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September 28, 2006

How to express your beliefs while keeping your cool

Regarding a previous post about engaging nonbelievers in conversation about matters of truth, Greg Laurich asks, "It's hard not to 'defend your faith' when you are constantly attacked for your views. How do you respond?" First, don't fight back; don't engage in the same attitude and tactics of the one who is being hostile to your views. Then, if you can, try to steer the conversation to a reasonable tone and direction. One person I know of who models this well is Rev. John Rankin, of Theological Education Institute. Read some accounts of his conversations with "combatants" and how he handled it at the TEI site, including this one with homosexual advocates.

And here are a few books discussed previously on BreakPoint that you may find helpful:

Ultimately, avoid arrogance; again, it's not about winning the argument, but rather changing minds and hearts. As Art Lindsley puts it: "The defense of the Gospel is most effective when combined with the demeanor of Christ." Of course, realize the difference between offending with our attitude (not justifiable) and offending with the Gospel, which is supposed to be an offense to fallen human nature. But just because Jesus called people names doesn't mean you should too ...

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Greg Laurich

Thank you for responding I will look at those links and write down those books to chase down. Nothing is more frustrating that trying to have a conversation and then have it turn into a debate. Much appreciated.

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