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Apologetics In Your Teaching: Start With the Questions That Matter

Apologetics In Your Teaching: Start With the Questions That Matter

Fourth in a series on “How to Use Apologetics In Your Teaching Without Scaring Anyone Away.” If you want to help your hearers know the answers to their questions, it pays to start with knowing what they’re asking. These questions — their questions — are the questions that matter. Discovering these questions used to be difficult. Not any longer. Now, I’ve been encouraging pastors and other teachers to bring apologetics into their churches. I don’t care if you actually use the…

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“It’s In the Bible, So Believe It!” Won’t Help Youth At All

“It’s In the Bible, So Believe It!” Won’t Help Youth At All

I’m on my way to Little Rock for an interview with FamilyLife about my book Critical Conversations: A Christian Parents’ Guide to Discussing Homosexuality With Teens, I decided to re-read the book on the way, and I came across a passage in it that applies to any question, any issue with our children. I want to share it with you, because it’s absolutely vital. I’d just told the story of a friend whose faith was shipwrecked for years by her…

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An Open Letter Of Hope To Gregory Magarshak, Man of Many Questions

An Open Letter Of Hope To Gregory Magarshak, Man of Many Questions

Greetings, Gregory! It’s been more than five years since you were on this blog, so when I met you in San Antonio last week, I didn’t realize it was you. We didn’t exchange our last names, so you didn’t know it was me, either. I had trouble sleeping after our conversation, though, which I think had something to do with my unconscious trying to wake up a memory in my conscious mind, and early last Saturday morning I realized with quite…

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Stay, Listen, and Understand; Or Leave and Be Left Wondering

Stay, Listen, and Understand; Or Leave and Be Left Wondering

In my last post I explored data revealing Jesus’ surprising penchant for leaving people wondering. I’ll continue today with another revealing chart from the same study of the Gospels: The abbreviations in the legend stand for the Pre- and Post-Transfiguration periods in Jesus’ ministry. These are followed by the Passion Week (including the Crucifixion), and the Post-Resurrection period. Jesus tended to explain things more clearly as he went along; or rather, he explained more clearly to those who stuck with him to…

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Because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will leave you wondering

Because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will leave you wondering

Because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will leave you wondering. Those are not the words our Lord spoke in Revelation 3:16, but it’s what he practiced in his ministry. That’s the surprising finding of the analysis I just completed on Jesus’ method of teaching. I had noticed a stark contrast between Jesus’ methods and most Bible teaching today. Jesus didn’t always explain himself clearly. Unlike most teachers today, he didn’t always resolve the questions he raised. He didn’t…

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Five Reasons Churches Need More Unanswered Questions

Five Reasons Churches Need More Unanswered Questions

This has the potential to get pastors fired for following Jesus’ example. It will confuse anyone who sees me as a Christian apologist, and apologetics as being in the business of giving answers. The fact is I believe we need more unanswered questions. Pastors in particular need to leave more questions unanswered. There are (at least) five reasons this is true. Jesus set the example, as seen best in the book of John. 1. To Follow Jesus’ Example Jesus’ first…

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When You Don’t Know the Answers

When You Don’t Know the Answers

Friday Parent Focus* Last time in this series I encouraged you to talk with your kids about faith, and especially to help them to open up with their questions. But what do you do when you don't know the answers? It's not so bad. Really: if your son or daughter asks a tough question and you don't have an answer right on the tip of your tongue, how surprised do you think they'll be? The only big surprise might be…

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Talk To Your Kids About Faith

Talk To Your Kids About Faith

Do you talk to your kids about faith? It can do them a world of good. Based on research from the Search Institute, though, you’re an unusual parent if you do. This group found, [in a] nationwide study of 11,000 teenagers from 561 congregations across six denominations, 12 percent of youth have a regular dialogue with their mom on faith or life issues. . . . It’s far lower for dads. One out of twenty kids, or 5 percent, has regular faith or…

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