I once talked with a missionary who said it was “hard” for him to introduce people to his peculiar brand of Christianity. In particular, he referred to a Christian Scientist. After a few minutes, I found that he didn’t know who Mary Baker Eddy was, and had never attended a Christian Science church service, and yet he arrogantly assumed he was in a position to reason with and persuade his prospect.
If he wanted to understand intellectual Atheism, he should read a few of Hitchen’s and Dawkin’s and Harris’s books, I told him. And if he was to successfully engage a Pentecostal or a Hindu, he had better at least do some similar research. The same goes for Buddhism, which is, after all, a philosophy that has been distorted into a religion, and any thinking person would know that much of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path is nicely aligned with Christianity. Talking to someone steeped in Theosophy, and you don’t know who Blavatsky and Olcott are? You lose.
His response was typical: “I don’t have the time, and I won’t expose my spirit to those demonic teachings.” Well, there you have it: Arrogance and laziness mixed with ignorance and served luke warm with a generous side of hate. Not very Christian. “What is a soul worth?” is a question he should be asking himself, instead of feeling so insecure in his beliefs and faith that he trembles to examine other faiths.
In addition, any brand of Christianity that ignores or refutes all the work of Christians in other churches and the writings of great men like Tozer, John Bunyan, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, and of course, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, should be exiled to a desert island with a pile of the books of these authors, which they have to accurately summarize before being allowed back into the mission field again.
In business, the same applies. You may know a lot about running a tire business but that doesn’t qualify you to expound on the way I run my restaurant. A lawyer or an accountant have no right to label themselves “entrepreneurs,” and success in one field does not automatically assure success in another. Not all skills and certainly not all experience is transferable.
Most trial lawyers, however, are very good at assimilating information and researching and understanding the circumstances, options, and sometimes the businesses of those they defend and represent – a necessary skill in lawyering and a laudable quality in any debate.
I talked with a man who assured me that Obama was a Capitalist who loved America, and definitely not a racist. I quickly established that he had never read Obama’s books (I have) and he had no idea what Liberation Theology, socialism, nor Cultural Marxism are all about. He was also unaware of Obama’s “father”‘s influence on him. I ended that conversation abruptly. I no longer suffer fools gladly. If I am to spend any time conversing with someone on those subjects, I insist on enjoying the give and take.
Know whereof you speak or hold your tongue.