Thursday, June 2, 2011

Directing to Christ 101: The Kid

Alot of times you find yourself in a conversation with another believer who is... a little... wonky on doctrine and is a little... weak... on the gospel. One is automatically tempted to engage in rhetorical gymnastics and great feats of apologetic magic to teach them properly. Often times, however, the simplest approaches are the best and perhaps the most elegent. Most of the time, people try to defeat someone they think is wrong. In reality, this kind of approach almost never works. What does work is a careful redirection that causes the other party to come to the right answer on their own. This sounds complex, but it's actually alot easier than one would think.
Approach 1: Playing the Kid
Do you know what's really annoying about little kids? They are honest. They haven't figured out the joy that comes with being arrogantly clever and so they just ask questions that are directly on their minds. You know what? Most of the time, these questions are obnoxiously concise and expose the weakness of unsupported opinions.
Example: You have someone talking about the Christian faith but their description of it is totally cross-less. There is no talk of sin or grace, etc. It's all about prosperity junk, or purpose junk, or other nonsense that only adults find important. At some point, the ubiquitous "Lord and Savior" title comes across (probably in some kind of decision for Jesus appeal).
The Execution: You are the kid. Your annoying little radar instantly grabs a hold of the one thing that suddenly interests you and does not fit in to the rest of the boring grown-up conversation. "Savior". There it is. ...and like an annoying little kid, you ruin the flow of the adult's thought by asking the inconvenient question at the right moment.
You say: "Savior? Savior.... from what exactly? What do we need to be saved from?"
Boom! No matter how they answer that one, we are at least on the whole sin, hell, cross issues. Flawless rhetorical redirect from pointless speculation to an actual Biblical truth... easily executed by asking the simple question.
***Another really great kid tactic is judicious use of "Why?", "How?", "Where does it say that?" If someone is making up theology as they go along, make them work for it. If they believe extra-biblical teachings regarding the sacraments... make them prove it by the book. Why should you have to do the work. They are the ones with the outlandish claim. When in doubt, ask probing questions. Most bad theology can't withstand the slightest probing.

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