A blunt instrument for God?

Information is good, but delivery is crucial

by

Published: 26 September 2019 (GMT+10)

Previously published in a CMI newsletter, December 2018

iStockphotopointing-man

As an information ministry, CMI exists to tell the other side of the origins story—one that is mandatorily excluded from the public domain. Through ministry events, our website and related resources, we warn about the dangers of not being equipped with a biblical defense. This follows a Scriptural admonition which says to “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and [to] take every thought captive to obey Christ … ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

In our experience, most Christian families just don’t realize the corrosive effects of constantly hearing that ‘science has disproved the Bible’ (implicitly or explicitly) and to see sound-bite type evidences portrayed on TV and the media. I.e. ‘look at these ape-man fossils that have been carbon-14 dated to tens of thousands of years’. Or ‘a new species of dinosaur has just been unearthed that is 140 million-years-old’. Left unchallenged, such ‘facts’ create doubts that linger until they become ‘truth’, because as lay-believers, we are rarely taught how to answer such claims in church or home.

Our current generation has access to more information than ever before—thousands of books, DVDs and articles to support the Bible’s account of Creation. But, most do not know this information exists, and our children are like lambs being torn apart by wolves with ‘superior’ information. CMI is supported by you to go where the Christians are (in churches) and let them know that we are here to help.

Knowledge without love?

The famous passage in 1 Corinthians 13 reminds us one can have all the gifts, and knowledge of men and even angels but we will just be a “noisy gong or clanging cymbal” if we don’t have love. Yet the same author, the Apostle Paul, uses some pretty strong language in 2 Corinthians 10:5, when he talks about ‘destroying’ and ‘taking captive’. Let’s look at the context. In chapter 10 Paul is talking about fallacious arguments or philosophy. Elsewhere, Paul writes, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8).

One of the key passages that CMI uses to exhort Christians to make a defense is 1 Peter 3:15: “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.”

But people often leave out what follows, which is an important qualification: “yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.”

Destroy the arguments, not the person

Our aim as Christians is to evangelize and make disciples, first at home, and then around the world. But try to recall the last time you had a disagreement with someone. Did winning the argument win either of you over? Our human nature does not like ‘losing’. Our goal is to win people over, and that is not easy when they have so many pre-conceived objections that our faith and the Bible are ‘wrong’.

This wrong approach is often demonstrated to us—sadly by many Christians who comment on articles on our website. A unique feature about CREATION.com is that we allow readers to post their comments, and we do publish comments from those who disagree with the author—this in itself is not a problem. Occasionally though, a small handful of fellow believers (not unbelievers BTW) openly attack our ‘ignorance’ by professing their ‘superior knowledge’, while at the same time promoting their singular ‘hot button’ issue. As a result, the big picture of the Great Commission is lost along the way by focusing on minors. I often think “I wonder how many people they’ve won to Christ with an attitude like that—bludgeoning people in such a way.” And I only mention this because it sadly serves as an example of the wrong way to do it.

With our US speakers conducting 300 or more events every year, talking to tens of thousands of people, obviously we get more than the isolated case of a hostile response to our message. So, what is the best way to respond? Keep in mind that it is unlikely someone will change their mind in one conversation. So, rather than get involved in protracted debate, I usually challenge folks and say something like “Well, if you are genuinely interested in the answer to that question, I have just the book (or DVD etc.) for you. I will get it for you if you promise to read (or watch) it.”

Understanding it is not our job to save people is liberating!

We cannot save anyone—only God can do that. But we are called to be faithful witnesses per 1 Peter 3:15–16 mentioned earlier. When witnessing to people I have found this reality incredibly liberating. People can accept or reject Christ—it’s not my problem if they do not take up my offer. But my attitude and demeanor must not be a stumbling block or an excuse to reject the Gospel for someone hearing the life-changing information about our Creator and Savior. And at CMI we’ve tried hard in recent years to ensure that we supply information strongly, yet graciously, as best we are able. And with the plethora of resources available today, ministries like CMI make this easy for you. So, take the time to visit our webstore where there is a huge range of books, DVDs, video downloads, booklets, tracts, children’s resources and so much more. And of course, our most successful equipping and evangelistic resource is Creation magazine. You can send a subscription to someone you are trying to reach today.

