It seems to me that today’s Christians are very good at arguing. The verses that they depend upon are often the “clobber passages”: short, pithy, and mean. These verses tend to have words in them such as abomination, evil, and wicked. (And sometimes they lack all context… literal and cultural.) I also see Christians trying to impress people with their vast Biblical knowledge, and the fact that they are “not ashamed” of the gospel. (Yeah, we get that.)
But is that really the way to proclaim the Good News?
Jesus didn’t argue. He answered the argumentative Pharisees (sometimes turning their nasty comments back on them), knowing that they only wanted to trip him up.
“The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.” Mark 8:11-12
Sometimes His silence spoke louder than any argument:
“So again Pilate asked him, ‘Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.’ But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.” Mark 15: 4-5
He spoke plainly to those who wanted to listen, and He didn’t waste His time on those who didn’t. And most importantly, His example—toward those who the “good” religious folks wouldn’t approve of—was always one of love and acceptance. That’s the example I choose to follow.
So. Does arguing bring people closer to God? Maybe. Sometimes. If a person is almost ready to commit, and if they have some question that’s bothering them, and if you say just the right thing…
It just pushes them farther away.