We are very excited about some doings at Providence Church here in Pensacola, FL. We are preparing to move our church onto the campus of the University of West Florida. UWF is a small town university with a small town feel. A good portion of the student body is local, but they also have dorms and students who remain on campus over the weekends. We look to impact those men and women with the gospel.
In our Bible study after the sermon one Sunday a student from UWF was in our midst and asked a very important question. While not a direct quote his question went something like this:
“How do we confront the culture at the university with the truth, when the culture does not hold that there is anything like truth?” Good question, one we should be ready to answer.
While pondering that question and seeking to provide an answer, Dan Phillips shows us how we ought not handle ourselves in the public square when contending for the truth. He says, basically, that we are not all that smart. We have been given insight into the things of God by the grace of God. That being the case, we should be full of humility, contending for the truth not because we are right and like to be so, but because Jesus has been revealed as the Son of God and He is Truth. Taking the focus off of us (those on path to life everlasting) to the One True God (true Life itself).
Proverbs, being full of proverbs and not laws, has this to say in chapter 26:4-5
4 Answer not a fool according to his folly,
lest you be like him yourself.
5 Answer a fool according to his folly,
lest he be wise in his own eyes.
If we join the professors from the philosophy department on campus, saying that “to understand reality we must understand there is no reality outside of ‘self'” just to gain entrée into the discussion, our battle is lost before it began. We have answered the fool according to his folly. That (as Dan Phillips might say) is arrogance. The same arrogance shown by the unbeliever.
We are contending for the destination not the journey. So don’t waste your time with foolish speculation. Get to the crux of the matter by doing two things:
1. Exposing their poor foundation. Their certainty that there is no certainty is not sustainable logically, so by answering a fool according to his folly (v. 5) you show him or her that they are on sinking sand. They operate under the banner of truth; they just don’t realize it. Wave in front of their face.
2. Point them to the foundation of all truth: In John 18:37-38 Pilate questioned and Jesus answered: 37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him.” The life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the truth. It is the destination of all our witnessing and living before the unbelieving world.
Remember: …God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong… You ain’t so smart.