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Pay attention. Listen carefully. Think about the ramifications of statements others make in unguarded moments when they’re not defending turf. Sometimes when a person disagrees with you on a critical concern—abortion, for instance—he will give your view a leg up without realizing it when talking about something else. If you stay alert, you might be able to leverage his point in support of our own.
You can answer the harshest critic you’ll ever face. October 1, 2014 Let me tell you why every church needs to care about apologetics—about defending the faith—other than that Scripture commands it, Jesus and the apostles practiced it, and it works. (I’ll set those points aside for now.)
The key is to get out of the hot seat, but still stay engaged, deftly shifting control of the conversation back to you while shifting the spotlight—and the pressure—back on him. By now you’re probably aware of the virtues of an STR approach named after the infamous Lieutenant Columbo. This bumbling and seemingly inept TV detective’s remarkable success was based on an innocent query: “Do you mind if I ask you a question?”
If you are courteous and offer something of substance, sometimes even hardcore atheists will take notice. August 1, 2014 Last fall I had an unforgettable conversation with a former French atheist named Guillaume who told me how God found him and what got his attention. One particular detail of his story offers an insight you might find helpful as you engage others with the claims of Christ. Let’s just call it the “surprise factor.”
Arguing from Jesus' silence on issues is not only a logical misstep, but theologically incorrect. Dear Friend, Twice recently I’ve noticed people making a theological point based on what Jesus, allegedly, did not say. In both instances I have the same questions: So what? Why should it matter what Jesus did not say?
Even with the popularity of the so-called “new atheists” – Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins— it’s clear to me that it’s no leap of faith to believe in God. I noticed something stunning a few years back while paging through Frederick Coppleston’s landmark work, A History of Philosophy, for a class. Virtually every major thinker in the history of western civilization since Aristotle was a deeply committed Christian theist.
Stand to Reason is committed to cultivating the intellectual life in the defense of Christianity and in the nurture of Christian maturity. On May 1, 1993, I met with a group of 50 men and women whose opinion I respected. I wanted their counsel on—and financial help with, if they approved—an idea I’d been working on. I called it “Stand to Reason.”
When a writer seems to be communicating facts in a straightforward way, I read them as such. When I encounter obvious figures of speech, I take them that way, too. I never liked the question, “Do you take the Bible literally?” It comes up with some frequency, and it deserves an answer. But I think it’s confusing, ambiguous, and awkward to answer.
The real question we face is not whether or not to take the Mosaic Law literally, but whether we are now under that same legal code.
If I have only a short time to read, Proverbs is where I turn first. Every day that I do, I feel like my foundation is being shored up. February 1, 2014 There’s nothing original about reading a chapter of Proverbs a day. Thirty-one days in a month (roughly); 31 chapters in the book. Easy. In fact, it’s so obvious, it’s easy to overlook. Don’t. Very little in my life has yielded such rewards with such little effort.