We can’t force the acceptance of truth…

As Christian witnesses we can do nothing to force the acceptance of truth. How nonbelievers come to believe is their business and the business of the Holy Spirit. But we can, should and do pray that the moment of truth leads to Jesus as Lord and Savior.

James Sire, from Why Good Arguments Often Fail, p. 126

Listen carefully to what they say…

Note that learning to read the audience, learning to understand those to whom you are witnessing, is vital. Listen carefully to what they say, ask lots of questions, don’t jump in with irrelevant comments or statements that are not sensitive to what you are learning about them. These are not easy tasks, and they will not guarantee success, but they will make it far more likely.

James Sire, from Why Good Arguments Often Fail, p. 91

Creativity in defending the faith…

One thing we always know, most effective apologetics will need to combine reason and rhetoric in an imaginative way. There is always room for creativity in defending the faith.

James Sire, from Why Good Arguments Often Fail, p. 145

Why should I trust my own mind…

Perhaps the most troubling question of all is, Why should I trust the workings of my own mind when it is completely impersonal, unwitting, undesigned matter in motion?

James Sire, from Why Good Arguments Often Fail, p. 107

Nor can we make our beliefs…

Any one of these three alternatives* could be the case, or a further alternative could be the case, but they cannot all be the way things are. That would require a universe with no structural consistency; it would be a chaos, not a cosmos. Nor could a person’s belief make any one of these eventualities true. Still, people often seem to think so. Continue reading

We long for God because…

The fact that we have a prior desire for the existence of God who would be a perfect Father does not mean that this desire causes the belief. There is a truth in Freud’s analysis: As Christians we can agree that we have a desire for God, a primal, unfulfilled pretheoretical longing for significance and meaning. God has “set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end (Eccles. 3:11 NIV). There really is a God who is there, One who alone satisfies this longing. “Our hearts are restless till they rest in thee,” said St. Augustine. And John Calvin talked about a sensus divinitas (a “direct sense of the divine”). We long for God because he wants us to. Belief in his existence does not follow from our desire; his existence triggers our desire.

James Sire, from Why Good Arguments Often Fail, p. 51

Only those who do the truth…

In the long run only those who do the truth they hear will “hear” the truth. Honesty and integrity is a prerequisite for coming to know.

James Sire, from Why Good Arguments Often Fail, p. 120

Laughing at the gospel…

There is no way to prevent people from laughing at the gospel and poking fun at the apologist, and we need to be ready for that.

James Sire, from Why Good Arguments Often Fail, p. 141