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When I talk about how to successfully conduct spiritual warfare against the nonsense going on all around us, I consistently get from paralyzed "conservatives" the response -- "Yeah, but they'll just say...," followed by a typical bit of foolishness which secular and pagan people throw at us Christians.
I will give an answer to that response, to which my correspondent then responds, "Yeah, but they'll just say..." That goes on for about four or five cycles until the person runs out of "Yeah, buts..." And when we get to the end of the series, it still does not dawn on the person that there is something wrong with this picture. He has allowed himself to be seduced into an unwinnable position. He is accepting the premise that there is no winning anymore, only endlessly frustrating exchanges as the above. So, why bother? That is where most Christians stand. It is a rare Christian who has any sense of an offense strategy. And so there are only rare Christians who are able to get up in public and defend the name and honor of Jesus Christ with truth and grace.
When I tell Christians that God has given us all the equipment we need to mount an effective offensive strategy against the world, the flesh, and the devil, they rarely believe me. They see a long line of "Yeah, buts...." beyond which is only foggy bottom.
But the question is not whether the secular/pagan person believes what I say, the question is whether I believe what I am saying. Do I believe that I am explaining an objective truth? If I do, then, in one sense, the string of "Yeah, buts...." is irrelevant.
Christians have almost universally given up on intelligent debate because they have no belief that they can "win" an argument in any meaningful sense of the word.
Winning seldom means changing the other person's mind, which is how most persons wrongly judge the matter. It first means simply presenting an intelligent and reasonable case, and knowing that one has done so -- not in an arrogant way, but because one has been involved in thinking reasonably long enough to know what that kind of activity is. It entails a humble spirit, willing to be challenged, willing to find out that I might indeed be wrong, and willing to spell out the grounds upon which I will accept that I have been proven wrong. We should be more interested in honesty than in winning. Honest conversation is precisely how God wins.
The Christian community has allowed itself to be brainwashed by the very thing which many in it rail against -- relative truth and morality. That is shown by the fact that in public debates, almost all Christians argue in either a narrowly Biblical manner which is irrelevant to the listening secular/pagan audience, or, in order to be more "relevant", they argue on pragmatic grounds, thus undermining the very premise of objective truth which is the foundation of all honest discussion. Christians rarely argue on the grounds either of objective truth or objective morality. They are afraid, one must suppose, of the wrath of the Post Modern mentality which rails against telling anyone at all that their view is wrong. We are to be "tolerant". You can have your truth, and I can have mine, thank you.
The cure, or part of the cure, for this foggy bottom mentality is to learn how to attach one's arguments to the facts on the ground, to learn how to reason logically from those facts, how to observe and marshal facts so that they reveal some order, and how to draw conclusions from the above that are challenging to the mind.
For example, when homosexual advocates defend their agenda, we must ask them to explain the agenda, which means approval of homosexual behavior. What is this behavior? (The facts on the ground.) We must force clarity on the issues at stake, but we seldom do. We must define our own terms carefully, and not let the opposition do so.
Or, when non-believers tell us how religion has done such terrible harm to the world, ask them to give concrete examples so that we can look at the historical facts of the matter (you will hear "crusades", "inquisition" over and over). But Christians seldom have enough intellectual background or backbone to put the facts on the table. We are the victims of our own ignorance and cowardice, not of the forceful arguments of the opposition, which seldom exist.
When we get a "Yeah, but they'll just say..." reply (from our supposed allies) , we ought to stop right there, and ask that person whether he believes that there is any way of winning this war, whether truth counts or not, whether the Sword of the Spirit has been nullified by the Enemy. We need to ask whether the person believes that truth and morality are objective, whether God is in any way relevant to winning the battle or His arm has been shortened, whether we have been given the ability to make a serious dent in the works of the Enemy.
We need to ask whether they understand that God holds the intellectual, moral, and spiritual high ground, and whether they are standing there with Him -- or even know how to.
The truth is that the evidence is all over the map. There is not a single important issue in which the Biblical worldview and Gospel of Jesus Christ is not able to win the intellectual, moral, and spiritual war over any contender. But the number of Christians who believe this is miniscule.
That needs to change, but it will happen only when we Christians begin to reweld the two edges of the Sword of the Spirit back to back again. We need to understand that in the Biblical view, reason and revelation are absolutely and eternally wedded. Back to back they make an invincible weapon. Early Christian evangelists and apologists understood that reason and revelation were at one. But Satan also understood that he must divide in order to conquer -- and so he did. He persuaded Christians that reason and revelation were opposed, largely in the Post-Reformation era. So Christians gave away reason to the secular folks, and they have been using that sharp edge to cut the throat of the Church ever since.
"They will just say..." is surrender. We must learn how to handle whatever they say, how to spot the manipulation, deceit, and distinguish those from honest objections. We must learn how to market our own beliefs with reason and revelation wedded. We will then begin to see the Christian community regaining its intellectual, moral, and spiritual credibility. And not before.
See also Another Sad Chapter in the Fall of Western Civilization
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