Saturday, March 31, 2007

Personalize the Debate

This posts answers what I hinted at in green at this post.

A good friend, Rev. Clarence Powell, relayed this true story to me:

One day, while serving at the Baptist Children's Home in Monroe, LA, Brother Clarence received a call from a young college student thinking she had dialed a number to arrange for an abortion. (Some might think this was a case of dialing a wrong number, but I think she got the right connection - another one of those co (God and you) incidents.)

As he listened to the girl talk about wanting to get rid of an unwanted pregnancy, Brother Clarence had a moment of divine inspiration. He asked her, "What's the baby's name?"

The girl, somewhat taken aback by the question, floundered around, and Brother Clarence explained that all little girls dream one day of being a mother. They even think of names for their children. So, he asked her again, "What's your baby's name?"

She replied, "Mary."

Brother Clarence said, "Well, let's talk about Mary." He prayed for Mary, and, to his surprise, the girl on the other end prayed for Mary, too!

Brother Clarence referred the girl to a local pastor who got in touch with her and offered love and encouragement. See the difference personalizing the discussion made.

The next time you are debating with someone about abortion, use this tactic. Instead of talking about impersonal fetuses, the unborn, etc, give the baby a name. In fact, I would go so far as to deliberately use the name of one of their children, if I knew it. They may not go along with this, but there's no reason you cannot do it, even if you have to do it one-sided.

You cannot have a debate that is all emotion, and you cannot have a meaningful debate that is all cold hard facts (unless you are debating a computer -- and if you are losing the debate with the computer, you can just turn it off). For a debate to be fruitful, it must appeal to both the mind and emotion. Do not neglect the God-given power of the rightness of cradling a newborn in your arms! Giving the baby a name helps paint this picture.

Now, go back to my earlier post, referenced above, and use "Mary" where you see green words. See the difference it makes.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Taking the Roof Off

Here's a pro-abortion ploy. How would you answer this?

Pro-abortionist - "Where does an aborted fetus go - heaven or hell?"

Christian - "It's true that the child* even in the womb carries the mark of original sin and is therefore sinful before God, but the aborted baby* has certainly not reached the age of accountability where God holds us accountable for realizing our sinfulness (estrangement from Him) and recognizing our need for Jesus as the only way He has provided to cover our sinfulness and restore the relationship. So, I guess the answer to your question is the aborted baby* goes straight to heaven."

Pro-abortionist - "Well, if there's a chance the baby*, when it grows up and passes this so-called age of accountability, may not find your way to god and end up going to hell, then aren't we doing the child* a favor by aborting it and sending it straight to heaven? You should be in favor of abortion!"

You may be already thinking, "What do I say?"

There are several different approaches you could take here, but let's look at just one. Francis Schaeffer (famous and influential Christian apologist of the 20th Century that you really should know) advocated a tactic called Taking the Roof Off. Basically, he said people will find all kinds of excuses to hide under to support what they want to believe -- even when what they believe is irrational. This idea of hiding under, he likened to the snow/avalanche shelters built in the mountains of his native Switzerland to protect hikers.

Schaeffer's tactic to help the person see the irrationality of their position is to take the roof off their position and allow the rocks and boulders of truth to pelt upon them. You do this by carrying their position/belief to its logical conclusion and outworking.

Taking the Roof Off in this particular case might go like this, "If, in your opinion, abortion gets babies* to heaven and getting to heaven is a good thing, then getting more babies* to heaven is a better thing, right? So, why not abort every child? Everyone goes to heaven! What do think? (always end with a question - throw them the ball)"

It will probably dawn on the pro-abortionist that this is really not such a good idea. After all, if the government legalized killing every child in the womb, who would be around to pay into Social Security for the pro-abortionist to be able to draw out of the system? And it may even dawn on them eventually that the end result of their idea is the extinction of the human race.

The above is somewhat tongue in cheek, but you can definitely expect the pro-abortionist to protest your misunderstanding of what they said. This gives you the opportunity to allow them to more fully explain their position ... which gives you the opportunity to use the Take the Roof Off tactic again or use another tactic. The main point is that you can stay engaged and make the other person think.

I must confess I have never heard the above argument used by a pro-abortionist, but it would not surprise me! Also, I am not using it as a strawman (easily defeatable distortion of a person's viewpoint) but as an example for using the Taking the Roof Off tactic. This is not the only tactic that could be used here, but it does lead to an interesting conclusion. I also used this argument for its shock value. Since you probably never heard it either, it made you think - like finding a shuttered window you had never seen in your home and throwing it open to reveal a new vista.

You may also have picked up on another fatal flaw in the argument. It reasons there are three winners in an abortion - 1) the woman having the abortion (implicit), 2) the child who goes to heaven, and 3) the Christian who should be happy another soul has gone to heaven. Now, after using the Taking the Roof Off tactic as above, the pro-abortionist would probably back pedal furiously to make the point that she/he is not proposing that sending children to heaven is the reason justifying abortion but that it is a collateral benefit that should make Christians happy. But should this make Christians happy?

Isn't the pro-abortionist confusing reward (heaven) with the purpose of life? And the purpose of life is? (You do know, don't you?)

The most succint statement I have found is from the Westminster Shorter Catechism: "What is the chief end (purpose) of man? Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him for ever."

It's like the man who buys a new car off the showroom floor and takes it straight to the junk yard. Afterall, that is the car's eventual reward -- but is that what a car is for? Has the car fulfilled its purpose?

I'm not going to develop the argument here, but you can see where this is leading -- a witnessing opportunity about the meaning and purpose of life. And, it's leading back to the central question of the abortion issue - What is it? (that abortion kills).

* there is another tactic related to the words in green I will explain in another post - here

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

You Don't Have a Soul

"You do not have a soul; you are a soul. You have a body." C.S.Lewis

Did that wake you up?

You are a soul, made for eternity, that just happens to have a body right now, temporarily. The body perishes; the soul is immortal.

When you look at another person, don't look at them as a body; look at them as a soul.

Try living with this thought in your mind for a while. It should give you a different perspective on things.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Appropriate to the Situation

Another from my notebook - this one dated March 8, 1995.

Yesterday while rushing home from work - I was only going to have 15 minutes to change and leave for the Gideon's Pastor Appreciation Banquet, I was listenening to music on one of the Christian radio stations. They began to play the song, "People Need the Lord."

I had been thinking what I was going to say when I was giving the invocation prayer that night at the banquet and the song on the radio struck a deep chord - "that belongs at the banquet," the words are so apt to what the Gideon/church relationship is called to do. I actually gave thought to reading the words to the song as part of the invocation but decided that was not quite what was right.

That night at the banquet, after my invocation and after the meal, Gideon brother Sammy Brewster brought the special music for us. He sang, "People Need the Lord."

Another Co (God and me) Incident. Praise the Lord!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Co (God and me) Incidents

The below was written in my notebook and dated 12-22-99:

Last Friday morning, my wife was listening to the Christmas music playing on the radio as I was getting ready to leave for work. She remarked that the song just ending was one of her favorites -- it was a song I liked, too.

I decided to myself that I would find a CD with that song and give it to my wife as a Christmas gift. However, by the time I got to work, I had forgotten the name of the song!

After straining my brain trying to remember the name of the song to no avail, I finally just said a little prayer, "Lord, if you want me to get this for my wife, you'll have to help me remember."

That evening after rehearsal for our Christmas cantata, our choir director had us sit together in the auditorium to go over a few last things. As he was wrapping up talking about what we would be doing on Sunday morning, he mentioned that so-and-so would be singing a special - Breath of Heaven.

That was the song I couldn't remember.

God answered and my wife got the CD for Christmas.