You Don’t Owe Anyone A Debate

Anonymous asked:

I met a couple who were Jehovah’s witnesses and after figuring out I was Christian, they tried to convert me with lots of scripture that I couldn’t debate back. Something just rings wrong though but I can’t really debate back with scripture about the trinity or where is Heaven and what’s going to happen with my body and soul. I just know that Jesus is awesome and frankly don’t really care about those answers. Should I though, to debate back or should I just answer with a polite no thank you?

I answered:

My personal policy is that I don’t debate my faith. I instituted that policy after noticing that it was the way that just about every older Christian I respected handled themselves. Whether they are with a Jehovah’s Witness or a guy taking philosophy 101 who has been “reading a lot Nietzsche man,” theological debates tend have three characteristics in common:

  1. Nobody changes their mind even a little bit.
  2. Everyone involved leaves angry and frustrated.
  3. They are mind-numbingly boring.

Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe in the Trinity. They do believe that the kingdom of God will be a literal Kingdom in which exactly 144,000 of the faithful rule earth alongside Jesus. They believe that the end times started when Satan and his angels were cast down to earth, on precisely October 1, 1914.

So you could go hit your Bible, read up on your systematic theology, and have an extended debate on a street corner that will inevitably end with you leaving still believing what you do, and them still believing what they do; or you could skip all that and go buy yourself (and maybe them) an ice cream sandwich. Ice cream sandwiches are delicious, theological debate is not.

None of this is to say that you shouldn’t discuss questions or doubts you have about the Bible or Christianity, but discussion is very different from debate. In a debate, nobody is listening to the other side, they are just waiting for when they can talk next. In a debate, no one is going to change their mind, because that is equal to losing.

The goal of this kind of aggressive ‘evangelism’ is exactly what you are pointing out- to make someone say “well, I don’t have a verse to counter that argument, I guess I have to believe it.” That is manipulation of the highest order. Practically nobody knows the Bible backwards and forwards, and the Bible (like most large documents) can be twisted or edited to say a lot of stuff it doesn’t actually say anyway. 

You have the Holy Spirit inside you and a spiritual gift of discernment, listen to them. If something just rings really weird about something you are hearing, you don’t owe anyone further investigation. You certainly don’t owe anyone debate. You are walking with Jesus, and you know what sounds like His voice and what doesn’t. Trust yourself enough to make that call.

 

-Matt from The Bridge

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