I was once taught how to share the Gospel without an argument.
It was a method where people would read the Scriptures as I pointed them out and then answer questions that could only be answered one way
(thus, no argument).
At the end, I asked if they believed what they had read.
If yes, they could choose to be saved. If not, then they couldn't.
*I'm not sure I ever actually employed said method.
I actually haven't thought about it in a long time until today.
Today, I enjoyed my third visit with Jehovah's Witnesses. There is always the same woman and then a different partner with her each time.
I'm pretty sure I irritate my regular woman.
Positive, in fact.
I don't mean to, I just kind of can't help it.
She says, "The Bible says _(some random sentence)__ in verse such and such, so the Bible says ___(insert over-reaching-out-of-context-truth-here)____."
I can't help it. I stop her and disagree.
I know it probably upsets her, and I try really hard to be respectful, but when someone tells me what the Bible says and they quote something out of context, I just have to speak up.
Today, I invited them in, and we sat around my very-messy kitchen table with some traces of leftover Christmas decorations floating around. (Not very PC with the J.W.'s, but I couldn't help it...they knocked while I was putting them away.)
**And for the Grinches out there who may be judging me: We were gone for two weeks during Christmas, so we celebrated an extra two weeks here, and then we've been busy.
If you still feel the need to judge, here you go: First year of our marriage, we didn't actually know what to do with our live tree after Christmas, so we kind of left him up until Mother's Day. Really. Not making it up. Feel free to judge me on that one. His name was Clarence, and he was wonderful.
Anyway, we sat down, and they had me read from a book and then answer very detailed questions about what I had read that could only have one possible answer.
It was INCREDIBLY IRRITATING.
They didn't leave room for dissent. Or thinking. Or anything.
Just pre-scripted answers to uber-specific questions written by some Watchtower man in the paragraph I had just read.
Another side note...as a teacher, I often did questions like this. I see now that this wasn't actually asking the children to think at all.
It's amazing how my students ever learned anything when I treated them in such a dumbed-down way sometimes.
(Not always...but sometimes.)
Higher-level thinking involves critique and questioning and reasoning. NOT regurgitating. (Which, is really just throwing up. Throwing up answers I just fed them. Ew. Gross.)
So that's how I felt. I felt like I was just vomiting out what they had force fed me. I also felt uncomfortable and went on and shared my opinion anyway, 'cause I couldn't help it.
Anyway, the point of all of this, is that Christianity needs to be examined in light of it's claims. What is it really? On this side of today, I feel especially strongly that we do a great disservice to anyone upon whom we try to force the Gospel without an argument.
The Gospel is divisive. It says that I'm not the center of my world, that I'm not good enough, that there is an absolute standard outside of my feelings and beliefs. It says that if I choose to become a follower of Christ, then rough stuff is ahead. The Gospel is the only solution to all of the major problems and questions we face, but accepting it forces us to do a radical about-face from the life we would prefer (usually. Some people tend to want to do what God wants more than others...it's probably a little easier for them initially, until they learn they are just as depraved as everyone else, then it's hard for them, too). It requires an argument with existing beliefs.
So, I'll keep today in mind the next time I try to tell someone about Christ. They need the opportunity to clearly think through the pros and cons and count the cost on their own. They need an argument.