Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Power Of A Cumulative Case- Part 3

Well, I was only going to have this series be a two-parter, but after reflecting on it, I thought I should throw in one more.

In the first part of this series I described the persuasive power of a cumulative case. In the second part I discussed the Psychological power (both negative and positive) that a cumulative case can have.

I concluded the series stating that it is quite difficult to communicate an entire cumulative case. I want to also add that it is quite difficult to communicate an entire worldview that the cumulative case is supporting. This really made me realize the importance of 1 Peter 3:15 ("...Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect").

Many times people ask me to go into great detail explaining a certain aspect of my worldview. It is expected that I can do this in a simple blog post or semi-short email. Considering the fact that many scholars have written many volumes about the many different worldviews, this seems to be quite a "tall order". Many times it is easier for someone to just ask single questions at a time and allow me to answer them. Because of this, I will have to answer the same questions many times for many people, and sometimes I may have to answer the same question for the same person multiple times (especially if its been a while since the first answer was provided).

The fact that I find myself repeating myself over and over again gets quite frustrating, and if its the same person the frustration goes to a whole new level. To prevent this, I need to remember that the person is not asking a simple question and I am not providing a simple answer. Sometimes it will take a few times of hearing the answer to comprehend it. Also, not everyone is aware of the answers to their questions, so the answers must be repeated.

Keeping my cool and providing the answers in a respectful and loving manner is part of my witness. As much as we don't like it, what we say is not the only thing that has the power to persuade people. Our attitude and character play a huge part in it.

I must always be prepared, but I must not stop there. I must remember the rest of what Peter said- do so with gentleness and respect. I cannot communicate every aspect of my worldview to every person every moment that I speak or write.Understanding this helps me to keep my frustration (and ego, for that matter) in check as I defend the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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