Monday, November 23, 2009

Tactics in Defending the Faith # 6

I have been quite busy at work and with church activities over the past couple of weekends so I have missed posting the latest tactics in defending the faith by Stand To Reason. I'll post 2 of them today.

Not long ago several people were surveyed at a Christian Broadcasters convention about when they defend their faith what tactic do they use. The question asked was, "Why is Christianity True"? they answered by their personal experience, life transformation, and testimony. These are the "tactics" they used to defend that Christianity is true. But, it is conceivable that Christianity is True, and no one believes it.
Then they were also asked: When passing on the faith to others, would you share Gospel doctrine or would you share your personal testimony. The answers were predominantly personal testimony except for one who pointed to Gospel doctrine. It was as if they were inclined to give more authority to themselves and their life story rather than giving authority to God's Word and Christ's testimony. There is a big difference between sharing the testimony of salvation from sin, than what being a Christian has meant in your personal life and moral standing. Below is Rev. Ken Jones' response to some of these answers presented on a White Horse Inn broadcast.
"If the primary message people are hearing is a message about them, then it makes sense that their apologetics is based on them, which also makes sense that the message they would deliver in evangelism is about them!" Reverend Ken Jones

There is a time and a place for our own stories and they can be compelling to us and maybe those around us. But, when sharing the Gospel message this personal story or the display of oneself should not be the basis of convincing someone that it is true and is not the basis or the reason for anyone to come to faith in Christ. But, often times our story is presented as the basis for convincing others to come to faith by saying "just look at my life lived out." "Just see that my life is so much better now." But, to an atheist or an agnostic, that is just so arrogant to say that we have the answers to live "Your Best Life Now". Then they see us blow it, and they see us have a major fall like Ted Haggard, and other outspoken and up front people who have had major crashes in front of the public and having it broadcast for all to see. If they had spent more time sharing the Gospel and pointing to Christ and to show how we are all beggars in need of a savior. Those whom we share the Gospel with need to see how we are all in need of salvation from the wrath of God. Only, then is our story part of His story as He has done everything and I am only a recipient of Grace. What distinguishes us and our faith in Christ from any other religion that has the burning in the bosom, or a better life now, or a purpose for life. If we are to be hated or persecuted, it should be for our love of Christ and for Christ alone and no other reason. Sometimes, people will need to hate God, before he can break through that heart of stone and show them they absolutely, and desperately need God to save them.

Grace and Peace,
Coram Deo!!!

Subject: Tactics in Defending the Faith

Stand to Reason

Stand to Reason

Tactics in Defending the Faith Part 6: The Professor's Ploy

When executing the burden of proof tactic, beware of the "professor's ploy."

Some professors are fond of taking pot-shots at Christianity with remarks like, "The Bible is just a bunch of fables," even if the topic matter has nothing to do with religious issues.

Well-meaning believers sometimes take the challenge and attempt a head-to-head duel with the professor, but this approach is rarely successful.
One rule of engagement governs exchanges like these: The person with the microphone wins. Never attempt a frontal assault on a superior force. The professor always has the strategic advantage, and he knows it.

Don't get into a power play when you're out-gunned. There's a better way. Don't disengage; instead, use your tactics. Raise your hand and ask, "Professor, what do you mean by that?" Next ask, "How did you reach that conclusion?" Make him the teacher and the one making the claim shoulder the burden of proof.

This approach enables you to stay engaged while deftly sidestepping the power struggle. The "professor's ploy" comes into play when he attempts to make you shoulder the burden of proof. He may sense your maneuver and respond by saying, "You must be one of those Christians who thinks the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Okay, since I'm a fair man, why don't you prove that to the rest of the class?"

In one quick move, he's cleverly switched the burden of proof back on you, the student. Don't fall for this unfair move! You aren't the one making a claim; he is. He must defend his own claim. He's the teacher, after all.

You can respond to the professor's ploy with dignity and tact. When he shifts the burden of proof on you, calmly respond by saying, "Professor, first, I haven't revealed anything about my views. Second, my views don't really matter right now. You're the teacher and you've made a strong claim about the Bible. I'm just trying to learn your reasons for it."

If he gives an answer, thank him for it and either ask him another question or let it go. Recognize that the burden of proof tactic takes the pressure off you but still keeps you in the driver's seat. You don't have to be the expert on every subject.

If you keep the burden on the other side when they're making the claim, you don't have to have all the answers. In fact, you can be effective even when you know very little if you ask the right questions.

Next time: How to properly exploit a weakness in an argument

For more extensive tactics training go to and look for Tactics in Defending the Faith Mentoring Series or STRi DVD interactive training in our online store or call Stand to Reason at 1-800-2-REASON.

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