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I imagine we've all had this conflict. It can really frustrate us if we're not careful. However, if we can learn to listen and think, God can give us confidence in the face of any argument.
It is interesting to note that most people who argue against Christianity are only “parroting” what they have heard. If pressed to explain what they mean, or to give examples, they do not know what to say. For example, someone may say, “The Bible is full of mistakes.” But they are at a loss when asked to provide an example. As we learn to listen and ask good questions, we can respond with confidence and patience.
Another reason people argue is because they do not wish to submit their life to Jesus. People do not wish to admit their sin, so they cover things up with fancy sounding arguments. You may ask, “If I answered all of your questions, would you submit your life to Jesus?” Many times they will say, “no,” and end the conversation.
As Christians, we must work hard to know the truth and know how to recognize worldviews (the way a person thinks and the reasoning behind a person's thoughts). We must be patient and loving, as well, as wise.
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”
—I Peter 3:15b-16 (NIV)
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
—II Timothy 2:15 (NIV)
“Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”
—II Timothy 2:23-26 (NIV)
Read some some quality books that will teach you how to think and “see” false views and false questions. Josh McDowell has a good collection of such books. More Than a Carpenter is a good book to start with.
Remember, most people are only repeating what they have heard teachers, media, or other people say. Don't panic when you face opposition. Learn to listen, think, and how to ask them specifically what they mean.
Most importantly, stick to talking about God's plan of salvation (John 14:6). Don't chase rabbits! If you do not know something, just tell them you'll look it up and talk to them about it later. Make sure you stick to the good news of Jesus!
Author: Dawson McAllister of Dawson McAllister Live!
Copyright © 1997, Dawson McAllister Live!, All Rights Reserved - except as noted on attached “Usage and Copyright” page that grants ChristianAnswers.Net users generous rights for putting this page to work in their homes, personal witnessing, churches and schools.
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