Who Are You To Say?

One rejoinder that I sometimes come across is the old question, "Who are you to say . . . ?" For example, when I say that Jesus is the only Son of God, they may respond, "Who are you to say Jesus was really the Son of God?" If I say, "Jesus died for your sins," they may respond "who are you to say that Jesus died for my sins?"

What's interesting is that I readily admit that I am no one to say. I am just a Christian -- among millions of other Christians -- who trust in God for many reasons. Of course, they really know that. The challenge "who are you to say?" is truly and simply an effort to discredit my views on the basis that I have no authority from which to speak. It is much like a person turning and saying "Who died and left you God?" This really isn't a response, but an effort to dismiss what I am saying by questioning me.

Let me make a suggestion of a response. If you are trying to tell others something about Christianity, and especially Jesus, such as how Jesus is the only way to the Father, and someone confronts you with "wWo are you to say that Jesus is the only way?" you can respond, "Me? I'm no one. But Jesus, you must admit, is one of the most influential people in history and He's the one who said He's the only way."

Of course, such a statement will almost certainly lead to a question of the reliability of the Biblical texts, but if you are familiar with those evidence for the traditional attribution of the Gospels to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, you can make a case for the accuracy of what Jesus said. But regardless, it will have moved the discussion off of whether you have the authority to speak about these things (which you aren't claiming) to the truth of the claim made by Jesus himself.


Chad said…
Good thoughts. Another rejoinder I hear often is \\\"Well, nobody really knows.\\\" This one is tricky because its attempt is obviously to discredit what you have to say on some issue (namely some issue the person is unfamiliar or uncomfortable with), but it comes under the guise of some sort of noble skepticism. In response to this one I usually just ask why they think nobody knows and/or provide several established facts everyone knows and build my case from there.
That is a good response to a common arguement that we often hear. Chad, I like your approach to because asking questions then puts them on the defensive and gives you a chance to formulate a response.

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