You start sharing a passage from the Bible with a friend, and all of a sudden, you’re in an argument. They won’t believe what you think the passage so clearly teaches, and you’re both on the verge of calling each other idiots.
What if there was a simple way to defuse these arguments before they start? If such a method existed would you want to learn about it? If your answer is yes, don’t stop reading.
The ‘IF’ Strategy
The #1 principal of this strategy is: Always keep your ‘if’ ready.
The moment your friend adopts an argumentative stance on any passage or biblical issue, take a firm but gentle grasp of your ‘if’ and turn their position around like this…
- When they don’t believe the Bible is reliable say, “If the Bible is reliable regarding this issue, what does that mean to us?”
- When they won’t apply the Bible to themselves say, “If this passage is true, how would that affect you and I?”
- When they refuse to accept the Bible’s authority, say, “If the Bible really is God’s authoritative disclosure to man, how should we respond to it?”
The second principal is like the first: If at first you don’t succeed, use your ‘if’ again.
People confronted with the ‘IF’ strategy may not want to give you the obvious answer to your question. To do so, would be to intellectually assent to the potential truth of your position. Instead they’ll likely repeat their first argument hoping that will clinch a victory for their side.
Friend: “Look, I already said that I don’t think the Bible is reliable, so your iffy question doesn’t matter.”
Principal #2: Acknowledge as much of their statement as possible, and then apply your ‘if’ again.
You: “I know you don’t trust the Bible, and I respect your opinion, and the right to hold it. Believe it or not, I’m not trying to change your mind, I just want to be sure I’ve communicated clearly what I believe. So, if, and I know this is a big IF, the Bible was reliable about this issue, what would that mean to us?”
By approaching the truth of the Bible this way, there’s much less chance of raised voices, especially on your side, and a greater likelihood that your friend will assent to your position. After all, you’re only saying, what if!
And if that isn’t a good enough reason to utilize the ‘IF’ strategy, here’s one from the Bible; “A gentle answer…” does what?
In Part II of this series, we’ll share Principal #3, and answer a surprising question. . . When you use the ‘IF’ Strategy, who and what will take over further discussion with your friend?
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