Tolle Lege: Tactics

Readability: 1

Length: 200 pp

Author: Gregory Koukl

If you want to gain skills to converse winsomely with others concerning the Christian faith I highly encourage you to read Gregory Koukl’s Tactics. For what it does, I know of no other book better. I’ll let it argue for itself:

Do arguments work? The simple answer is, “Yes, they do,” but this needs explanation.

Some suggest that using reason isn’t spiritual. “After all, you cant argue anyone into the kingdom,” they say. “Only the Spirit can change a rebels heart. Jesus was clear on this. No one can come to him unless the Father draws him (John 6:44). No intellectual argument could ever substitute for the act of sovereign grace necessary for sinners to come to their senses.”

Of course the last statement is entirely true as far as it goes. The problem is, it doesn’t go far enough. There is more to the story. It doesn’t follow that if God’s Spirit plays a vital role, that reason and persuasion play none. In the apostle Paul’s mind there was no conflict.

And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead… And some of them were persuaded. (Acts 17:2-4, italics added)

…Simply put you can argue someone into the kingdom. It happens all the time. But when arguments are effective, they are not working in a vacuum.

…Here’s the key principle: Without God’s work, nothing else works; but with God’s work, many things work.

The burden of proof is the responsibility someone has to defend or give evidence for his view. Generally, the rule can be summed up this way: Whoever makes the claim bears the burden. The key here is not to allow yourself to be thrust into a defensive position when the other person is making the claim. It’s not your duty to prove him wrong. It’s his duty to prove his view.


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