I am currently reading Did The Resurrection Happen? a book about the discussion of the Resurrection between former atheist Antomy Flew, and apologist Gary Habermas. So far I have been enjoying the book, and the opening discussion inspired this blog post. The first thing that Gary, and Antomy do is they come to an agreement on the relevant facts of their debate. For example they both agree that the person of Jesus was a real person, and did live at the time he is recorded to have lived. If there is any disagreement about the facts, then they discuss it, although one can tell that the two of them have had many discussions in the past, and so they are able to quickly reconciles any disagreements about the relevant facts. It is from here that the two can make some real progress in their discussion, because they were able to start from the same point. What I am going to say next might seem obvious, however I am surprised by how often it is ignored by those engaging in debate with others, myself included in that assessment. Before any real progress can be made in a disagreement, it is important to come to consensus about the relevant facts. Again this seems obvious, however one need only to read the comment section of almost anything on the internet or listen to any discussion between disagreeing parties to see that rather than starting from a common point, and moving forward from there, people start where they start, and often just talk past one another. When it comes to evangelism, this is important, because there have been many Christians, myself included who have not been persuasive in their presentation of the gospel because they assumed a person was starting from the same place as them. Just reading someone scripture when, they do not believe scripture is the word of God, and do not believe in God is often not going to be that persuasive. This is not to say that the Holy Spirit cannot work in such a way, but to suggest that the Spirit often does not work in such blunt of manner. Let us consider Paul in the book of Acts when reaching out to the pagans worshiping the Greek gods. He starts with the common ground in pointing out that they are religious (please note I said religious, and not godly important distinction) and that they even have an alter to the unknown god/God. It is from here that Paul starts, and makes his case that the unknown God they have an alter for is God, and He is the true God greater than all their gods and goddesses for He is not limited in power and influence. In the same way when Paul would debate with Jews, he would take them to the Old Testament and argue his case from there. Again I am not undermining the power of the Holy Spirit that is necessary in order to change an unbelievers heart, what I am suggesting is that when we use our minds, and our reason that was given to us by God, we please God, and it is reasonable when discussing any topic with anyone to first start from a common point, and slowly work your way forward logically reasoning from the common ground you both share. This is the difference between having a civil discussion in pursuit of understanding truth, rather than simply winning an argument. Anyone can win an argument, just mock whatever the other person is saying while making a few assertions here and there until the person gets frustrated and gives ups. Bingo, you won, but what did that really accomplish? Did the person learn anything? Did you give them any reason other than perhaps "social pressure" to change their perception? Did you learn anything? The goal of winning an argument rather than having a civil discussion simply leads to a shouting match, and it becomes more about rhetoric and playing to the crowd rather than content and the logical consistency of one's argument. For the sake of unbelievers, and because of the truth of the gospel, let us not be content with simply winning arguments, but let us strive to make progress in rational discussions with unbelievers as we pray for the Spirit to bring them to life turning a heart of stone into a heart of flesh. What do you think? I have heard that there has been some trouble commenting on this blog. I am looking into this, however if you wish to comment on a blog, and find that cannot do it on the website, please feel free to comment on the Facebook that the church has. What did you think of this blog? Was it helpful for you? I'd love to get your feedback. Comment below and let me know.
Here you can read various thoughts and discussions that come from the mind of our Pastor