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Strategically Offensive, Tactically Defensive

Bloody Lane
Sunken Road at Antietam

Over the years, I have had a number of failures in my discussions with people who do not believe the Bible. And of course those discussions are about the creation account in Genesis—something church leaders who want to just talk about Jesus in the New Testament miss. I say “Jesus in the New Testament” because John 1, Colossians 1, and Hebrews 1 teach us that the creation account in Genesis is about Jesus.

“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.  He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.  Everything was created through him and for him.  He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.” Colossians 1:15-17 NLT

In the “The Civil War Battle Series: Gettysburg,” [YouTube video] Mark DePue showed what I have learned from my failures; but was not able to neatly articulate. At the end of the lecture, he had a table titled “Lee’s Strategic Record”—showing various battles that Lee fought.1 The table showed how a commander can be strategically offensive or defensive. But within that strategy, a commander can be tactically offensive or defensive. Being strategically offensive, but tactically defensive is going into the enemy’s territory—but once you are there, preparing your defenses and letting the enemy come to you.

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I am not a military strategist. And we certainly do not want to think of the person that we are having the discussion with as an enemy. But for biblical creation apologetics, I have found being strategically offensive and tactically defensive works best. And I have had more productive conversations since doing this.

What does this mean?

It means you state your position in broad terms.

  • You state that you believe the creation account in Genesis—or just state that you believe the Bible.
  • If you do make a case, you make your case using big picture, presuppositional (Nuclear Strength) apologetics, which I learned from Dr. Jason Lisle.
  • You point out that according to Darwinian evolution, we are nothing more than just another animal engaged in a battle of survival; and how this is totally inconsistent with even the concepts of reason and morality.
  • You may go further and point out how the basis for Darwinian evolution is philosophical materialism—matter and energy are all that exist. This means that we are just matter and energy—just a bunch of chemicals. So our very thoughts are nothing more than chemical reactions following the laws of physics and chemistry. This is not only inconsistent with the concepts of reason and morality; it is inconsistent with the concepts of free will and consciousness.   Even as this other person is debating you, what they are saying is just a result of chemical reactions that they do not control any more than you control chemicals reacting once you put them in a beaker. It is all chemistry and physics.
  • Help them to understand the ramifications of what they believe.

Do not make arguments regarding the fossil record; irreducible complexity; failed proofs of Darwinian evolution such as “junk” DNA, vestigial organs, Piltdown Man and Nebraska Man, or the peppered moth; or my personal favorite argument—the problem of creating enough genetic information through genetic mutations and natural selection to go from a “simple” single celled organism to all of life on this planet.

That will just give them the opportunity to use rescuing devices. Keep these arguments ready. But let them come to you with their arguments. Then you give them the answers. But if you set up the discussion with presuppositional apologetics, the discussion may stay more focused on that.

And if you are prepared, you can listen for the logical fallacies in what they are saying. Again, the Nuclear Strength Apologetics will help with this. But commonly used fallacies are ad hominem attacks, straw man arguments, appeal to authority, appeal to majority, no true Scotsman, affirming the consequent, and equivocation and extrapolation.

Darwinian evolution itself is built on equivocation and extrapolation. This is what Darwinists do when they use examples such as a bacteria becoming immune to antibiotics as “proof of evolution.” If they state ideas that you used to believe, tell them that. Then tell them why you no longer accept those ideas.

I used to be an old earth creationist, bordering on being a theistic evolutionist. I was never taught that I did not have to accept those positions. And some great ministers that I respected held those beliefs.

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But the key is listening—something not natural for me. Find out where they are coming from—what their issues are. Address what they are saying. Then meet them where they are. That is what Jesus did.

1. Lee’s Strategic Record

Antietam Fredericksburg Chancellorsville Gettysburg
Campaign Offense Defense Defense Offense
Battlefield Defense Defense Offense Offense

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Written by Terry Read

Graduate of University of Missouri-Rolla (now Missouri University of Science and Technology) – B.S. Engineering Management, 1986; Licensed professional engineer in the State of Texas – 1994 to Present; Volunteer data entry person at the San Antonio Pregnancy Care Center – 1992 to 2007;
Member of Kirby Baptist Church – 2006 to Present; Member San Antonio Bible Based Science Association – 2010 to Present; A director of San Antonio Bible Based Science Association – 2015 to Present; Co-host of Believing the Bible – 2016 to Present; Author of the book - Why Should I Believe? Why Should You Believe? - A Wake-Up Call to the Church!; Married to the former Elizabeth Cecilia – 1992 to Present;
Father of Joshua Read

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  1. I’m glad to see other people learning from Dr. Lisle, such as “Nuclear Strength Apologetics” (as presented as “The Ultimate Proof of Creation”, both book form and videos). Just before I read this, I just happened to have re-listened to the audio of “Ultimate Proof”. Something I think that both you and Dr. Lisle may agree with (let’s see what you think, anyway), is not to let unbelievers dictate the terms of a discussion or dominate it, nor can we allow them to put and keep us on the defensive. Atheists and evolutionists detest being kept on topic.

