Author Greg Koukl
Published on 04/15/2024
Tactics and Tools

How Can I Give an Elevator Pitch for Christianity?

Greg and Amy give a brief overview of why they are convinced Christianity is the best explanation for reality and give some tips on what to include (and not include) when you have a short amount of time to share your faith.


Question: I’m overwhelmed by all the arguments and the challenge to properly balance apologetics and personal testimony. What is your elevator speech answer to the question “What do you believe, and why do you believe it?”

Greg: Well, the first question is—how tall is this building? It’s very, very tall. Okay. First three stories: There is a God who is there. He has not been silent—Francis Schaeffer’s title. He has visited this planet in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. He gave evidence of who he was, and then did something to rescue us from ourselves that will determine what happens to everybody in the final resurrection at the end of history.

Why do I believe it? I’ll give the general point that I’ve given many times. What I believe is that this is the way the world is. I think that this is an accurate take on the world. It’s the accurate picture of reality, taken as a whole, because it turns out to be the best explanation for the way things are. When you look at the way the world is—that the world came into existence, that the world has conscious beings, that one set of the conscious beings, human beings, have a moral nature, and that concepts like mercy and goodness and justice and wickedness and evil, all of these are real parts of the universe—the worldview, the picture of reality, that makes the most sense out of all of these things turns out to be the Christian view of reality.

This is the motif that I use, for example, in my book Street Smarts. I have two chapters on atheism followed by one chapter on the problem of evil, and the chapter on the problem of evil is called “Evil: Atheism’s Fatal Flaw.” So, I position the problem of evil, not in a defensive way—like, let’s see if I can find out how I can convince you that it makes sense in our world. I did that in The Story of Reality. I’m trying to show there is a problem of evil, and that’s not bad for us; it’s bad for atheists, and here’s why. Simply put, the problem of evil fits into our world. Our story is about the problem of evil from the beginning to the end. It starts in chapter three. It ends 66 books later. So, it fits in our story, and our story is not over yet. It’s just part of it. There’s no real problem there, in a certain sense. There are questions that come up that we can speculate on and try to answer, but the key thing is, the problem of evil makes sense in our story. It does not make sense in the atheist’s story. So, there’s one example of our view of reality being a much better explanation—in fact, the best explanation—for evil or for the origin of the universe or for the existence of consciousness or the reality of human freedom or a whole host of other things.

Amy: It’s a really tall building.

Well, let me ask you, since he asked about this specifically. If you were to give a short elevator speech, would you include any testimony in that, or would you stick to more of what you just described?

Greg: No, I don’t think I would put testimony in, partly because nothing in my testimony is evidential. It isn’t like I heard a voice, I went blind, and then I got healed of blindness three days later. So, there’s nothing that’s third-person-public that I can offer. Secondly, I really want to work to avoid relativizing my own views. This is why I don’t like when people say, “Well, the Christian view is....” There’s a place for that, but we have to be very careful that we’re not just saying this is our club. I don’t like “Well, we believe this,” or “We have faith that,” “My faith tells me thus and so.” No. I’d rather put this in terms of my understanding of the nature of reality. These are my convictions about the way the world is, and I have particular reasons for thinking that my convictions match the world, and then I can talk about that. So, I’m going to try to stay away from the subjective element, in my case, for those reasons. I especially don’t want people to be tempted to relativize my view. They could say it’s inaccurate. Fine. But if my view is relative, it can’t be inaccurate. It’s true for me. That’s all you can say.

Amy: I really appreciated that you started with God in your short little speech at the beginning because that’s exactly where I would start, too, and there were two things I think I would emphasize about him, just very quickly. I would say he’s perfectly good and he’s also perfectly righteous and holy and just. I will say that the apostles emphasized the judgment more than they did the beauty of God. But I would include both, especially since people aren’t aware that there’s any reason why we would want to be with God except that we don’t want to be in Hell. So, I would encourage you to say something about that—something about him as the judge. I’m thinking of all these other things that I would want people to say because I don’t want to give the idea that he’s only a judge. God is Trinitarian. There’s a loving Father, a loving Son. There’s the Holy Spirit. That whole aspect of God—and the beauty of his love and all those things—is so important, but I don’t know how you fit that into an elevator speech.

Greg: I actually closed The Story of Reality with this concept, which is not only something I’m strongly aware of in my own life—I think many people are—but it’s something that C.S. Lewis really developed a lot. The point is, God is the one we’ve been looking for all of our lives. He’s the one that is made to satisfy our deepest needs, and the line that I close with, pretty much, in The Story of Reality is from Lewis himself. What he says is, the door that we’ve been knocking on all of our lives will finally open.

Amy: So, maybe you could even start with the question “Do you ever long for something better than this?” I really think who we’re looking for is this perfect, beautiful God, but he’s also a judge, and we have broken his law, and we’re guilty, and that’s a problem for us because we deserve judgment. But, even though we didn’t deserve it—not because we earned it, but because he actually loved us, his creation—he sent Jesus to die for us. He died for us on the cross. He paid the penalty for our sins, and now we can be reconciled to God. And then, at the end, if you want to include some testimony, what you could say is, “And this is what he’s done for me. He has forgiven me, and I’m reconciled, and I found what it was that my heart was longing for.”

Greg: And then, you could finally get off of the top floor of the tallest building in the world, or you could just hit the stop button and just wait for the paramedics or the firemen or whoever it is who comes to get you out.