Tim Keller has a very good series of articles on Gospel Polemics. In the first article he discusses a historical exchange between Martin Lloyd-Jones and T. T. Shields, and quotes Lloyd-Jones as saying, “Polemics is medicine, not food.”
In part 2 and part 3 Keller lists a few “rules” of polemic engagement:
1. Carson’s Rule—You don’t have to follow Matthew 18 before publishing polemics.
2. Murray’s Rule—You must take full responsibility for even unwitting misrepresentation of someone’s views.
3. Alexander’s Rule—Never attribute an opinion to your opponent that he himself does not own.
4. Gillespie’s Rule A – Take your opponents’ views in total, not selectively.
5. Gillespie’s Rule B – Represent and engage your opponents’ position in its very strongest form, not in a weak ‘straw man’ form.
6. Calvin’s Rule – Seek to persuade, not antagonize, but watch your motives!
Gospel Polemics [part 1] [part 2] [part 3]
Scott Anderson of Desiring God has a wonderful interview with Tim Keller.
Tim Keller, Don Carson and John Piper discuss ministry and the Gospel in a 1 hour video recorded at the 2008 Gospel Coalition Leadership Meeting. A phenomenal video. Keller and Piper discuss how mercy ministries to the world can be effective outreach opportunities. Keller describes how his approach to preaching the Gospel by deconstructing legalism to a libertine culture effectively removes major barriers to the Gospel. Keller also describes a difficulty in finding pastoral staff who have strong theology, a serious moral trembling, and an experimental heart passion for the person of Christ. Piper asks Tim to explain Gospel-centeredness, and then raises a question of how a man addicted to pornography can successfully see victory over that sin via a Gospel-centeredness. Then Carson asks John to explain how God is not a megalomanic by demanding worship and seeking glory.
Coalition Leadership Discussion 2008 >>>