I do not advocate strawman arguments because this has nothing to do with debating. It has nothing to do with ridiculing disagreeing points of view. It is important that when Carey whitewashes a lack of faith in Christ as "alternate spiritualities" that he is really in dangerous territory. There is only one way to heaven Carey. There are no alternatives and while you are wasting time trying to win the respect of people who think your beliefs are utter folly, people are going to hell without hearing the only thing that might save them and that is the Gospel. Your assertion that your carnal god of science has explained away what we attributed to God leads me to further doubt if you ever knew God at all. It is not leadership within the church to lead people away from the Savior. It is not a time to discuss Blaise Pascal, debating techniques or wax philosophically about the need for God. It is not your job to convince people to believe in Christ and His Gospel, just to preach it and let the Holy Spirit do His job.
"3. BEING CLOSED TO QUESTIONS AND CONVERSATION CLOSES DOORS. Sometimes I wonder how many times people would have stuck around if Christians had been better with questions and conversations. But we seem more interested in making a point, defending what we believe or winning arguments. Sure, whenever you speak from any point of view, you're making an argument (hence my first two points). But ultimately, the point isn't to win an argument; it's to win the person. There's no point in winning an argument and losing people. Yes, logic matters." -- Carey Nieuwhof
Here we see how wrong Carey's approach is. It is not his job, nor any minister, to win people. That is the role of God through His Holy Spirit. Our job is to preach the Gospel, period. The point we make is that we are wretched sinners in need of a Savior and guess what? We know of just the Savior we need! Tell me what He said -- not that you respect my warped carnal views of life and the world that are sending me to hell and ruining my life as we speak.
"Yes, truth and being firm in your convictions matter, a lot. But people matter even more. And you don't have to sacrifice one to keep the other. If you win arguments and lose people, have you really won?" -- Carey Nieuwhof
I have a better question for you Carey. If you win the person by sacrificing the truth of your argument -- what have you "won" them to? Hint -- it's in the key verses!
"The reality is everyone has questions. You do, I do. Everybody who's ever listened to a sermon has questions. The issue is: where can you bring those questions? And too often in the church, the answer is nowhere. You asked about evolution, science, reincarnation or sexuality and got a pat answer. Or no answer. Or worse, you got judged for asking the question. I don't know about you, sometimes when I'm asking a question, I'm not really even looking for an answer nearly as much as I'm looking for a conversation or simply for someone to listen. In my personal conversations with atheists, agnostics and others who don't share my faith perspective, I'm trying much harder to hold my tongue, listen, not rush in with pat answers, honor their questions (or at least the intent behind them) and show respect. Do you know what happens a remarkable number of times? They talk themselves out of their question or make the point I would have made anyway. They just needed someone to listen long enough." -- Carey Nieuwhof
Did Jesus say He came to bring respect to everyone? No. He said He brought a sword. Carey Nieuwhof's puppies and pancakes gospel is a result of the seeker friendly theories that create this sloppy agape lovey dovey Christianity. Beloved, I am not suggesting the preacher needs to be rude but they need to be honest and if that honesty is taken rudely, so be it. The Gospel is equal parts "I do not condemn you" and "go and sin no more." The bible says narrow is the way and few are those who find it. Preaching the Gospel is the best way to honor their questions. The Gospel will eviscerate their questions if they are open to the drawing of the Holy Spirit.
"Further, when you listen, give them credit and tell them they're really thinking (which in most cases, they really are) and you appreciate the questions, they are shocked to find an open-minded Christian. And usually what they want is another conversation. Preaching works that way too. Let people know their questions are important. If you don't know the answer, don't make one up. That does a disservice to God and to them. And if the answer is unknowable (as sometimes it is, tell them that while we can't be certain of issue X, here's what we're thinking about issue Y.) If they have a good point, tell them. And of course, in the process, share the hope that's in you too. Being open to dialogue makes people open to you. And being open to questions ultimately helps people be open to different answers. Embracing peoples' questions makes them far more open to embracing different answers. So what happens if you can't handle questions, conversations and dialogue? Easy. People leave. They'll take their questions elsewhere. Someone else will listen, empathize and over time, perhaps even persuade them of a new way to think and believe. And you won't. In fact, that may be exactly what's happening. And then you're left with your absolutist friends believing you're right and everyone else is wrong." -- Carey Nieuwhof