Ad Hominem & Personal Attacks p1; You’re ARROGANT

The Debate Pyramid V2 Simple Tt Norms Bold Text - Pyramid, HD Png ...   The Ad Hominem Fallacy (3 Flavors) and Ridicule in the Bible

 

If you’ve done any evangelism at all, you’ve likely experienced a personal attack (Ad Hominem; in a way that is directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining).

This should come as no surprise for Christ gave us warnings about it in addition to experiencing the ultimate attack, the one against His life. “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” [Mark 13:13]

While some accusations may be well founded due to our own poor attitudes, words & acts, most are ad hominem attacks.

Let’s look at a few and learn how to respond without reviling.

 

Before we answer this attack, we need to remember how Jesus responded to personal attacks. He didn’t revile in return. “Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:” [1Peter 2:23; Isa 53:7]

 

The First ATTACK has a few versions: “You’re Arrogant. You’re just closed minded. It’s obvious you’ve already got your mind made up.”

First off, ACCURATELY define your intentions & motives. Tell them that it is true that you have your mind made up, and it’s not because you haven’t examined the evidence nor heard the arguments. It’s made up BECAUSE you’ve given careful consideration to the scriptures. “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” [Acts 17:11].

This attack is vile in that it impugns your motives. It attempts to judge you unfairly and we know how the Lord feels about that [Matt &:1-2].

RESPOND calmly with a question; “Are you saying it’s arrogant to say & do what the bible teaches? [Luke 6:46; Mat 7:21-23; Col 3:16] Jesus often used questions (about 100) to challenge His accusers & His disciples. [Matt 15:3; 21:25]

One good question from Christ’s spiritual arsenal is, “Have you READ this scripture?” [Matt 21:42]. It’s much more effective to show someone the verse in the bible than it is to refer to it or even to quote it from memory. Otherwise it’s just arguing opinions. Show them, not just tell them. Let them READ it for themselves.

I sometimes ask; “Is it ONLY the OTHER guy that has his mind made up?” The other person has their own steadfastness and sees your steadfastness as pride. “How come your unwavering assertions aren’t arrogant?” This response is not to conflate the conversation. It’s to calm it down by finding common ground. Paul used a similar strategy at the beginning of his speech on Mars Hill [Acts 17:22].

It’s a good reminder for them and for yourself that GOD HATES pride & arrogance. [Prov 8:13; Luke 18:14]. Perhaps you can restore civility by admitting that you’re working on avoiding this sin.

Remember that debate is healthy, ARGUMENT is not. We must have discussions about our differences, but we mustn’t allow ourselves to resort to ANGER & HATE. “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” [Phil 2:3] Consider these passages for additional study on scriptural debate [1Thess 5:21; Titus 2:15; 2Tim 4:2; 1Tim 5:20; 2Tim 2:24-26; Jude 3; 1Tim 6:12; 2Cor 10:4-5; Acts 14:26-15:2] It’s better to end the discussion if either of you are having trouble with their emotions. [Mat 7:6; 15:14]

Another good reminder is that it’s NOT ABOUT WINNING an argument, it’s about winning a soul. “To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” [1Cor 9:22]

Finally, if you’ve handled yourself well, made no mistakes in your defense of the Gospel and never raised your voice or rolled your eyes, THEY MAY STILL accuse you of pride. THEY did it to the Master Teacher, are you any more special than He? [Mark 14:61-65]

–Spencer

APATHEISM IS THE WORST

As you might can tell, the word ‘APATHEISM’ is a blending of the words ‘apathy’ & ‘theism / atheism’ meaning that one is unconcerned as to whether a deity exists or not. An APATHEIST doesn’t care if God exists and furthermore, has no interest in discussing it because the answer wouldn’t change anything about their lives and or behaviors.

Do you see why I say that it’s the worst? At least with the antagonists toward faith, there’s dialogue. The APATHEIST has zero interest whatsoever with talking about it. For them, any discussion about it is meaningless.

There’s more to this APATHEISM picture. It’s one thing to have zero interest in the existence of God, but this same APATHEISM shows up among believers of God regarding the issues that have created denominations. For many, the discussion about…

  • The one Body– Mat 16:18;
  • The one Holy Spirit – John 16:13; Eph 3:3-4
  • The one Hope – Eph 1:18
  • The one Calling– 2Thess 2:14
  • The one Lord – 1Cor 1:13;
  • The one Faith – Jude 1:3:
  • The one Baptism – Mark 16:16
  • The ONE GOD – Mal 2:10;

…are meaningless [Ephesians 4:4-6]. They’ll say something like, “we’re all in different ships heading to the same harbor.” After this they are saying by their APATHEISM, “the discussion is over, the theology is settled, the debate is over, the time for talking has passed. The experts have reached a consensus. Any other point of view in this day and age is hateful, divisive & judgmental. If you disagree, then you’re not welcome. It’s legalism, it’s pharisaical, it’s old fashioned, it’s outdated. You’re lost for believing such things, and I will only help you out of your lost state if you just listen, don’t ask any questions and totally agree with me and especially if you don’t ask me to show you any scriptures.”

You may think what is written above is mocking. I assure you it is not. Each of these statements have been outright stated or implied to me on a near daily basis. I once scheduled a study with 2 young men in white shirts from a particular denomination, for which they arrived late. They wanted to speak first. After they were done, I said, “I have a couple of questions for you.” After the first question (which they refused to answer) they had to leave or they would be late for their next appointment. The time for talking had passed.

Another time a fellow said, “I don’t want you to tell me that my beliefs are wrong.” Another once screamed at a colleague of mine, “YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE BAPTIZED TO BE SAVED!!!” On another occasion when I kindly asked a person if they wanted to see the only time “faith only” was used in the Bible they said, “nope.” By the way, it’s in James chapter 2 and it says, “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.”

I find it amazing when folks approach me to tell me about their faith as if time had no meaning, but are suddenly out of time when I ask them a few questions. The debate is over, you’re a legalist.

Folks, eternity is much too long a time to spend it in regret of having not learned the truth about salvation & faithfulness. When Paul said, “But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant” he wasn’t authorizing that as a position of safety [1Cor 14:38]. Ignorance may be bliss in this life, but in the next one it’s misery. “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:” [Acts 17:30]

PS: There is an authorized time when the time for talking has passed and it’s found in Mat 7:6; 15:14. When is the right time to be apatheistic? When you discover you’re talking with an APATHEIST. I’m never apathetic toward the lost who are willing to engage in discussion. It’s only when they tell me, “the debate is over, the time for talking has passed, Any other point of view in this day and age is hateful, divisive & judgmental. The theology is settled, the discussion is over…”

–Spencer