Ad Hominem and Personal Attacks pt3: That’s your OPINION.

That's Just Your Interpretation!” - ppt video online download

The third ATTACK sounds like this: “That’s just your interpretation (OPINION).”

This objection most often occurs when we refer to a bible passage from memory, or even if we quote it accurately and in context. It sounds more like an opinion without evidence. Therefore, whenever you’re speaking with someone about the Bible, OPEN your bible and show them. Quoting scripture from memory has value. You can quote it then repeat it by showing them in God’s word. Have a bible and show it. People will have to direct their anger at the Word when they read it for themselves. Then we may ask, “Can we sit down and figure this out together?”

We might could show them 2Peter 1:20; “…no prophecy of scripture is of PRIVATE interpretation.” Used with the first principle in this guide, we can show that the word stands alone and is against any PRIVATE beliefs or ‘I think so.’ We live in a culture that looks at contradictory viewpoints as being equally valid. “There’s no absolute truth,” some might even say. What they fail to see is they’re being dogmatic against dogmatism.

When hearing this attack (objection), one must realize that the person may not believe in the INSPIRATION of Scripture. Many denominations today don’t teach that the Bible is the only way to hear from God. From the Catholics onward, they’re taught that extra-biblical books, feelings and opinions are just as valid as the written Word. Perhaps pausing and looking at the evidence for the INSPIRED word before continuing.

Another approach to answering this challenge is by showing examples of people doing similar things. NAAMAN is one such example. When told clearly and concisely what needed to be done, his response was ‘I thought.’ [2Kings 5:1-14]. Point out that it was the objector who has a private interpretation. This may work only IF you are following the first point, to OPEN your bible and let the person read for themselves.

It must also be said that we’re not INTERPRETING, we’re reading. What we do when we read is to seek understanding. Many passages teach that we can understand when we read. [John 20:30-31; Romans 10:17; Eph 3:3-4; 2Timothy 3:16-17]

Recognized that this objection comes usually when a clear, concise teaching OPPOSES the person’s practices. (ie. MDR, Instrumental music, Fornication etc.) An appeal to the authority of God through the scriptures may be in order. [Luke 6:46; John 12:48; Mat 7:21-23; Acts 17:11] There are resources available to teach how to determine Biblical Authority. [Billy Moore, James P. Needham, Roy Cogdill and others.]

Lastly, one of the reasons why this objection is raised is because of our own words. We say things like, “I believe” “In my opinion.” We do this with a mind of humility, unfortunately it is working against us. NEVER say ‘I think’ or ‘I believe’ when you’re quoting from the word of God. A Thus saith the Lord shouldn’t be watered down by our fear or cowardice.

Young Samuel knew this lesson. Although he was afraid to tell Eli what the Lord had spoken to him, he didn’t withhold one word of it nor did he water it down to make it easier to swallow.

And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him.” [1Sam 3:18a]

Let’s proclaim God’s word boldly without pride on our part. It’s God’s word, not ours.

–Spencer

2 Responses to every sermon

I’ve found that there are two basic responses to every sermon. I’ve also spoken to other Gospel Preachers and they have come to a similar conclusion.

Walk out or Walk forward

These responses can be literally walking out of the auditorium or coming forward to the front to confess your sin in a public manner. They can also be done with your mind. So often folks, myself included, walk out or walk forward in our minds as we listen.

WALKING OUT

Walking out on a sermon, whether in your mind or physically getting up and leaving, happens for a variety of reasons…

You’re distracted – You’re sitting there, hot, tired and hungry thinking about lunch. Hoping the sermon is short, you begin taking steps to prevent yourself from falling asleep. If you’re someplace else in your mind, it matters very little whether the speaker is dynamic or boring. Sometimes you’re distracted by the goings on of other members shifting and squirming in their seats.

The remedy for this type of walking out is simple. Take notes. Engage your mind with the theme of the sermon. I have personally found this to be most effective.

Another tactic is to get some rest. So many of us stay up late and fail to plan for our Sunday morning worship. I’m guilty too. Saturday is a day off for most folks, and we just want to enjoy as much of our weekend as possible. I get it, I’ve been there. Eutychus in Acts 20 had the same trouble. If you’re going to stay up late, here’s a little tip that may help you feel more alert in the morning. Plan your sleep length in 90min cycles. 1.5, 3, 4.5 or 6 hours. Our bodies have up and down sleep cycles and we are at the top of the cycle [close to being awake] every 90 minutes. Do an internet search for sleep cycles and you’ll see what I mean.

Another reason we walk out is…

We think it’s about someone else – Yup, I’ve done this one too. While listening to a sermon you say to yourself, “self, I hope so-n-so is listening to this.” It reminds me of Nathan telling David about a man that had stolen a lamb in 2Sam 12:1-5. David became angry and demanded justice for the victim. However, look at what Nathan did in vs7, “You are the man!” Rather than trying to assign a lesson to another, we should be examining ourselves to see if it applies [1Co 11:28; 2Co 13:5].

Lastly, one reason we walk out is

We disagree – It’s ok to disagree, but be careful about HOW you disagree. Is your disagreement based on scriptures? Will you “try the spirits whether they are of God:” [1Jo 4:1]? Or, are you just disagreeing because you or a family member are committing the sin under consideration and don’t see anything wrong with it?

You might say to yourself, ‘that’s just his opinion’. Are we entitled to have an opinion on scriptural matters? Some people have said, “I know what it says, but I don’t like it.” When it comes to sin & doctrine, as enumerated in God’s word, we have no choice but to accept it and to obey it. Nothing in scripture is up for a personal interpretation that suits your opinion, [2Pe 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation].

If the speaker is wrong, then go to him about it privately. Perhaps he misspoke, or you misunderstood, but bring BCV [book chapter verse]. We can both be wrong, or one of us can be wrong and the other right, but we cannot BOTH BE RIGHT. I want to go to heaven and you would be a great friend if you show me where I was mistaken so that I could make correction.

It’s for this reason some folks church hop. They find the teaching to be contrary to their personal desires and go searching for a place of worship that suits their tastes. Or they stop worshiping altogether. This is not new, Paul warned that there are some whose ‘god is their belly’ [Philippians 3:19]. He also said, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears” [2Timothy 4:3].

There may be other reasons why folks “WALK OUT” on a sermon, but my desire is that we all “grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ [2Peter 3:18].

Where is your mind when you “WALK OUT” on a sermon?

Next week we’ll examine ‘walk forward’.