Congrats to Jeff Bock, of Orange CA for winning the prize pack. I’ll do another one of these soon so check back. New posts will start rolling out next week!
Ok, I’ve been staying at home a lot this summer with Sola and I haven’t had many encounters worth writing about. I’m going to be back on campus in a few weeks and until that time I’m going to take a break to think up new ideas for series of posts. To tide you over until then (assuming you need some tiding) I’m going to give away a prize pack!
Five Sacred Crossings by Craig Hazen – Craig is the director of the apologetics program at Biola (of which I am a proud alumnus) and has a great heart for the lost. In this book he weaves apologetics and culture together into a compelling narrative. It’s a fast-paced read and worth the effort. Terrorists, ancient languages, apologetics…what could go wrong?
Why I am a Christian by John Stott – A true hero of the faith recounts simply and powerfully what convinces him about Jesus. A good read for mature Christians or interested skeptics.
Telling the Gospel Through Story by Christine Dillon – Dillon believes Bible storytelling has been more effective in her context as a church planter than traditional forms of evangelism and apologetics. She uses the book to expound on this hypothesis and then teach the reader how to incorporate stories (both biblical and personal) into their conversations.
Does God Exist? (DVD) - This is a video of the 2009 debate between William Lane Craig and the late Christopher Hitchens. Classic debate format and great content. (SPOILER ALERT: I think Craig comes out ahead)
How do I enter this amazing contest, you may ask? Open this link in a new tab or window (normally there would be a widget, but wordpress and rafflecopter aren’t friends yet):
a Rafflecopter giveaway <— click this thing
**UPDATE: The Rafflecopter thing is confusing some folks so I have a screenshot to better explain what to do.
Step 1, open the link that says “a Rafflecopter giveaway” in a new tab or window (some of the entries require you to do things on this blog – a new tab will make it easier)
Step 2, log in through facebook
Step 3, start entering
Step 4 – the IMPORTANT ONE:
In the above example, once you post a link on facebook you need to manually click “enter” to receive credit.
Ok thats it…game on!
UPDATE #2: even if you share via the buttons on this page (facebook and twitter) you still need to open the rafflecopter link to be credited with entries into the contest.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what people find convincing. In this post about the Chick-fil-a craziness Mike Patz says “I’ve never seen people change via argument, which is why I prefer to help people taste and see that the Lord is good.” (The post is a great take on the issue, by the way).
As I’ve been speaking with folks and asking them what they think of Jesus I hear a wide range of responses and I try to think through what might make sense to them, how to help them “taste and see” that the Lord is good. I don’t think I’m just putting forth arguments, but I can’t really know for sure. Often I’ll be met with something to the effect of “Yeah, that’s interesting…I’m not sure.” Which is probably grounds for future conversations, although sometimes I’m talking to a stranger in a mall and that’s not something they’re interested in.
I think that helping people taste and see is all about the Gospel: the notion that we are drowning already and no amount of swimming will get us to shore but God in his love and mercy has provided us a way in Christ to stop trying to earn/deserve our redemption but to merely receive it. Additionally I think this is most often expressed in long term relationships, though I hope and pray that it is not impossible to communicate this truth in brevity as well.
The larger question that looms for me is where does traditional Christian apologetics stand in this process of tasting and seeing? I feel it has a place, somewhere in the beginning most likely. To extend the food analogy, perhaps apologetics can help our friends who are unwilling to try a strange new dish (because it seems unlikely to be any good or has been labeled dangerous) to step out on a limb. We help them see that the idea of the Gospel is both rational and fantastic (a true fairy tale, as C.S. Lewis has said). Then, later we take them out to the actual meal, once they have whet their appetite.
This might be church, but it just as easily might not be. If your friend has a major aversion to church for whatever reason it could serve them better to invite them to a home group or just to look at the Bible over coffee or something. This is the tasting and seeing part, where the Spirit is likeliest to move.
So don’t put too much faith in “argument” (not the yelling angrily sense, but the logical and sequential presentation of ideas sense) but don’t abandon the idea that people can and do change their minds when confronted with convincing reasons. How we present these reasons tends to make all the difference in the world though – as always, I suggest an unusual approach.