Rather than argue with someone who is without saving faith in Christ, calmly help them understand the ramifications, IF the verses being discussed are true. Then be willing to demonstrate, with gentleness and respect, a commitment to friendship, regardless of what they say, think or do when confronted with the implications of this potential truth claim.
That’s a summary of the first three principals of the IF Strategy, which you can read more about here. Now for the fourth and most important one, Trust Them to God!
When you use the IF Strategy and refuse to get into an argument with them, God is more than able to continue the conversation with your friend. And long after your initial discussion, especially if they’re still upset at something they heard and you maintain a loving attitude, they just might find themselves in a discussion with God.
That’s good news because He does all the difficult work of evangelism anyway. The fact that they had any interest in discussing spiritual things with you indicates He has already motivated them to seek Him. And as they struggle with the truth they’ve heard from Scripture, the Spirit’s convicting work has a chance to run its course.
Knowing this, we don’t have to ‘win’ a spiritual debate, in order to see someone come to salvation. In reality, the ‘conversation’ that leads to saving faith, is always being carried out between our Father and our friend or loved one.
God wants us to share our faith, but even more, he wants us to love our neighbor. Out of that love, our evangelism efforts can be a tool in the hands of God; tools that he may use during His good work of drawing the lost toward His Son, and convicting them of their need for a Savior. What a privilege it is to be an implement in His hand.