7/13/16: Debate with the Culture

Unknown-2NOTE: Please remember to send your gift to support the upcoming Africa missions trip! Thanks! See below for details about giving. Now for today’s devotion…

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imagesDiscussion and debate can be a good thing; however, there does come a time to bring a discussion to an end, a debate to a conclusion. Even in an academic debate competition, one side wins and one side loses.

According to “How to Win a Formal Debate or Academic Dispute” by Nicholas Morine (www.suite101.com), a winning debater is able to:

“… defend your side with intelligence, wit, and flair. (A winning debate consists of) a very logical and compelling opening statement. A good closing statement not only seeks to initially weaken the argument of your opponent via your strongest criticism of their performance – but ends with a slightly modified reiteration of your primary points… (and) a consummate debater will almost invariably lend credence to the maxim that the best defense is a strong offense (through the ) deconstruction of your opponents argument. Debate is not always simply an academic and cerebral exercise but also an examination of the human condition and the myriad issues and questions that accompany our existence.”

In Acts chapter 17, we find Paul in Athens and “his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols” (verse 16, NKJ). So while in the marketplace one day, some philosophers encountered him and decided they wanted to hear what he had to say. This was not unusual because “… all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing” Acts 17:21 (NKJ).

As if in a formal academic debate, Paul defended the truth of the gospel with intelligence, wit, and flair.

  • Paul’s opening was logical and compelling: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you” Acts 17:22-23.
  • He deconstructs their continuous debating habits and search for new things by making clear the real God. There is no more need to search and debate. “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men… so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him…” Acts 17:24-27.
  • Then his closing statement ends with a slightly modified reiteration of his primary points and examines the human condition. “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” Acts 17:30-31.

When confronting our present society, we must do nothing less than Paul did in Athens. As truth merchants and defenders of the faith, it is our duty to deal head on with our present “times of ignorance,” and put a period on the end of the debate about who the real God is. Yes, engage the culture. Start with what it understands, and then proclaim the One it does not understand: God, in the person of Jesus Christ.

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Unknown-2I’m going to Africa! Mission Trip Update! ZAMBIA AND UGANDA, here I come! Preparations are in full swing. I started getting the necessary vaccinations for the trip. All that medication is really expensive. Please sow a financial donation into my upcoming mission trip. Thank you in advance! Click this link:  https://sanewriter.wordpress.com/2016/03/31/33116-special-requestto go to the full request with instructions on how to give toward this amazing ministry opportunity! You can give three ways:

  1. Via Paypal through my ministry website: http://www.lifethatmatters.net (Click “Donate”)
  2. By check sent to my post office box: P.O. Box 1519, Inglewood, CA 90308

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©2016 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

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~ by sanewriter on July 13, 2016.

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