Christian Case Making, Discernment and Deciding What’s “Absolutely Necessary”

by J Warner Wallace

When I was a youth pastor I used to encourage my students to use the TANK principle when deciding how to engage others with their words. This simple acronym is a useful filter that can help us to evaluate the Godly nature of our conversations. Before speaking, simply ask yourself: “Is what I’m about to say Truthful, Absolutely Necessary and Kind?” Godly statements qualify in all three areas. Many of us, as Christians, recognize the important mandate proclaimed by Peter in the New Testament:

“…sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence…” (1 Peter 3:15)

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The TANK principle is useful in the context of this directive. We need to make a defense (speak the Truth) to the world around us, and remember to do this with gentleness and reverence (in a spirit of Kindness). Most of us, as Christian Case Makers understand these two important job descriptions. They are easy to comprehend and the apologetics community has written a lot about these topics. We sometimes overlook, however, the importance of the center of the TANK principle. When do we speak out? Who are we to address? When is it “Absolutely Necessary” for us to speak?

I think many of us falter in this middle section of the TANK principle. As a Christian Case Maker, I am committed to speaking the truth in love when it is absolutely necessary. The tricky part is simply deciding when it is absolutely necessary…


Christian Case Making, Discernment and Deciding What’s “Absolutely Necessary”



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