unbelief.
“When you meet somebody who continually rejects any information you give them; they don’t want to hear the Bible, everything is no, no, no, what you’re left with is to pray for that person. Only the Holy Spirit can break through that refusal and blindness.”
We are not able to or responsible for saving anyone. As Christians, God calls us to do two things:
Witness to those who are in need of being exposed to the Gospel.
Pray for those who are in doubt or those who are in decisioned-unbelief.
Dr. Don Bierle, president of FaithSearch International, holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in the life sciences and an M.A. in New Testament Studies.Faith Search