Insisting that ‘serious dialogue (is) not a dialogue of phoney tolerance’, G C Berkouwer cites the words of the Marxist writer, M. Machovec, who said ‘that if there was to be dialogue he wanted an opponent who would really try to convert him’ (A Half Century of Theology, p. 188, emphasis and brackets mine).
Berkouwer is calling Christians to take seriously what the critics are saying. He is also insisting that they must not allow their Christian position to collapse like a pack of cards the moment it is challenged by unbelieving objections. He is emphasizing that there are certain non-negotiables in our presentation of the Gospel, beyond which interpretation becomes denial. In the work of apologetics, where emphasis is placed on the clear presentation of an argument, it should be recognized that the Christian’s ultimate goal is not the winning of an argument but the winning of people to faith in Jesus Christ.

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