Question the question

December 27, 2007

I heard this from a pastor in my local town earlier this year and thought I’d pass it on. 

Sometimes when discussing Christianity with someone you will find they have many unfounded “questions” or not very well thought through convictions about God and stuff.  For example, “hasn’t science disproved the existence of God?”. 

Here is a simple but very helpful three step guide to (gently and respectfully – 1 Peter 3:15) expose the presumptuous nature of many of the common convictions that people think they believe:

 1. Ask, What do you mean? This forces the person to clarify what they may not really know or understand about their objection.  If they begin to answer this question…

2. Ask, How did you come to that conclusion? This basically asks for some evidence for their assumption.  If they have some “evidence”…

3. Challenge the evidence.  I’ve found that if the conversation gets to this point, they usually have fairly lousy evidence for their claims.  If necessary (and if you’re able) continue to refute their “evidence”.  However, it’s now time to tell them the bad news about their sin, God’s judgement and eternal hellfire, and then the good news about Jesus’ death on the cross, sin being justly dealt with and Jesus’ resurrection guaranteeing eternal life.

Questioning Evangelism (some things that have struck me)

December 1, 2007

A few months ago I ordered Questioning Evangelism by Randy Newman. It arrived recently and I have found it to be full of intelligent fresh ideas on the task of personal evangelism. While I waited for it to come, I was so excited by a chapter extract on Amazon I did a short post about it. Well I’m now almost half way through the book. The writer is concerned about what we can do in evangelism. He is not from a reformed position, but his idea of using questioning in evangelism is quite robust and well put forward in this book. For now, I just want to share some great take-away quotes:

“Responding to a question with a question paves the way for a concept that the questioner might not otherwise consider …Jesus’s conversation with the woman at the well fits this pattern. The woman’s notions of righteousness, sin, and worship had to be challenged before she would accept Jesus’ way of seeing those concepts.”

“On a practical note, answering a question with a question might alleviate some hostility. When people ask questions that are really attacks in disguise, responding with a question reflects the heat. People usually don’t like the temperature and tend to adjust the thermostat accordingly, which helps create a more productive conversation.”

Four lessons from Solomon:

    1. Avoid and argument
    2. Recognise a fool
    3. Remember that people are people. “…conveying content is only a small part of communication process. Being sensitive to a person’s heart comprises a much larger portion” (Prov 20:5)
    4. Remember the power of the tongue. “…somewhere between total silence and non-stop talk lies wisdom”