Yesterday I received a phone call from a fellow who said he had found our website “while on his lunch break” and had a few questions about the Bible. He wondered if I would talk to him.
I was happy to oblige and he started out by asking me how Jesus could be God based on his grasp of John 17:3. This was not a text I had heard used before to debunk the deity of Christ, so it took a few minutes for me to get my head around what he was saying. Eventually, it became clear and I started to answer.
Within a few seconds he was cutting me off, getting ever more aggressive and displaying the fact that these were not honest questions – he was out for blood.
And I took the bait.
At one point I uttered the phrase, “Well, having studied Greek for 7 years in college and seminary...” I recall thinking that such a profound fact would back him down in a hurry. What a fool was I.
That phrase came back over and again as he, quite honestly, ran circles around me in the Greek text.
Now, it is not that he was right. He was quite wrong. But he was an excellent debater and having gained the upper hand he was not going to let go. I was red meat in a lion’s cage. I wilted. He won.
This surprising event taught me two things: First, I was brought to face the massive amount of pride that still resides in my heart. Second, I am still very weak and cowardly when going toe-to-toe with a spiritual interlocutor.
If he had taped our conversation, you would have heard my voice begin to shake a little and my arguments get increasingly fuzzy and bland. I was no Luther! I am glad the Lord brought this event into my life... but it has not been easy to bounce back. I got off the phone a whipped puppy.
I tried to move the “conversation” another direction, inviting “Nelson” from “somewhere in America” to send me an email with his questions to which I would respond later. Strangely, even though he “found me on the internet” he did not have email.
My guess is that Nelson is a kind of web-prowling Jehovah’s Witness. He has his ducks in order and he likes to stick it to Trinitarians. That is fine. Well, it is not very loving, but I get the picture.
One thing it made me consider was my own evangelism methods. Do the folks I speak to of Christ feel my genuine love for them? Or, do they feel like I am out to score a few points for my side? I know what I want them to feel.
Anyway, Nelson, should you be flipping through the internet today and stumble across my account of our phone meeting, you are more than welcome to fill in any blanks and carry on with your questions here. Like I said to you on the phone, I think all your statements are answerable, but I am just not very good at answering them off the cuff. It seems reasonable to expect that you might read this, since you were on our church website and that links here... so my offer is a real and genuine one!
To the rest of you, I suppose my purpose in blogging this has been to remind us all to not rely on our own strength and wisdom. We can do nothing apart from Jesus Christ, the all-glorious second member of the Tri-une Godhead, who strengthens us.