How to win an argument …by not being the subject

When confronting opposing views it is often easy to fall into the trap of attempting to win by shooting at the messenger rather than the argument. It is also tempting, especially in evangelism1, to try and base your primary point of persuasion on your own personal experiences via your testimony.

After trying and failing at many different tactics I discovered that the best way to share your faith is to point out to others what your faith is grounded in. In other words, strive to leave the other person with facts to wrestle with rather than a warm and fuzzy story based wholly in personal experience that is easily dismissed with the relativistic notion of ” that’s true for you, but not true for me”.

Even if your facts and evidence and arguments don’t ultimately prevail. If your aim is truth rather than the other person then even though you may have lost your case you will have hopefully exchanged2 a true belief for a false one, a win-win situation.

For more resources to help you argue more persuasively, I highly recommend this post by Brian over at Apologetics315 which includes the following:

Peter Williams:
• Paul in Athens and Engaging with Popular Culture MP3
• Apologetics in 3D MP3
• Apologetics: What, Where, When, Who, How & Why? MP3

Others:
• Persuasive Evangelism MP3 by Tom Price
• Conversational Evangelism MP3 by David Geisler
• Conversational Evangelism MP3 by Michael Ramsden (excellent!)

  1. This observation is also heavily grounded in my years of experience in FAITH evangelism where part of the training stipulates that not more than 5 minutes in a 15minute encounter should be spent on your personal testimony. []
  2. This isn’t to say that we ought to abandon our deeply held beliefs without a vigorous and through fight. However, we should practice what Francis Schaeffer called “one legged theology” as described in the excellent book “Truth With Love“ []
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