Billy Graham addressed a question many Christians have been asking for a long time: how to win an atheist friend to Christ.
In an article posted at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s website, the famous evangelist answered a question from someone who asked for advice on how to convince an atheist best friend about Jesus.
“My best friend and I enjoy each other's company, but I'm a Christian and he says he's an atheist. I've tried to argue with him, but he just laughs and says I ought to grow up and forget about God. How can I win him over?” the question read.
Graham said although the person can do some things to point his friend in the right direction, convincing him about the saving work of Jesus is something he cannot do on his own.
The reason for this is that his friend is convinced that what he believes is the right thing, and if he should secretly harbor any doubt, pride would not let him admit it. However, the situation is not hopeless.
“God can do what we can’t do, and He can conquer even the most stubborn heart,” Graham wrote.
He also emphasized the power of prayer.
“The most important thing you can do for your friend is to pray for him, asking God to convict him of his sin and his pride and convince him of his need for Christ,” he said.
Graham told the person to pray for one more thing: that his life will be witness “of Christ’s peace and joy” to his friend. After all, no matter how much people argue with Christians about their faith, “they can’t argue with the reality of a life that’s been transformed by Christ,” he said.
Graham also said the person should challenge his friend regarding the consequences of his beliefs, pointing out that people who don’t believe in the existence of God have no hope of life after death. They also have nobody to turn to when they need advice or direction for their lives when tough times come.
“Most of all, urge him to examine Jesus Christ honestly and openly, as He is found in the Gospels of the New Testament. When he does, he’ll discover not only that God exists, but God loves him and wants to come into his life,” he said.
In another article he wrote for The Kansas City Star in July, Graham addressed a person who expressed doubt if atheists can truly be changed and commit their lives to Christ.
“Yes, they certainly could change, through God’s intervention; it happens all the time,” he said.
Graham admitted that atheists do everything they can to keep God out of their hearts and minds. Arguing with them often just shows that their minds are closed.
“The reason, I’ve found, is because they want to run their own lives, instead of humbly submitting to God,” Graham said.
He offered the person the same advice he gave to the first one.
“Pray for your friends who claim to be atheists and don’t want anything to do with God. Remember: God can do what we never can do, including changing someone’s heart and mind,” Graham said.