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Posts Tagged ‘apologetics tactics’

There is something called the Dunning–Kruger effect.  It is when people of low ability inaccurately believe their ability is greater than it is.  Here’s a short TED animation video about it:

I think this phenomenon in which incompetent people think they are more knowledgeable than they really are explains the behavior of some such as the troll attacking our series refuting Bible contradictions which I responded to in “Mr. Hodge’s Dodge from Proving a Bible Contradiction.”  That particular individual would assert I need to learn Greek and Hebrew while he himself doesn’t know Greek and Hebrew and somehow he failed to see my posts regularly deal with the Greek and Hebrew when it is relevant.

Although it won’t be easy to deal with an incompetent person who think they are amazing yet what can a Christian apologist do in dealing with such individuals?  Here are six principles to keep in mind.

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This is a recent four part series on Apologetics from the implication of Jesus’ own apologetics in Luke 20, which is an underrated chapter in the Bible that has implication for how we do apologetics.

This series is available in MP3 and also on Youtube (sound only).  Two of the sessions have additional PDF documents as well which is also linked below.  Also if you want to start with the most practical one of these messages start with session 2.

Check it out below:

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GO TO PART 42

Point: Sometimes when one engage in apologetics the issue of alleged Bible contradiction comes up and the example given of a Bible contradiction really isn’t a Bible contradiction but an instance where one account gives lesser detail than another account.  Think for instance of those who raise the question “How many men were possessed with demons at the country of the Gadarenes?”  Are there examples we can give in other areas outside of the Bible of how such a tactic to claim there’s a Bible contradiction is problematic?

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GO TO PART 41

Point: How often do you hear people say that they are against Christianity because of the hypocrisy of those who say they believe in Christianity or are leaders in the Christian community?  Does the existence of hypocrites rule out the truth claims of the propositions set forth in Christianity?  While we don’t want to downplay the responsibility of people’s sin and hypocrisy we must also realize that hypocrisy as an argument against Christianity does not have that much weight as it might seem initially.

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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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