I live in this fantasy world where I am super-logical, mysteriously spiritual (perhaps an angel or prophet unawares), startlingly intelligent. I can out-argue everybody and pin them to the logic mat and they turn to me in deep contrition begging to know what they should do to be saved. They are in awe of my premises, valid use of Scripture, water-tight arguments and rock-solid conclusions. So humbled and smitten are they, that they have no choice but to begin an authentic relationship with God. My wit is winsome, my criticisms subtle and gentle. Everyone respects me deeply for my inimitable writing and argument skills.
Trouble is, it doesn't work.
What is the cure for that?
This is interesting and I believe true in certain situations. I often think Calvin and Luther were in a power struggle with the Catholics and their debates were more flesh driven than love driven. Both Calvin and Luther pinned them to the mat with truth. But at the same time they produced some pretty bad doctrines. And they continued the murderous treatment of simple believers. So arguing might help in some cases but in a far better way if motivated by love for the people you try to reach. It is wrong to know the truth and then suppress it. But unless God opens the stubborn heart, we can do no more than speak the truth.
I know that I am but what about you... I'm rubber and you're glue everything you say bounces off me and sticks to you...
How does one develop these skills?
Don't get me wrong Apologetics are important... But even Ravi Zacharis will admit his organization is targeting a group of people with his Apologetics. The average Joe / Jane are better moved towards Christ by Christians' example of life with Christ at the center.
When we deal with people there are several categories they fall into.I will speak about a few of them.
Folk theology - They learn something and they make a theology surrounding it. Ex. God helps them who help themselves.
Layman theology - One studies Scripture on their own...they get a concordance and study guide to better understand God
Professional theology- pastors or missionaries... Bible college / Seminary student ... They feel a call to serve God
Academic theology - Study the word and teaches it to academics
Of the 4 categories the most problematic are the Folk Theologians and the Academic Theologians.
The former is entrenched in their learned theology and they are not willing to move off their spot. They learned if from their (youth) from people they trust so it has to be right!!!!
Of course there are exceptions to this rule
The latter is more concerned about the academic exercise of the Scripture and is not transformed by the Word.
Of course there are exceptions to this rule.
The middle two are more inclined to seek after the God's percepts because their willingness to understand Him better and their DNA (given by God) is to seek Him as the Scriptures employs them to have a personal relationship with Him..
Of course you have exceptions to this rule as well...
Apologetics are directed toward that group of people who use intellect as a means of (usually the only means of) understanding God. What we have in many chat rooms today are people who really don't have the tools to understand what is needed to be transformed and are unwilling to seek the Triune God for transformation but they want other to conform to their folk theology or academic theology.
Thanks for the comments. I think apologetics many times demands first judging others, which we are not supposed to do. And then stopping our ears regardless if they speak the truth or not. (we see this in many video debates). I believe we simply speak the truth and let it lay. Sometimes it becomes necessary to question the problems we see in a person's view, while presenting ours. But at the same time letting them test the worthiness of our position for all it's worth. If we love the truth, we want truth more than anything.
For me and speaking for me only, what is the key is recognizing that the word judge can be used in two different ways in the New Testament. Sometimes judge is used to mean "judge between things," to differentiate, or discern. In this case we judge between right and wrong, good and evil, righteous and unrighteous.
But this kind of judging the act of discernment is not what Jesus is forbidding. In fact throughout the Bible we are commanded to discern. In the same chapter of Luke 6 and in the very same discourse as the famous "judge not" statement, Jesus talks about having the discernment to see the difference between good people and evil people (Luke 6:43-45). He compares them to trees. Good trees, he says, produce good fruit and bad trees produce bad fruit. The call to differentiate good from evil is to judge, to discern, correctly...
So getting back to my point... Apologetics are directed towards a group of people who God in His love for them uses this method as a means to bring these people into relationship with Him .. . For some it is meeting that person, it is a spiritual matter, for others it is meeting them in their circumstances in life and for some it is through Apologetics...of course there are other ways God will reach people my point is this, God will leave no stone unturned to reach His creations so they can make this all important eternal destination decision on who Jesus is and what he does for the World (and the individual). Furthermore, I submit this truth here...we love truth that is true but we should love God's love more, because He loved us first and through that love salvation through Christ finds us or better yet we find salvation in Christ.. You can have truth without love but you can't have love without the Triune God...Pure Love that is complete and all in comprising.
LOL, interesting thread Gao.
There is a difference between using God's gifts (of reasoning, logic, rationality), to support a flawed theological system, and a God given ability to demonstrate or show God's truth:
In a prestigious reference work, an article had the author of it imply that Stephen (the Spirit-filled deacon) was superior in understanding because of his Hellenized background.
I wrote an article in a mobile ed course group to refute such an idea, because the freedmen from the synagogue had the exact same Hellenized background, and they had no clue of the things of the Spirit nor of the Kingdom:
Acts 6:8 And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. 9 Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. 10 But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.
The Bible clearly shows that the knowledge and understanding that Stephen had was the direct result of the Holy Spirit indwelling him.
After being told the truth from the Bible, (truth told due to the influence of the Holy Spirit), look at what happened:
Acts 7:51 “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, 53 you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.
54 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him.
55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God. 57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. 58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.
And note that the ones stoning Stephen were the religious elite and the followers of them, not just a tumultuous mob.
But what kind of fruit is that demonstrated by them in verse 54?
See, they were the rationalists of that time, thinking that the Kingdom was about eloquent words of human wisdom (interpretation of the Law).
It it clear that what set Stephen apart was not any doctrinal allegiance, but the Holy Spirit that dwelled in him.
So in CD I see a lot of arguing, when it should be a discourse (like Stephen did), at the end the true colors show.
Most time when confronted with the truth of the Scriptures, people go off the tangent, do not comment, or try to attack the person being used by the Holy Spirit to convey something important.
Slander, lies, ungodly labelling, malicious scheming, all fruits of the spirit of the evil one, not of the Holy Spirit, what the persons do not realize is that such actions are patent to anyone seeking to truly do Jesus' will.
Read with attention, and you will see who correctly divides the word of truth, and attempts to communicate correct doctrinal constructs, versus who just want to push bad doctrine without proper Biblical support.
The sad part of the situation, is that, not that many are maliciously intending to do harm, but they are the product of their denomination's groupthink indoctrination, and have not taken a detached position to decide to step aside and study objectively and impartially the Bible to see if what it clearly says is aligned with what they have been taught (a sign of spiritual maturity).
The marching orders for believers are: "check all, retain what is good, rely on the Holy Spirit to be guided to the truth", unfortunately not all march under God's drumming.
P. S. you must also consider the possibility of a person explaining good doctrine to genuine seekers, and through entrenched indoctrination, refuting to mature.
Two possible outcomes: will have to go through tribulation to clean their robes (which God is trying to warn them about by using an unlikely source),
Another is that the unlikely source will be used as witness against those irrational holding to what is at the light of the Bible mistaken doctrine (will not be able to say: nobody told us about it).
Another spin off of explaining good doctrine (even does not change those with an entrenched Biblical unaligned concepts), is that maybe some real sheep of God (reads but does not participate) is being exposed to the different angles, and they then count with a good frame of reference to engage in private study of important topics to discover the truth on their own with the help of the Holy Spirit.