When Asking Beats Telling – Beyond Take It or Leave It
Key Bible Verse: When they handed him the coin, he asked, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?” – Matthew 22:19-20
Bonus Reading: Matthew 12:9-13
I usually answer non-believers’ questions with a question because I’ve grown tired of having my answers rejected.
At times I’ve responded to questions with biblically accurate, logically sound, epistemologically watertight answers, only to see questioners shrug their shoulders. My answers, it seemed, only further confirmed their opinion that Christians are simpletons. My answers had hardened them in their unbelief rather than softened them toward faith.
I realized that, instead of moving people closer to a salvation decision, an answer can push them further away. Rather than engaging their minds or urging them to consider an alternative perspective, an answer can give them ammunition for future attacks against the gospel.
So I started answering questions with questions, with far better results. Answering with a question brings to the surface the questioner’s assumptions. It also takes the pressure off you—the one being asked—and puts it on the one doing the asking. Shifting the burden is important because as long as we’re on the defensive, the questioners aren’t really wrestling with issues. They’re just watching us squirm.
—Randy Newman in Questioning Evangelism
My Response: Have I pictured witnessing as a monologue or a dialogue? Why?
Adapted from Questioning Evangelism (Kregel, 2004)
Prayer for the Week: Lord, help me share the Good News in a less cut-and-dried manner, softening hearts through relational give-and-take.