The preacher shouted to his approving congregation, “Some people out there are ashamed of the truth. They don’t believe what I am telling you tonight.” At its core, I am sure he was partially correct. But there was another part that bothered me. His shouts were given to the most approving crowd possible. So there was zero risk in his declaration.
He had created what is often called a Straw Man fallacy. He made a caricature of the people who might oppose his words and then easily defeated them. He did not address the serious issues of the matter or offer well-reasoned arguments. His stand for truth was really more grandstanding.
For the Church to move forward in the name of Jesus, we need to be willing to address real people with complex issues with properly thought-through concepts. Then we must step out of the comfort of the Church and risk discussing our beliefs with people who do not agree or understand. When we do this, little affirmation will be given to our attempts, but real people will hear the gospel instead of us knocking down straw men.