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Archive for March 25th, 2014

Marines demonstrate Corps tactics, principles

Introduction and an Illustration

Before I develop the point of my post on apologetics’ tactics, let me begin with a physical illustration (pun intended).  Before I was a Pastor I’ve spent some time around men who are incredible warriors and fighters (although I’m not really a physical fighter myself ).  The US Marines have a saying: “One mind, one weapon.”    You will be amazed at how good fighters put quite a bit of thought into their training and actual fighting–and one man I know described it excitedly as a game of chess in light of your opponent’s intelligence and ability.  Serious fighters realize that training someone to be a skillful fighter is more than memorization of a few move–it involves the whole mind, a mind that wisely know which moves to employ at any given situation; and at times, the wisdom of not doing anything.  Although I stress the mind, that is not to say that learning tactical moves are not important–in fact a lethal warrior mind that learn some new moves will find a way to incorporate it into the way they think and become a part of who they are in terms of practically deal with an opponent.  And sometimes the simple move goes a long way.

My favorite move from the Marines is rather simple; it’s called the Iron bar take down.

marine iron bar take down

One might laugh at how it’s doesn’t even look like a Ninja move.  You simply grab the guy’s wrist with one hand while using the other hand to grab their upper arm so you can force them to the ground.  I have spent some time thinking about this move.  Since I’m a much smaller guy I like to throw my whole hip when I execute the movement in a spiraling descending direction to get the momentum from my body as additional force.  The key is to do it quickly.  Like I said, it’s not a move you’ll see in the movies because it doesn’t look Ninja-cool.  But it has helped me in the Marines and later as security for Hollywood’s red carpet events (Hollywood has its shares of weirdos).   Again, sometimes the simple move goes a long way.

I believe the same is true with apologetics’ tactics.

Unger Who?

Those who frequent Veritas Domain might be familiar with Lyndon Unger.  Mr. Unger is a Calvinistic Dispensational Presuppositionalist.  He blogs on WordPress under the name MennoKnight and is a regular contributor at The Cripple Gate.   John MacArthur has also mentioned his research.  Before he became (in)famous(?), Lyndon once shared with me a good and simple apologetics tactic.  I’ll call it the “Unger Move.”  Again, it’s not a complicated karate chop but remember, sometimes the simple move goes a long way.

The Unger Move

Those engage in apologetics for any length of time will inevitably run into those who says, “There are too many evidence for _______,” or “There are too many reasons against _____________.”  Typically conversations with such individuals also include them throwing out objections after objections against Christianity.  They might go on so long with their ranting, you are not given  time for a rebuttal–or if you do disarm one objection, they go ahead to offer another objection followed by another, etc.

As Calvinists, we must acknowledge the Biblical truth that nonbelievers will suppress the truth and will keep on doing so, since Romans 1:18-19 states:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth [l]in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident[m]within them; for God made it evident to them.

Yet we must also acknowledge that God wants us to refute error as 2 Corinthians 10:5 exhort:

We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,

While also realizing that if someone were to ever convert and be saved, the Gospel needs to be shared in the apologetic dialogue.

How does one deal with such a conversation and be faithful to all three of these Biblical truths?

  1. Set the Ground rule
    1. Tell the individual since there are too many reasons/objections they are giving, ask that they limit their presentation to their TOP reason/objection/argument.
      1. Explain the rationale:  Best use of time.
      2. Explain the rationale:  Present their best one, because if their top argument “works,” they have already establish their perspective is rational.  Other argument, if there is merit to them, will confirm it.
      3. Explain the rationale:  Present their best one, because if their top argument fail, then the other arguments/objection/reason by their own admission presents a weaker case.  If the best reason presented is unconvincing, the lesser reasons will be even less convincing.
    2. Tell the individual that after their TOP reason is given, you should share whether or not there is merit to their case.
      1. Explain the rationale:  Fairness of both individuals speak in the conversation.
      2. Explain the rationale:  Just because someone says an argument is reasonable doesn’t mean it is; we need to scrutinize it.
  2. Let the individual share their TOP argument.
    1. Listen carefully.
    2. Rationale: For true understanding of the other person’s view so as to love them and not misrepresent them.
  3. Refute it.
    1. Bring Presuppositional apologetics to bear.
    2. Rationale: Don’t get lost in trails with the particular details (they do have it’s place), but remember the bigger picture of worldview analysis.
  4. Present the Gospel
    1. Be Biblical in the Gospel presentation.
    2. Rationale: Only the Gospel will save sinners and soften harden hearts.
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