Helpful Resources

The Creation Answers Book
by Various
From
US $14.00
Christianity for Skeptics
by Drs Steve Kumar, Jonathan D Sarfati
From
US $17.00

Readers’ comments

Jaroslav L.
Nice article! I think that every debate starts with finding motives of your counterpart. It makes sense to talk only to people who are sincerely seeking the truth. Not easy to find out sometime. These people are willing to throw away their opinion if you show them they were wrong.
John K.
I understood this talking to a self-confessed skeptic a few years ago. While answering his challenges to the faith I realised that my 'job' wasn't to win an argument but rather to make Christ known. If I'd walked away from that conversation feeling pleased that I'd beaten him and his reasoning then in reality I would have completely failed. The whole point of having the right information is to destroy the foundations of a particular worldview so that the truth of the Gospel may then bring that person into relationship with God through saving faith in Jesus Christ. It's never about winning an argument or scoring points in a debate but is all about winning people to Christ. Again, another great article, thank you brothers!
Yvonne R.
GOD's Creation so there is no other side - I am constantly annoyed in the way we, as humans fall short of the right phraseology. I am a christian of 39 years becoming increasingly more aware of using the right words to glorify who GOD is. Many christians, pastors included use words that are pagan. We do so without realising because we are influenced by the use of by the media etc. Words like wish which is another name for the pagan Norse god, Oden. As an historian, GOD has led me into the study and research of words. With GOD's help I refrain from using inappropriate words. I have purchased CMI's book on Evolution's Blunders,Frauds and Forgeries which relate to the use of words that are used to support evolution. I praise GOD for CMI's ministry which has been a blessing to me from 1985. The lectures and conferences I have attended have been the best experience. We cannot understand how GOD created because to understand is to be as GOD. To have the faith to believe and accept GOD through THE LORD JESUS is truly the only way, the only truth and the only life, is the greatest blessing that can be bestowed on human beings. Not of our own selves. Praise be to GOD Thank you Yvonne Robertson
Michael S.
John K, while I agree with you somewhat, in a sense I do think it's about winning an argument. The reason why I do think it's also about winning the debate is because the truth about the world and where we came from is important. To win the debate is a RESPONSE to people who are effectively using their sinful nature to spread lies and propaganda that the creationist side are ignorant, scientifically illiterate bone-heads. That is what you "get" from experience of debate if you have participated in the EvC war for many years like me. As one creationist put it, and evolutionist called creationists wishful thinkers with, "adipose brains". We are also referenced commonly as, "creatards", by anti-theistic propagandists. The point I am making is, when it comes to the intellectual atheists online and elsewhere, they are pushing a stereotype that creationists are basically ignoramuses, and that creation scientists are pseudo-scientists. They often compare us to flat-earthers. So I believe given how highly they place themselves on their pedestal, it is our job to win for Christ. I think if someone comes up to me, acting superior, believing they can smash Christianity to pieces and you can see the smirk on their face, it is actually a wonderful victory to utterly demote their false worldview and smash it pieces using all of our MIND. Doesn't the scripture say that? And that is the problem, too many Christians DON'T use their mind, but when we do, the victory is ours on a plate, because God is the one Who truly has the victory, because He is true, did create the world, and is victorious against the enemy and his lie of evolution, which is an insult and blasphemy against Almighty God.
Disclaimer: None of this means I am saying we should personally attack.
Gary Bates
Hi Michael, I think you are missing the point of the article somewhat. The truth is on our side; it will always be on our side. It's just a matter of whether people want to accept it or not. 2 Cor. 10:5 says "We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ". No one is saying that we should not debate robustly, and often at CMI we do just that. But the article was about having the right attitude because any wrong attitudes can provide an excuse for non-believers. Consider 1 Peter 3:15 which says "but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect and note the bolded section. With regard to being named called Matt. 5:11 reminds us "Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account." At the end of the day we don't win anything. We can't berate or bully anyone into the Kingdom, nor can we save anyone. Yes, we must break down and destabliize the foundation of their worldview, but ultimately it's up to the Holy Spirit to convict and save. Realizing this has been liberating to me personally and has freed me up to witness and debate somewhat dispassionately.

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