Anyone who cares about truth and consequences ends up in debate. We must, by necessity, hammer out our beliefs and ideas through argument with people who disagree with us. The internet has provided us a miracle in this regard: we can now find persons with virtually any and every possible intellectual claim in the world.
We also may find ourselves challenged by those people to take a closer look at our own characterizations of our own position(s). We naturally think we know our own beliefs better than could our opponent in a debate, but I think you ought to pause and examine that. Here is a wise word from the comment section of a post at Green Baggins (a great Reformed blog with a glorious past). Check this out, think about it, and maybe let these words come back to you next time you’re in the heat of debate. It might be a strength for you to learn to listen to others and analyze yourself better.
Just dropping by . . . it seems to me there’s a twofold assumption here on the part of Nathan and art which is, in fact, somewhat dubious: a) only someone who holds a position can accurately define that position, and b) their definition must necessarily be accepted as accurate. To be sure, one must always be careful, in arguing against another’s position, to do so fairly and accurately, without replacing one’s opponent with a straw man; but that doesn’t change the fact that none of us can see our own face without a mirror, and in an argument, the only mirror we have is our opponents. There are times when, in fact, those who argue against us can actually perceive our positions more clearly than we ourselves can, because they see implicit/unexamined assumptions which we don’t see, or because they catch logical implications of our position which we haven’t caught. As such, to say “I don’t agree with your characterization of my position, therefore you aren’t addressing my position” is not, in fact, necessarily true. It is, rather, a reason for careful self-examination to see if, perhaps, someone else might have seen something in our position which we ourselves have missed.
Even though I talk about how atheism is one of my favorites to confront in evangelism, for some reason I felt completely off kilter in this lesson until about 3/4 the way through. Maybe you won’t notice it.
Evangelism to the atheist is unique in certain ways, so there is a different flavor to this approach from other religions.
When we talk to the atheist, we must do the heavy and difficult work of showing them, from 10,000 different angles, how impossible and illogical it is to posit a lack of the eternal Being of God. This isn’t easy, not because it takes a huge brain to do it, but rather because the atheist has fallen into a pit of deep, dark snares within his or her own mind. A total logical failure cannot be embraced without an awesome mental ability to enforce it upon one’s own mind and heart. In other words, self delusion through moral suppression of the light of reality.
Sin. That enemy and closest companion of every mortal human. Sin can corrupt and twist our minds until we cannot see the sun shining at noon day in a cloudless sky. Watch the video, and see if you follow. Comments are open. Workbook is here.
They’re the wily sect that everyone loves to avoid. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are an apocalyptic religion hunkered down awaiting the violent end to history, hoping their obedience to the Watchtower organization will earn them Jehovah’s favor and protection during Armageddon – but who has time to learn all about their mass of unique perspectives? Can we share the truth with a JW without a PhD in their doctrines?
This lesson is my best attempt to equip you with a confident course of action, without bogging you down in historical details. Give it a shot!
An added bonus in this episode is that we had a special guest in class – an ex-JW named Natalie, who kindly bore witness (punny of me to say) to my information, and added her perspective at certain points.
This is the newest class video in our confident evangelism course – a dovetail to last week’s class on Roman Catholicism. Oftentimes it feels like evangelicalism is the new kid on the block in church history, but the best of our tradition is the tradition of the ancient church – and this should inform our confidence in evangelism. Enjoy.
Recently I’ve been enjoying an amiable debate with a Roman Catholic from Lebanon (via Twitter). We keep coming back to the question of the early church – I insist that we Reformation Christians are the recovered, ancient church, and of course he insists that Rome has always been the chief authority over all other churches. Here’s a snippet from our exchange: Continue reading →
My favorite cameraman and editor graciously set up his equipment to allow me to film a little supplementary material for our ongoing evangelism class. Several class members asked me to hit on a few questions that I had to skip during our class sessions due to time constraints.
Well, here you go. Now you can pause and play as you watch, filling in your workbooks with extra notes.