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Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions Kindle Edition
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|Kindle, May 26, 2009||
|Length: 208 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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The meat of the book is three questions that we can ask that will cause people to consider what they are saying. Often, people are just repeating things that other people have said, without giving any thought to the validity of the argument. These three questions may cause the person to see the weakness in their argument.
• What do you mean by that?
• How did you come to that conclusion?
• Have you ever considered?
The great thing about these questions is that they aren’t limited to a adversarial situation. You might be talking to a close friend and hear them say something that doesn’t sound quite right. “What do you mean by that?” Your child might say something like, “I don’t think I should play with Jane anymore.” You might ask, “How did you come to that conclusion?” or simply, “Why?”
One of the things that Koukl brings out about asking questions is that you can direct the conversation without taking sides on an issue. You don’t even have to be certain of what the right answer is. Perhaps, once you discover what the other person is saying and why they are saying it, you will agree with them. But when they are wrong, those questions may help them to see where they went wrong.
This is the best book on sharing your faith that I’ve read. Unlike other books that tell you what to say about the gospel, this book focuses more on the practical ways we can improve communication. While there are a few things I’m not sure I agree with him on, this is a book that every Christian who wishes to improve communication with non-believers should read. But the people who will benefit the most are the people in leadership positions who must deal with people who disagree with them. I can see where a teacher of a small group might put this to use if there is a student who insists on pushing strange doctrine during class. Rather than getting into an argument that disturbs the other class members, one could ask questions of the person and bring them around, or at least, make the other students aware that the person’s ideas are not correct.
Koukl differentiates between strategy and tactics when it comes to defending the Christian faith. Strategy concerns the overall big picture of Apologetics. This panoramic vista consists in comprehensive knowledge of every aspect of Christianity. This insight can then be utilized in striking against all the Satanic powers that exalt themselves above the knowledge of God via both offensive and defensive attacks.
This is all well and good, for there are many volumes available that do just that. However, the author deliberately does not broach this broad subject matter. Instead he engages in the tactics needed in order to get to the end goal of proving Christianity and debunking all arguments against it.
Koukl writes, "A sharp lawyer needs more than facts to make his case in court. He needs to know how to use his knowledge well. In the same way, we need a plan to artfully manage the details of dialogues we have with others. This is where tactics come in."
Tactics, therefore in Christian Apologetics refers to the way we communicate our knowledge of the faith in order to disarm our opponents' arguments.
Koukl has several valuable methods of dialoging with our opponents. I'll outline some of these below:
The Columbo method - named in honor of the television detective from a bygone era. This tactic instructs us that when someone disputes your worldview don't respond with a diatribe defending your view, simply ask questions.
Koukl writes, "The key to the Columbo tactic is to go on the offensive in an inoffensive way by using carefully selected questions to productively advance the conversation. Simply put, never make a statement, at least not at first, when a question will do the job."
The Columbo method has three steps. Step one is to gain information. This is done by asking clarifying questions, such as 'What do you mean by that?"
Step two attempts to reverse the burden of proof. Again, Koukl, "In any dispute, the person who advances an opinion, claim, or point of view has the job of defending it. It's not your duty to prove him wrong. It's his duty to prove himself right."
The related question to toss into the dialog would be, "How did you come to that conclusion?"
Step three has us ask leading questions to aid us in steering the conversation in the direction we desire it to go. A carefully worded leading question will help you take charge of the situation instead of letting the critic take it to unholy places. To launch these tactical verbal missiles a person will need two things: knowledge of the subject matter and a plan of attack.
Other methods include the suicide tactic. Many ideologies are self-refuting. For example the statement "There is no absolute truth" cannot possibly be true if absolute truth doesn't exist. Using the Columbo questions this falsehood can quickly be exposed.
The author explores several other methods in succeeding chapters. As well, he also dedicates a couple of chapters guiding readers on how to deal with overbearing personalities and pseudo academic arguments.
Recommendations: I admit, I profited greatly from this little book. it wasn't what I expected, but that ended up being beneficial. If I had first read a massive tome on Apologetics my arsenal would have been well stocked yet I'd have been woefully under-trained on how to actually fire any of my weapons. Tactics teaches the fundamentals of maneuvering a conversational obstacle course. It does it in a winsome manner, peppered with personal experiences from Koukl's many encounters. I especially benefited from the chapter on taking the roof off. It contained many arguments that critics use and how to dismantle them quickly and effectively. It is a section I will commit to memory and return to often.
I think this book should be required reading for every Christian. Much like I think Logic 101 should be a core class for all high school students. The world of ideas is becoming increasingly hostile to Christian beliefs. We should always stand ready with a reason for the hope that we have in Christ Jesus. Tactics does an excellent job of starting us done the daunting path of Christian Apologetics.