  2. No matter what you say, don’t forget that the “atheists and evolutionists” might, just might, be hurting human beings, just dying to hear that they can be forgiven, that Jesus really does love them, even if they deserve hell itself. Maybe you big, righteous men don’t know what it is like to be a woman, faced with rejection, hopelessness, and homelessness if they find out they are pregnant by a man who hates children… and they, themselves are professional women… maybe you big, white, righteous men never sinned in your whole life, or never really ever suffered fear…

    • I really appreciate you pointing this out, Cathy. It’s kind of like how to help be a polite driver: we get in this strange state where we forget the entity we are interacting with is a real person. It is something God strongly reminds us of to keep their needs in mind:
      2 Timothy 2:24-26 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
      Far too often the stories of why people reject God isn’t because they intellectually came to that conclusion, but because the trauma of their lives made it hard to understand how a good God could allow such pain. We are wise–and Christ like–to see the hurt behind the hard shell.
      No one here is going to think they are without sin, but it can only help to be reminded of how much we are just brothers and sisters, all created by the same God who loves us. All in desperate need of Jesus’ rescue!

    • Hello Cathy,

      My apologies for my delayed answer. The reason that I do what I do is because I know that I am a flawed, sinful human being. The message of the Bible is that I can be forgiven and made right with God because of Jesus of Nazareth dying on the cross to pay for my sins. I want other people to know that they can believe this message. But this message of Jesus begins with the first chapter of the first verse in Genesis. Notice that Genesis starts out “In the beginning God …” The Gospel according to John starts out “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God …” I am a special being created in the image of God, not just an animal engaged in a battle of survival. And you are a special being created in the image of God as well. I want you to know that you can believe this message of Jesus that starts in the book of Genesis.
      As far as being “big,” I am 5’ 4” tall. As far as being “white,” because I believe the Bible, I believe there is only one race – the human race. Because we are all descendents of Noah and his wife, we are all part of the same human family. As far as being a man, well yes, I am a man. The Bible says that God “created them male and female.” I happen to be one of the males. Somebody has to be. As far as suffering fear, I have had some. Twenty days after getting married, we found out that my wife had total kidney failure. As far as my feelings about children, my wife and I were very happy to finally have ours. I was almost 45 years old when my son Joshua was born. It took a long time because of my wife’s health issues. Her mother gave her a kidney. Then a number of years later, I gave her a kidney. That got my wife healthy enough so that she could go through a pregnancy. So we were elated to finally have Joshua. We would be very sad if we did not have him.


  3. Cowboy Bob,

    I just wish I had learned Dr. Lisle’s approach and started using it many years earlier. That is why I do what I do now and I wish more churches would realize the need for this and get on board.

  4. i felt very happy about this The Creation Club – the caption “Strategically offensive- Technically defensive” through Mr.Terry Read. Very and valid points you have given in this about Creation in Genesis and about Christ Yeshua (Jesus) presences in the beginning of creation. I do agree with you all for the points you raised. If we can read the Holy Scriptures with pure heart, you will understand the Creation of living God even now. Science & Technology might have grown, but divine God’s plan for mankind is unchanged and He is the same yesterday to and for ever. I am an Agricultural Science graduate, I have viewed the Genesis book the creation in Agricultural point of view and human survival on earth after Life was breathed in to Adam after creating all needed for mas survival. God created earth and heavens as per Gen.1 :1 and we now know what it contains, this was acknowledged by Nehemiah 9;6; — how waters separated from soils/ the earth and how the dry soil/earth appeared, where from the temperature came down the earth crest and gases and wind blows to fill the gaps between the earth and heavens ( atmosphere ) above earth and seas. How the waters came down and precipitated at the time of Flood in Noah time by living God. Secondly when God created Grasses and seeds giving plants and trees on 3rd day was just survived not produced seeds because of light created by God, but this light can not be used for Photosynthetic activity of plants hence God created the Sun, moon and stars on 4th day. Then the Photosynthetic activity started by absorbing unwanted gases from the atmosphere Co2 (Carbondioxide gas) graces and plants and trees produces Oxygen (O2) by using ground water the transpiration started through Plants & Graces of the earth by using Sun rays. Then man was created Man on 6th day, after life was breathed by Father, son and Holy Spirit (Trinity/Elohim) man was survived and started breathing on earth. Agricultural Farming started because of curse given to Adam and said was Sin he committed Gen 3:17,18. So, unless man do farming with lots of pains we do not have food to eat. Every man has to remember the living God where from & why this food we are eating and drinking the water? God and Science on this earth and universe is insuperable and true in all angeles to Praise Living God Yehowah. Amen…. Satyanandam Vuchula, CRRD, Vijayawada, India.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Satyanandam. You have a lovely way of describing some of what God could have been doing to prepare the earth for life. We need wise people to help us do the best we can with agriculture!
      Your thoughts on God’s light keeping the plants alive, but not flowering are worth pondering, but I can find no hint of God’s own light somehow being unable to fully support a plant’s needs. I would ask what you think would be going on at the other end of history when God tells us the new Jerusalem has no need of the sun and yet the Tree of Life growing there fruits each month (Revelation 22:2,5). Even our own artificial lights allow some plants to fruit well:

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