Saturday, January 9, 2016

Answering Trinitarian Questions




Arguing with any Christian cult member in the U.S. will absolutely bring frustration if you are not careful with your words, facial expressions, body language and overall demeanor.
All of the books on witnessing and personal experiences that tell you not to begin the conversation with the Trinity are correct. Often, people will put a barrier up because they think it is the most illogical idea they have ever thought about. The problem is, if you are well mannered long enough, chances are you will have the opportunity to see them again… and again… and again. This is actually a short-term goal, believe it or not. When we find ourselves witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example, we most likely will not win them over instantly.
Think about it. How would you feel about giving up Christianity? Put yourself in their shoes. They do not want to leave. They are comfortable, they are confidant, and they are committed in their religion. The same goes with Mormons. For most of them, it is all they know and all they grew up around. It is not only a religion, but it is a culture. Try to leave your culture. It is basically impossible.
I stayed in Greece for a month and at the end of my time there, you could still pick me out of a crowd, and people actually did just that. I even had a nickname at the train station and the chestnut roasting stand: “Cowboy.” On top of all of this, I have red hair, so that probably didn’t help me blend in at all.
My sister, lived in the southern U.S. states for most of her adult life, yet she does not speak with a southern accent whatsoever. She also lived in France for some time and is fluently trilingual! Yet, to me, she is still easily recognized as my sister and does not at all speak with an accent. Her facial expressions, body language and demeanor have never extremely changed.
The point is, being in a cult is more than being in a religion, it is being in a cult as well as a culture, which are related in that they both come from the root meaning of the word cultivate, which finds its meaning in the preparation of land for crops. In any event, I think the point is clearly understood here and this issue seems to be part of the problem in witnessing to Christian cults in the U.S. It is hard to get out of our comfort zone. Consider this when speaking with those who do not know the one true God.
Anyway, as mentioned above, you want to continue seeing them or stay in contact. The more they talk with you and realize that you are not a demon, the more they will trust you and see that you have a brain inside your head and eventually you may become a person of influence (The key to this is found in 1 Peter 3:15, but also, I believe, in 1 Corinthians 9:20-22).
Get on their level. The only way to do that is if you spend time with them. Sure, you can plant a seed of doubt after one good conversation, but how many seed could you plant after a hundred conversations? Your foundations in Christianity will not falter because Christianity is the truth. This is the ultimate answer to the question, “Why are you a Christian?” In any case, plant a bag of seeds of doubt. As Greg Koukl would say in Tactics, “Put a stone in their shoe.” Maybe we should keep on putting stones in their shoes… Pour gravel in their shoes.
So the problem that arises with befriending a member from a different religion is that eventually, one of you will break the ice and mention the Trinity. On a basic understanding, we want to show them that yes, there is one God (Shema, Deut. 6:4), and He exists in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit (See Matthew 28:19–20; John 1:1–2; Acts 5:3–4; Colossians 2:9). This is the first seed (or stone). We want to give them something to stumble over theologically.
Ask the question: “Why can’t there be One God in Three Persons? There is one internet with a billion websites?” Explain to them that the websites are all the “internet” yet they are their own website.
I know that trying to explain the Trinity by using some silly earthly analogies are impossible. The Trinity is far beyond anything analogous found in this universe, but maybe (just maybe) it will help members of other religions put their guard down about the Trinity and open some hearts and minds. Nevertheless, keep cultivating those seeds.


Feel free to reply or ask questions to this post, or on the ATC facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ApologeticalAndTheologicalCommentary

Written by Nace Howell through the grace of the Lord Jesus.