THE ART OF ARGUING WELL
A hallmark virtue of the Christian life is compassion. Few words elicit a warmer response from us. But one act of compassion is often overlooked, or even disparaged, within the Christian community to the peril of our effectiveness in pro-life ministry:the art of arguing, and arguing well.
Now we don’t tend to equate arguing with compassion. These seem like polar opposites. Arguing sounds mean, and often times it is. But it doesn’t have to be. You see, when a preborn child’s life hangs in the balance she doesn’t need a warm blanket or a ham sandwich; she needs an advocate armed with good arguments and a gracious manner, because if this act of compassion is unsuccessful, there won’t be opportunity to express another.
Indeed, the best way to help mothers facing unplanned and unwanted pregnancies is to persuade them to give life to their little ones. Pro-life apologetics is simply the ministry of arguing well on behalf of the preborn and their mothers, so that the baby can live and the mother can live without a lifetime of guilt and regret.
In 1 Peter 3:15, Christians are called to be arguers, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you for the hope that you have.” The word, “answer”, comes from the Greek word, apologia, from which we get the word, “apologetics”, which simply means “argument” or “defense”. Though the Bible expressly condemns becoming argumentative, Peter commands us to become arguers in the classical sense of the word. As pro-lifers, we bear the responsibility to provide compelling reasons for mothers (and fathers) to value their preborn children. This requires some “elbow grease” on our part, but pays infinitely high dividends in the counseling room and across the water cooler.
Pro-life apologetics is not an end in itself, but the means to an end. Pro-life ambassadors want to win the argument, but more than this, we want to win the person behind the argument. This is why Peter also admonishes us to defend our faith with “gentleness and respect.” The goal is persuasion, not coercion. Christian apologist, Ravi Zacharias, offers a valuable reminder, “If you cut off a person’s nose, there is no sense in giving them a rose to smell.”
As the final advocate for mothers and their little ones, it is crucial that you are able to make the case for life in an attractive manner. [reprinted from Heartbeat Pulse Magazine, January 2015]