Tactics by Gregory Koukl Chapter 1: Diplomacy or D-Day
by guest blogger David Stoecker
What is apologetics? It is by definition to "defend the faith, defeat false ideas, destroy speculations." These descriptions make apologetics sound very much like a full scale conflict, won by using feuding words! That is not what apologetics is for. It is not there to win by confrontation, but through diplomacy. In, Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions, you will learn the Ambassador Model, which "trades more on friendly curiosity than on confrontation." How does the Ambassador Model work?
For an example, Gregory Koukl uses a discussion he started with a Pagan. In that conversation he asked the Pagan specific questions that:
- Started the conversation.
- Gained information.
- Revealed the weaknesses in the responses.
- Challenged the inconsistencies and contradictions
- Looked at the logical consequences of the Pagan’s beliefs.
He did all of this without being combative. You can use reason while being thoughtful instead of using your emotions. When you see contradictions and inconsistencies in someone’s views, you are to challenge them gently, not forcefully. By paying attention you have the ability to steer the discussion in the direction you want it to go. You are in the driver’s seat!
In Tactics you will learn how to get into the driver’s seat of a conversation. A successful conversation requires two things, strategy and tactics. Strategy is the big picture. It is why you believe how you believe. Strategy is having knowledge to back up your beliefs. Strategically there are two types of apologetics: offensive and defensive. Offensive apologetics makes a positive case by offering evidence for Christianity. Defensive apologetics meets challenges to the Christian faith by answering them.
But the legal system show us that just having the facts (strategy) does not win the case. There have been many people who were found innocent of crimes, although the evidence was stacked against them. How did this happen? The client had an attorney who was a skilled tactician. The attorney could steer the jury towards the facts they wanted to address while poking holes in the prosecution’s case. The purpose of this book is to allow you to "design particular responses to particular people so you can begin to have an impact in specific situations." This book will help you become a skilled tactician!
So as this series continues to review Tactics, we will look more into the techniques that will help you navigate the difficult conversations you get into. These techniques will be heavy on paying attention to the people around you and what they say. It is as simple as that. Only by being alert to those around you can you have an impact. If someone is not heard and understood they will not listen. You are simply clarifying their beliefs and engaging them in conversation, not combat.
You are an ambassador for Christ. You are not trying to be mean or abrasive. Instead, you get to educate those who disbelieve on why you believe. You can show them the errors that exist in their beliefs. Join me each week as we learn how to present the truth of Christianity both clearly and cleverly, turning dangerous situations into opportunities to share Christ with others.
Written for TPE by David Stoecker and also appears on his website, Spiritual Spackle.
Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions (Editor’s pick!)