Sunday, June 05, 2011

Sunday Quote: David K. Clark on Speaking the Truth

"To tell someone he is a sinner is speaking truth, but it can antagonize him. Driving him away by telling the truth in the wrong way and at the wrong time is hardly good communication. Effective communication must not only be true, but loving as well. It is not loving to tell a person the truth before he is ready to hear and in such a way that it produces the reverse effect."

- David K. Clark

Dialogical Apologetics, p. 209


Greg said...

Is that what Jesus did? It's a co-out to say that Jesus always knew when the person was ready for the truth. Is always easier to tell others the truth than it is to tell ourselves the truth.

Evan L said...

well said. when i was a skeptic, there were two things that that caused it. the first was not getting answers to my objections and the second was from people just telling me the truth in an abrupt and offensive way. if someone is hurting and doesn't trust anything, he won't listen to you because you're no different then all the other's that tell him what to do.

it takes a tender touch to take someone out of a hard place where they're vulnerable and then slowly open the door to a whole new world

Ex N1hilo said...

Jesus was at once the greatest preacher and evangelist the world has known, and the most loving person who ever lived. And yet, the vast crowds who gathered to witness His miraculous healings, and to enjoy a free lunch of fish and bread, were largely driven away by His words.

Why? Because the gospel is offensive to the carnal mind. There are those who try to present it in an unoffensive form, but this is simply not possible.

When we endeavor to make the gospel unoffensive, we succeed only in preaching a compromised message.

For example, I have read, in one particular book, and in an essay or two, the opinion that we must NEVER tell a Muslim that Jesus is the Son of God. They will be scandalized and will shut their ears to whatever else we have to say.

The problem with this approach is that the Jesus who is not the Son of God is not the Savior either. We can present an Islam-friendly "Jesus" to them or we can present the real one. Only the latter can save. And, although it may be true that Muslims will shut their ears to those who proclaim that the Son of God is mighty to save, it is more true that God can and does open deaf ears.

Of course, we must let the Savior and His cross be the offense. We must avoid being offensive in our own manner and conduct, as much as possible.

pds said...

Agreed Ex N1hilo,

It can be tempting to present the gospel in the least scandalous matter, when the full force of its offensive is necessary.

On the other hand, we don't know the position of an individual's heart; we don't know what God's purpose is and how it will be accomplished. Perhaps a person's heart will be moved by a long drawn out process, as in the case of Evanation, or perhaps they will never turn to God. Only time, and patient love and conversation, will tell.

What we want to avoid is rushing God's process, by placing all non-believers in the same a box.

Ex N1hilo said...


Great points.

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