JAC Online

Do Not Argue
by Renae Farrington (Soldier – Geraldton Corps, Western Australia)

The maxim “You can’t argue someone into heaven” has (somewhat ironically) been argued about for many years in church and theological circles. Despite a lack of formal theological training, my life and ministry experience has led me to believe very firmly that it is true – you definitely can’t argue someone into heaven, and in fact, I’ve even seen Christians who have attempted to argue someone into heaven wind up argued out of it themselves.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”[1] If salvation comes by faith, which is the evidence of things not seen, how does that answer to someone who refuses to believe in the truth of the gospel without having all of their arguments conclusively answered with measurable scientific proof? And how will such a person ever come to accept a humanly unfathomable doctrine such as the trinity?

Samuel Logan Brengle wrote in his book Helps to Holiness, “Cold logic will not make a man love Jesus, and it is only he that loveth that is ‘born of God.’”[2] The Dawkins-Hitchens era of the Armchair Atheist thinks he is speaking from a position of cold logic, but his arguments are almost always laced with arrogance and a sense of superiority over the religious man he is arguing. He is well-informed and prepared with an answer to every point of logic the amateur apologist attempts to present. He can argue with you until you are backed into a corner, where the devil will use every opportunity to get you to answer his arrogance and vitriol with defensiveness and anger – destroying two souls with one stone of argument.

The most powerful weapon available to the Evangelist is the one that no one can argue with – his or her testimony. People can choose not to accept your testimony, but they can’t really argue with it. Your testimony is your witness of the divine Grace at work in your life – not merely the story of how you came to be saved, but the work of the Holy Spirit in your life each and every day. If I testify that, although I am diagnosed with medical Generalised Anxiety Disorder, because I am sanctified and filled with the Holy Spirit I have become more than a conqueror of the worry in my life – what argument can be made against it? It can be suggested that my relief could be attributed to other causes, but it can not be argued that it did not happen if I have borne witness to it. It’s also nearly impossible to be backed into a corner where you are manifesting negative emotional responses if you are verbally proclaiming the work of the Holy Spirit in your life.

An argument of logic, even if it finds some unlikely success will only appeal to the head – and salvation is not achieved through a turning of the head. “For it is, by grace you have been saved, through faith…” [3] A testimony of grace will touch the place in the human heart that longs for grace, while also protecting the heart and mind of the Evangelist by keeping the Holy Spirit at the forefront of the conversation.


[1] Hebrews 1:11 NKJV

[2] Helps to Holiness, Samuel Logan Brengle 1896.

[3] Ephesians 2:8 NKJV








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