Monday, May 30, 2005


Sunday was fun. Preaching on holiness from 1 Peter at ECW in the morning and then switching gears finishing off our CSI:Malachi series at cession in the evening. I feel good about the series overall. It was a challenge preaching from such a challenging book. But I feel like I learned a lot in the process and got challenged personally along the way. This week the crime was: THEFT - preaching from Malachi 3. Jacob did this awesome response element using the metaphor of a Libarary book amnesty (this tied in nicely with one of the core questions in Malachi 3 - "How are we to RETURN" ;)) . Heaps of people responded returning the children's book they received as they entered. Nice.

I've been pondering the past few months on how frustrating it can be debating important issues with other Christians (no wonder Paul warned against it). What I've noticed is at best a laziness in debate; at worst intellectual dishonesty. I've seen this on discussion boards, blogs and in real time. Here's just some of what I see:

  • The straw man argument - you take something someone said, exaggerate it to a point that they themselves did not take it to, and then proceed to knock down the exaggeration instead of the actual proposition. Its very effective as a tool of argument but ineffective in promoting understanding;
  • Arguing from the abuse to the abolition. Simply put: the abuse of a thing does not logically lead to its abolition. That does not mean that the abuse is justifiable but the thing which is abused may well be. Here's an example that Christian readers might relate to: Christians act hypocritically, therefore Christianity must be wrong. A relatively well know Christian, Augustine was his name, wrote that a thing ought not to be condemned because it lent itself to abuse - his subject was gold - kinda makes the same point;
  • "Play the man, not the ball" At the risk of being tautologous...this sporting metaphor carries the foulplay analogy into the realm of debate. Its always easy to find something personal to criticise;
  • The irrelevant crititque - when you're getting beaten in an argument, a good tactic is to select something irrelevant in a person's statement and start crtiquing that - its easy to do because most people don't express themselves perfectly 100% of the time.

My point is that it can be awfully tiring attempting to pursue truth in a discussion when you have to clear your way though the murkiness of the approach to discussion. And boring. Anyway, now that I have that off my chest I might go to bed...

Tiredness quotient is improving. Actually had energy last week! Don't forget to check out Jonescam



Steve Goble said...

Dear Jonesboy.

I read this post when you first published it nearly five years ago, and it is the one that has remained with me more than any other. I have since, years later, been through your blog trying to find it again, but without success. I concluded that it must in fact have been a lost comment that I had read on Rhett's old blogspot or somewhere. Until today, it has been my intention to ask you in person at some stage to recall the points so that I could write them down. Then someone, apparently randomly, posts some spam on here, it shows up in the sidebar, I click on it, and...


BJ said...

can this be the purposes of God emerging from the chaos of spam? Glad you liked it. I was reading some old posts the other day. I was a pretty decent blogger back in the day. Should I do a weekly blog archive re post?