Faith in Bullet Points

You don't always have hours on end to discuss your position.

Justin Martyr who dialogued with Trypho the Jew

We all remember times where we’ve had long faith discussions.  It’s usually hours on end over a meal, coffee, or a glass of wine.  I remember discussing religion over dinner with a Muslim friend of mine from Gaza.  For the first time in his life, he probably doubted his faith that night.  Regardless, we had hours to talk.  We don’t always have that.

Sometimes we’ll have only a few minutes, and sometimes we won’t even have that.  I’ve stood on the street corner doing pro-life work before.  Often, a person will give their attention but I know in the back of my mind as soon as they get the walk sign, they’re gone.  In other words, you don’t always have the time that you want.

Because of this, we often need to make statements in bullet points.  They have to be precise and to the point.  They also have to be memorable and leave their mark on the one you talk to.  This often involves using unique arguments, not stuff that they’ve probably heard before.

Let’s give an example.  You’re on a Subway in New York and you strike up a conversation with a Jew and the debate about whether Jesus is the Messiah or not comes up.  You probably have only a couple minutes.  You don’t know if this Jew is only culturally Jewish and doesn’t observe the customs that much or is a fully observant Jew(If he wears the skullcap that might be an indicator).

Let’s say you have 90 seconds.  What would you do?  Here is what I would do.  I would take the first 30 seconds to attack Judaism.  Not in an aggressive way.  I would just say that there has been no priesthood, sacrifices, temple, tent of meeting, Monarch, or Kingdom of Israel for almost 2,000 years.  I would also point out the shaky ground in which the Oral Law stands on.  This can be done in 30 seconds.  The purpose of this initial jab is to take the wind out of their sail.  Now, they might have a doubt, so you can plug Jesus and the Christian faith.

If you don’t have any OT prophecies memorized than that is maybe something to work on.  In the next 30 seconds, I would quote Isaiah 49:3-6 then follow up with some verses from Isaiah 53.  Knowing Bible verses is great for debate.

In the last 30 seconds, I would list some secular benefits of Christianity.  Jews cherish the Torah and because of the Messiah and the Church that he built, the Torah has been translated into thousands of languages and is being read all over the world.  I would then give a brief personal testimony.

Here is my 90 second faith pitch for only one scenario.  It’s not designed to convert him on the spot, though it would be nice if it did.  It’s meant to plant a seed.  Will the seed get watered?  Probably not but it’s there’s a chance.

Would you be able to do this off the top of your head for any topic?  It’s not easy.  You need to know what you believe and what a lot of non-Christians groups believe so you can deliver the perfect 90 second testimony.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “Faith in Bullet Points

  1. This is a brilliant succinct article on apologetics for a Jewish interlocutor, but what about the muslim friend who you discussed religion over dinner? Your previous critques have been that islam and it’s sacred book is a-historical. What secular benefit would Christianity be to the muslim? Unless, your friend is simply a cultural non-practicing muslim who appreciates the gentile privilege of eating foods that were declared unclean by Moses, and able to drink alcohol, what compelling benefits would being Christian afford the muslim?

    • I tend to shy away from arguments from “secular benefits” because those are temporal matters and not eternal ones. I want to stick to critiques of Islam that are religious. Islam presents false information about God and therefore should be rejected on that basis alone.