Christian Living

A Clever Tactic to Take on Tough Questions—Mentoring Letter August 2015

Author Greg Koukl Published on 08/03/2015

Disagree with the Christian on this and you disagree with Christ. That’s why this should be your first line of response when answering this query.

A while back I stumbled upon what I think is a clever way of dealing with certain types of challenges that I face as a follower of Christ. I thought I’d pass it on to you hoping you’d find it useful, too.

For example, I used it recently with the culturally tricky issue of same-sex marriage.

I’d received a note from a dad whose daughter was in a competition where she knew she’d be asked her view on this issue—an obvious attempt to disqualify anyone who doesn’t toe the politically correct line on homosexuality. He wanted my opinion on the safest way to answer the question, “What do you think about same-sex marriage?” and still be faithful to Jesus.

Since Jesus said we should be innocent, but shrewd, I worked out a response I think satisfies both requirements: “Since I am a follower of Christ, my view on marriage is the same as Jesus’ view, one He made clear in Matthew 19: One man, with one woman, becoming one flesh, for one lifetime. So, on the definition of marriage, I stand with Jesus.”

You get the point. Disagree with the Christian on this and you disagree with Christ. That’s why this should be your first line of response when answering this query. Since Jesus still has credibility with most people, this puts the opposition in a bind.

Here’s the general principle: Pit the challenger against Jesus whenever you can.

That was my approach when I faced off with New Age “guru,” Deepak Chopra, a few years ago for a national TV debate on Lee Strobel’s Faith Under Fire. I knew it would be a mistake to match my credibility with Chopra’s. He was world famous. I was the local boy from LA. In a “Chopra vs. Koukl” matchup, I was outgunned.

There was someone else on my side, though, who had a lot more firepower than either of us: Jesus of Nazareth. If I could position the debate as Chopra vs. Jesus (“Dr. Chopra says this, but Jesus says that”), I knew I would fare much better in the eyes of the viewing public.

Once again I put this basic principle into play: Pit the challenger against Jesus. Step aside whenever you can and let Jesus shoulder the responsibility, so to speak, for His own claims. It really helps balance the scales.

This move is especially important when dealing with the most offensive detail of our message—which is also the central claim of the Gospel—that Jesus is the Savior for the world, the only one capable of rescuing us from judgment and restoring us to relationship with the Father.

The necessity of Jesus for salvation was one of the specific issues I had to address with Dr. Chopra. He tried to make me look narrow-minded and bigoted, but I simply kept taking him back to Jesus, a religious leader he’d already said he admired.

It’s no accident that the most important part of our message is also the most offensive. That’s why it’s vital we let Jesus carry the load here when we can. His view is crystal clear for anyone willing to take notice. And it’s the same message repeated by every biblical writer that Jesus personally trained to carry His message after Him.

To help you make this point with power, I assembled a little booklet called “Jesus the Only Way—100 Verses.” It documents precisely what Jesus and His disciples taught about religious pluralism. You’ll find nine different lines of reasoning clearly showing that none of them thought that all spiritual roads lead to God. Rather, everyone needs Jesus. When this volatile issue comes up, you’ll have a ready reference allowing you to let Jesus speak for Himself. Some of the claims are explicit, some are implicit, but they all point the same way: one way.