This is a very helpful post by my friend Jason Wisdom
ASSEMBLY LINE APOLOGETICS: YOU BELIEVE WHAT?
Suppose you interviewed someone who had worked at a particular job for 40 years. You watched him work and asked him a series of questions about the way the company functions, what it stands for, what his employer is like etc. You would, at least subconsciously, assume that he knows what he is talking about. It would be silly to think that someone could work for a company for 40 years and not be able to answer these questions. As a result, you would probably not feel any need to probe around and ask the same questions of all of the other people who work for the company–especially when most of them had only been there for a few years. Maybe you even took a shift working on the assembly line. You would like to think so. You would feel like you already knew, on a basic level, about the company. But what if it turned out that the guy you interviewed always worked the same spot on the line and never took any time to look into the way the company works. He never talked to the boss or his fellow employees outside of work. He never read the training manual or company mailers. He fell asleep during all of the orientation and safety videos. For 40 years, he just punched in, stood there, kept his head down, punched out, and went home.
Unfortunately, this analogy is comparable to many Christian churches. Many believers have gone to church for more than 40 years, and you would like to think that by talking to them, you would be able to get an idea what a Christian believes. But the reality is that they have not read the Bible, they do not spend any time with God outside of church, and they have only been semi-conscious for the majority of sermons that they have heard. They just show up, keep their heads down, shake hands, smile, and go home.
But that is not the only troubling comparison that can be made between these two scenarios. Let’s assume that you never actually found out the back story on the factory worker that you interviewed. In reality, you would be totally clueless, but you would feel like you knew the basic ins and outs of the way his company works. That is exactly what happens to a lot of people who either grew up in church, or only know about Christianity from listening to a few Christians, watching a few Christian movies, hearing an evangelist etc. They are pretty convinced that they already know what we believe. That is a huge barrier that has to be knocked down in order for evangelism to go forth. And there are just as many Christians who are confused as non-Christians.