Play the Ball (and other rules for debate)


Noted pastor and blogger Tim Challies reminds us to “play the ball not the man” in his recent post. Included are 7 rules that we should think through as we participate in a debate or discussion over theological topics (or any other issue). These “rules” help us wrestle more honestly with the topic under discussion as well as be fair to the people we engage with.

#5. Gillespie’s Rule B

The fifth rule also belongs to Gillespie and states Represent and engage your opponents’ position in its very strongest form, not in a weak ‘straw man’ form. “Do all the work necessary until you can articulate the views of your opponent with such strength that he says, ‘I couldn’t have said it better myself.’ Then and only then will your polemics not misrepresent him, take his views in toto, and actually have the possibility of being persuasive.”

Our quest should be for a better understanding of the truth, not being right. I recommend reading (and following) the rest of the post.

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