Practicing the Art of Asking Leading Questions
by Nate Sala
We at A Clear Lens stand in the tall shadows of those who have influenced us, like J.P. Moreland, Greg Koukl, and William Lane Craig. These men are excellent models for the Christian endeavor in the present age. They exhibit a thoughtful, gracious, and winsome character while fulfilling Peter’s refrain to always be prepared (1 Peter 3:16). Unfortunately, for a lot of unbelievers living in a relativistic culture, relaying the Gospel message is simply telling another story. This is why we believe apologetics is so important for us Christians to participate in. As C.S. Lewis suggested our role must now be to explain why Christianity is true in order to get folks thinking about the content of our message.
In light of this reality, I have recently been sharing condensed (what I call “Funsized”) chapter summaries of an excellent book entitled Tactics by Greg Koukl. In my opinion, this is the mother of all books on engagement; that is, this book is not geared towards formulating apologetic content (like Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview or Reasonable Faith). The goal of Tactics is to take our content and fashion it in such a manner as to engage non-believers in thought-provoking dialogues. Koukl has some clever names for the particular tactics he lists: Columbo (after the Peter Falk character), Sibling Rivalry, Taking the Roof Off, etc. These tactics very often trade on asking particular kinds of questions to get the Christian in the driver’s seat of any conversation. Once in the driver’s seat, the Christian can steer the discussion (to follow the analogy) while remaining winsome and gracious.
In Chapter Five Koukl introduces the idea of asking leading questions to “take the other person in the direction we want them to go.” This is an excellent tactic; one that must be developed through reflection and practice. To help facilitate this practice, I would like to share some examples of real interactions where I have utilized leading questions and walk through how I formulated them. As a pin-wearing Stand to Reason geek, I humbly offer these examples in the hope that they can be useful to you…
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