Acts 17: 4 (NASB) “And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women.
Some Christians say you cannot argue anyone into the kingdom of God. Have you ever heard this? It is a silly statement that goes against what the Bible teaches. In verse 4 Luke writes, many Jews, gentiles [Greeks], and women were persuaded by Paul’s arguments and joined them. Here is a perfect example of many people coming to know Jesus Christ through persuasion.
God uses good arguments all the time to bring people to Christ. He loves when we stand up for Him and show people good reasons why they should believe. As it says in Acts, Paul used reasoning, explaining, giving evidence, and persuading as a means of honoring God. However, even good arguments without the power of the Holy Spirit are not compelling and people will not trust Christ. Yet, without the Holy Spirit, showing acts of love won’t convince them either. All sharing, persuading, and acts of love need the power of the Holy Spirit to be effective. Obviously, here in the Book of Acts the Holy Spirit was using Paul’s arguments to convince his listeners.
As believers in Jesus Christ we need to learn how to be more persuasive. Remember an argument is simply explaining why you believe what you believe. Anytime you make a statement and they ask you why you believe it, you are making an argument. Another way to say it, an argument is simply a statement or opinion followed by support. Here are some things that may help your thinking.
1. Arguing teaches you how to think clearly about what you believe. It forces you to clearly articulate a position and to do so in a convincing manner. You will quickly find out how sound your arguments are when you try them on someone who doesn’t agree with you.
2. Avoid silly arguments (2 Tim. 2:14). Example: If you are arguing for God creating the earth, don’t argue with a non-Christian concerning the age of the earth; focus on what is important. If you try to convince him the earth is 6,000 years old, he is going to immediately think you believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and a flat earth; he will dismiss any points you make. We have better points we can make without discussing the age of the earth. Avoid arguing for things that are not vital to the discussion.
3. We should not to be argumentative. Humble and respectful attitude needs to be developed. Shouting at someone never wins arguments. In fact the person who loses their cool usually is the one with the weakest case. Keep your emotions under control.
4. We have to take the life of the mind seriously. We are told by Jesus Christ to love God with our minds. Study what and why you believe what you believe. Read good books and listen to good speakers over the internet who can equip you to make a stand for what you believe. You cannot be persuasive without content knowledge.
Bottom line, we need more soldiers for Christ who take their beliefs seriously. The average Jehovah Witness can make a doctrinal pretzel out of the average Christian. We need to do for the truth what the cultist will do for a lie. The cultist spends hours of study to refute us and we need to do the same. All of us must continue to learn and argue with those who disagree. Only by doing both can we refine what we believe and become a more persuasive witness for Jesus Christ.