Mark Dever, a grad student at Corpus Christi College, walked through the busy, narrow streets of Cambridge, England.
“Sir, could I interest you in some literature?” said a Hare Krishna disciple on the street corner. He pointed some books and pamphlets at Mark’s midsection. His offer was made in the tone of a fast-food server: “Welcome to McDonald’s, may I take your order.”
Mark replied, “No, thank you.”
“Why not?” asked the persistent Hare Krishna.
“Honestly?” said Mark, with raised eyebrows and a smile.
“Well, I think that what you’re asking me to read just isn’t true.” Mark, still smiling, waited for the response.
“True? How can you say that?” the Hare Krishna said with a half laugh.
“Well,” said Mark, “for example, I believe that Jesus was God.”
“Oh, well, I do too,” he replied, with a dismissive wave of the hand.
“No, no,” said Mark. “You believe that Jesus was god in a Hindu sort of way. You know, in the sense that I’m god, you’re god, the trees are god . . but I believe that Jesus of Nazareth was God with a capital g, the big one-God Almighty.”
“Oh,” said the Hare Krishna, with sudden awareness and concern written on his face.
Mark continued, “But don’t be worried. I suspect that if most people watching us didn’t know you were the Hare Krishna and I was the Christian, they would agree with you and not me.”
“What do you mean?” The Hare Krishna guy’s demeanor became real but cynical. Even he had a hard time seeing how a shaved-headed guy on the street corner passing out literature could be considered status quo.
Mark rubbed his chin. “Well,” he began, squinting his eyes thoughtfully at the young man, “I suspect you believe that most people are created basically good and that if we just do some things right we can become better people.”
“Yes, I guess that is what I believe.”
“And I would suspect that most of the people walking by on this street believe that we’re basically good and just need to not make mistakes to be better.”
“Okay,” he said as he looked around.
“But you see, I believe that we’re bad, corrupted and basically rotten to our core, and that the only hope for us is radical surgery: for God to rip out our evil hearts and give us new ones. The Bible calls that being born again.”
The Hare Krishna guy gave a thoughtful look. He glanced from side to side. “Umm, you wouldn’t happen to have any Christian literature, would you?”
Straightaway Mark took him to a bookstall and bought him his first Christian book.
J. Mack Stiles. Speaking of Jesus: How to Tell Your Friends the Best News They Will Ever Hear(pp. 63-64). Kindle Edition.