Guiding principles and a game plan for apologetic encounters

Written by Mark Farnham

On May 18, 2016

assessment-gameplanAs a summary of previous posts, here are some guiding principles of effective apologetic discussions with unbelievers.

Guiding Principles

Apologetic encounters with unbelievers should be guided by the following principles:

  1. The goal of apologetics is to present the Christian faith confidently and with respect for and gentleness with the unbeliever.
  2. Even though you may feel fear, keep going! Fear is a sign you are doing something right.
  3. The goal is not to argue with the unbeliever, but to draw him out by asking questions that get to the heart of his belief system.
  4. The goal of the conversation is to challenge his objections and answer his questions so you can present the claims of Christ.

The Game Plan

Here are some of the tactics used when engaging unbelievers:

  1. As you share the truth of the gospel, take the time to learn what the non-Christian believes. Do this by asking good questions. The questions you ask should be focused on getting him to admit or realize on what authority he bases his beliefs.
  2. Once he reveals the basis of his beliefs, you should challenge those beliefs.
  3. Take his side for the sake of argument and show the consequences of his beliefs when taken to their logical end.
  4. Correct mistaken ideas, factual errors, and contradictions.
  5. Seek to identify the ways the unbeliever is suppressing the truth of God so you can get to the heart of his objections to the gospel.
  6. Don’t let the unbeliever avoid the implications of his beliefs by changing the subject or jumping to another objection.
  7. Weave the Christian answers to the issues you are discussing into your answers to their objections. In other words, as you show the contradiction and irrationality of the unbeliever’s worldview, share the Christian worldview as the alternative.
  8. As you present the Christian worldview, use Scripture to strengthen your arguments, whether or not the unbeliever values the Bible.
  9. Ask questions that push below the surface to the reason why he believes what he does. Some common questions include:
  • Why do you believe that?
  • What do you base that on?
  • Where did you get that idea?
  • What makes you think that?
  • What do you mean by that?
  • Can you give me an example of that?

Using these guiding principles and game plan will make your encounters with unbelievers more effective. Want to find out more about each one? Read the last 20-25 blog posts!

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