6 Commandments for Answering Tough Questions
by Steve Wimmer
When your friend brings a particularly difficult objection to the table, it can feel deflating and insurmountable. The primary thing to remember is that God is in control and you are not responsible for this person’s salvation. You can, however, speak and act in ways that make your friend more likely to consider the truth of Jesus’ claims. With this as a foundation, I’d like to offer a few overarching ground rules to help in your apologetics conversations.
1. Ask Questions First
Even if you think you have an answer, it’s important to ask questions. Questions can make your friend feel as if their objection is important to you, and they have additional benefits.
A question like “What do you mean by that?” forces your friend to clarify his statements and take a particular stand. You don’t want to respond to an objection that isn’t being made.
A question like “How do you know?” asks your friend to give some reasoning for his objection. This can be especially helpful with folks who tend to make accusations but have little substance behind the bluster.
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For more on the importance of asking questions, read Why You Should Ask More Questions in Spiritual Conversations and Answering the Question behind the Question.
2. Tackle One Issue at a Time
Occasionally when speaking about faith and religion, people get animated. Sometimes they will lobby all of their complaints at once, which feels like standing in front of a firing squad and can be rhetorically effective for anyone else listening in.
Instead of waiting until the end of the torrent, politely step in and request that your friend allow you to respond to issues individually. You can even admit that you’re willing to be wrong, just ask for the person to demonstrate this slowly and thoroughly…
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