Tag Archives: tactics

Witnessing to the Witnesses (and others): Some useful tactics

A couple Jehovah’s Witnesses came by the other day and we visited for a while.  What would you think about my approach if you knew that I made the following points?

  • They are in the wrong religion
  • Their religion has characteristics of a cult
  • They are worshiping the wrong Jesus
  • Their New World Bible has some deliberate mistranslations
  • If you really love Jesus you’ll want to ensure you understand his nature properly
  • Hell is real

They must have thought I was a big meanie, right?  Just another one of those jerky know-it-all judgmental Christians.

Nope.  I made all those points quite clearly, yet the way I navigated the conversation resulted in the lead guy telling me in a sincere way at least three times what a nice guy I was (I give a lot of credit to Stand to Reason and Greg Koukl’s book Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions for this approach).

Now we all know I’m as friendly as a basket full of puppies (We do know that, right?!), but you usually wouldn’t expect that reaction after I just made all those points about their religion.  So what made the difference?  Things like this:

  • I focused on the Bible, because we both claim that is the word of God.
  • I stuck to a few key points: John 1:1* (which I knew they’d have a ready response to, even though I could counter it), John 1:3** (they weren’t ready for that), the JW rule about them not being allowed to take written materials from me, and that their New World Bible translation has easily identifiable errors.  I continually referred to the real Jesus — the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the creator in Genesis 1 and John 1, the one whose descriptions are used synonymously with those of God in the Old Testament, etc.
  • I told them I appreciated how they cared enough to go out and share what they think is true.
  • I used common foes (Mormonism, Islam) as examples before addressing the JW theological errors.
  • I noted that it doesn’t bother me that they think I’m wrong and that I think they are wrong, so we can have a friendly discussion on where we differ.
  • I realized I had said “JWs” instead of their religion’s full name then sincerely apologized if they found that shortcut offensive.  They didn’t, noting that they use it themselves, but my desire to avoid unnecessary offense seemed to resonate with them.
  • I listened carefully when they made their points.
  • We had some friendly chit-chat interspersed with the theological discussions (one guy was from Italy, so we talked a little about that).
  • It was a hot day (August in Texas!) so I gave them each a bottle of cold water as they left.
  • I gave them one of my “business” cards that has my church information, email address and blog site.  I know they are unlikely to visit, but I smiled and encouraged them to come spy on what the Protestants are up to.

Where these guys end up theologically is between them and God, but I was pleased with the interaction.  It always glorifies God when you speak the truth about him, regardless of how people respond.  And it definitely planted some seeds.  The lead guy was going to take the John 1:3 objections back to one of their experts to try and respond to me.  And my comments on the textual criticism issue seemed stick with them (i.e., that with the thousands of manuscripts we’ve found around the world from different centuries we know that the New World translation has errors).

I admit that I find using these tactics much easier in person than on-line.  But they do work.  I encourage you to try them if you haven’t already.  You can’t control their reactions, but you can speak the truth in love.

——–

*Their Bible ends John 1:1 with “a God” instead of “God.”  (The right version: John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.)

**They haven’t mistranslated John 1:3 (All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.), so you can show the logic of how Jesus can’t be a created being.  This can be used with Mormons as well.

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Roundup

Voddie Baucham on why Calvinists evangelize and pray

See Mark’s review on Tactics – A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions

This book was not only extremely informative about defending the Christian worldview by utilizing a sound and skillful argument, but it was quite convicting to me personally. . . . If you get frustrated or angry at those who argue for irrational conclusions, built around an argument entrenched in poor logic and indefensible conclusions disguised as science or secular philosophy, this book will change your entire approach. Paul reasoned and argued with anyone he could find at the synagogues, he did not call them names or dismiss them as simply “morons” – my favorite name calling tactic . . . Koukl’s book reminded me, I as a believer – must be obedient to God and that calls us to be ambassadors for Christ, not ambassadors of our own personal likes and dislikes. We must remember, our arguments and positions are not built on a foundation of personal opinions, but rather God’s eternal word. Science, reason, and logic are all on God’s side.

The chances of getting a functional protein by chance — for you non-math types, we have another name for “1 in 10^125.  We call it zero

Oh, and that’s just for one protein, and it still doesn’t explain where the source materials came from. 

The final probability of getting a functional protein composed of 100 amino acids is 1 in 10^125. Even if you fill the universe with pre-biotic soup, and react amino acids at Planck time (very fast!) for 14 billion years, you are probably not going to get even 1 such protein. And you need at least 100 of them for minimal life functions, plus DNA and RNA.

Watch the video at the link.

New pro-abortion website — “45 Million Voices” — supposedly it will document the positive stories of women who have aborted.  Try not to drown in the irony of what a site with the same name could document from the perspective of the human beings destroyed in those abortions.

We have a winner . . .

tactics. . .in the contest to give away a copy of Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing your Christian Convictions by Greg Koukl: Matthew from iPandora is the winner!

My youngest daughter picked a number at random to determine the winner.  She is part way through the book herself and knows a few of the tactics (Full disclosure: I offered her a $20 incentive to read it). 

Matthew’s energetic entry, while much appreciated, did not play into the decision:

Ohh Ohh, Pick me! Pick ME!

Congratulations, Matthew.  I’ll send you an email separately to get your address.  Thanks to everyone else who entered.  I’ll have another giveaway soon.

Even if you didn’t win I encourage you to consider reading the book. Greg Koukl leads Stand to Reason, my favorite apologetics ministry.  They have a great balance of grace and truth, chock full of great bits of knowledge but just as much focus on how to think clearly and how to use an artful manner to convey that knowledge.  If you aren’t listening to their Podcast I encourage you to check it out.

The tactics aren’t manipulative.  They focus on asking questions and listening, so you are sure you aren’t misstating someone’s views and you know why they believe what they do.  Then you use questions to point out any flaws in their reasoning.  He coaches you on how to avoid “steamrollers” who are pushy and won’t listen to you.  He also provides many examples of logical fallacies you’ll encounter when talking with people about Christianity.

I’ve used these techniques a lot — mostly in person, because online I tend to take shortcuts and get too fact-heavy (not that I’m using a wise strategy in those cases).  These tactics have helped me navigate conversations with multiple people from virtually every religion, cult or non-religion (e.g., atheism) without starting any jihads. 

Perhaps I shouldn’t mention this, but the tactics would work for non-Christian convictions as well.  They are pretty universal.