(June 19, 2015)
Sometimes I fall into the trap, when discussing the Gospel with others, of trying to win the argument rather than trying to invite them to partake of salvation. This, of course, is a significant weakness in me. We see from the example of these chapters that even winning these arguments accomplishes nothing. Where the Jews were concerned that they could not acknowledge the truth without losing their privilege or position, many today feel they cannot acknowledge the truth without losing their ‘freedom’ – which amounts to little more than license to engage in disobedience.
A convincing argument as to the merits of the Gospel serves no purpose to one who does not want the Gospel to be true. The only conversion that I have seen possible in those circumstances is a demonstration in my life of the blessings of the Gospel (together with a great deal of time). The opportunities come, and we must be ready to testify. But once we have testified, that really becomes it when dealing with those who have chosen not to believe.
This, of course, does not mean that arguments do not have their place – after all, the Disciples not only had but also prevailed in this argument here. Paul was particularly effective in rhetoric, and pushed forward the Gospel using that tool. But rhetoric and argument serve to assist those struggling to know the truth, and cannot sway those who have chosen to not know the truth. It is essential that we know our audience.