Second rule for dialogue: Divine omnipresence
What Max Warren wants to say through this second principle is that, wherever we go, God is already present. This means that, should I go into dialogue with someone from another (or no) religion, then I will find that God, through the Holy Spirit is already working within this situation. Warren writes: “As God has moved first in regard to the evangelist so it will be assured that God moved first with regard to those to whom the evangelist goes. That assumption carries with it the certainty that in any situation and in any company in which the evangelist finds himself God will have got there first. God is always the first pioneer”
This is exactly what Paul found when he arrived in Athens (Acts 17). God was already present! All that Paul could do was to introduce the omnipresent God to the people living there. This is a great comfort. Whenever I am involved in evangelism, I can be assured that I am not walking into a situation where God is absent and where I have to force the door open so that God can enter.
I experienced this in a very real way in Russia. When I went to visit my atheist friend, (you can read the story here), I found that he is regularly reading a Bible. At this stage it is nothing more to him than a collection of “short stories” as he calls it. Obviously I would have liked it if I could have explained to him the meaning of these “short stories.” But the time was not right for this. And therefore I could leave him, knowing that God is already busy in his life and praying that, at some point, he will come to a better understanding of God and that he will at that time be able to move from atheism to faith.