Let’s not pretend, we all know the difference between an “argument” and a “discussion” of the gospel. Only one of them involves listening.
But that’s not to say that a gospel argument is completely void of virtue…unless of course if you don’t consider entertainment a virtue. When I was in high school I would constantly argue with my siblings and parents, usually for the normal teenage reasons but often solely just to see if I could make an argument work. I distinctly remember an occasion on which I took the side of an issue that I didn’t even agree with and argued it with my middle sister (she didn’t know I actually agreed with her) and when the debate was over (I can only assume I won) I told her that I didn’t even agree with that position but in fact agreed with her. She was livid. Knowing that made it even more fun.
My senior year I joined the debate team and wasn’t too shabby, though I had no interest in doing it professionally (like an attorney or something). Argument was a hobby, not an occupation. I know that many of you are lawyers so I’m sure you took debate and you get at least a small thrill in taking a side and arguing that perspective.
Interestingly I never really had much occasion to debate the gospel. I shared my testimony a few times and remember having a very good discussion with a Christian friend (who happened to be number one on the debate team), but we never argued, I actually learned from him and he from me. And on my mission in Guatemala I rarely took the occasion to argue with my Evangelical brothers and sisters. At the beginning of my mission I tried hard to convert them (along with the drunks and Catholics) but quickly realized it was of little use. In fact I came up with a few questions that, depending on their answers, indicated how open they would be to listening. There were too many people waiting to hear the gospel to waste my time on these folks. (I ended up baptizing one active Catholic, zero active Evangelicals, zero active drunks and many inactive Christians and agnostics.)
So here we are today with the internets full of Evangelicals telling me what I believe and my spirit of contention has been re-awakened. Discussing Christianity/Mormonism with Mormons is usually a discussion. Discussing Christianity/Mormonism with Evangelicals is almost exclusively an argument. But usually a fun argument.
I’m sure Christ would prefer we discuss the gospel with our brothers and sisters rather than argue. But I’m also pretty sure Christ would rather I read the scriptures at night than play Halo. But hey, I’m a Mormon so apparently I’m confused about who Christ is so I guess I’ll just keep playing.
P.S. Brad, we try to discuss the gospel here, not argue it, so consider yourself banned the moment you say anything that has the tone of those other threads.