Defending the Faith Part 2: Why Tactics?

| Saturday, June 18, 2011 | |
by Greg Koukl
Let’s discuss our need for tactics, what they are, and how to use them.

Our need for tactics concerns our commission to be effective ambassadors for Christ. Ambassadors use three essential skills:

Knowledge: an accurately informed mind
Wisdom: an artful method
Character: an attractive manner

These skills play a part in every effective engagement with a non-believer.

The second skill the artful method, or “tactical wisdom” is our focus in this series of emails. Tactics are distinct from strategy. Strategy involves the big picture, the large-scale operation, of one’s positioning prior to engagement. I use the term “strategy” in reference to the tremendous resources of knowledge available to us to be adequately prepared to give an account for the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15). In our case, Christianity has strategic superiority it is well “positioned” on the battlefield because our ideas can hold up under serious scrutiny compared to other views.

We have an excellent case. We have the best answers to life’s most important questions.

Tactics entail the artful arranging of resources, specifically in maneuvering through conversations. They allow you to:

Use your knowledge in creative ways.
Choreograph the particulars of your response.
Style your response to objections.
Employ specific methods in addressing attacks.
Guide yourself with sound reasoning, clear thinking, and aggressive advocacy.
Often a clever commander has the advantage over a superior opponent through deft tactical maneuvering.

Tactics should not be used as tricks or slick ruses, clever ploys to destroy non-Christians, forcing them to submit to your point of view, attempts to belittle or humiliate to gain notches in your spiritual belt.

Instead, tactics should enable you to present the truth clearly and persuasively. They should enable you to maneuver and get a footing or an advantage in a conversation, helping you to navigate through the minefields. Tactics put you in the driver’s seat, allowing you to, in many cases, stop a challenger cold and turn the tables, offering him the arguments for Christianity he should carefully consider.

The goal in using tactics is to:

Manage, not manipulate
Control, not coerce
Finesse, not fight

Tactics are powerful and can be abused quite easily. It’s not difficult to make someone look silly with these techniques. We should be direct, focused and challenging, but never abrasive, abusive or alarming. This is where the third quality of an ambassador plays an important role: Character an attractive manner. Our goal is to find clever ways to exploit another’s bad thinking for the purposes of guiding them to truth.

In the next e-mail I’ll introduce you to Lieutenant Columbo, the “queen mother” of all tactics.

Next week: The "Queen Mother" of Tactics

For more extensive tactics training go to and look for Tactics in Defending the Faith Mentoring Series or STRi DVD interactive training in our online store or call Stand to Reason at 1-800-2-REASON.


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