I have concluded, after years of field research what the 8 most dangerous words in the English language are. They are more provocative than any profanity-laden outburst, they cut sharper than any knife. These 8 words will send both sinners and saints into a panic-filled tailspin. These 8 words can stop an argument, silence a critic, and completely change the course of the evening. These 8 words will make a grown man backpedal. These 8 words have been known to cause embarrassment, stammering, flustering, and even anger. These 8 words can open eyes and clear hearts. The 8 words are ‘Can you show me that from the Bible?”
I have opinions, and so do you. I have standards and theories, and so do you. At any point in my telling you my opinion or theory, all you have to ask is “Can you show me that from the Bible?” I either can or I can’t. It’s either there or it’s not. If it’s not, I have to admit that what I have is simply an opinion, or a silly tradition, or a conviction gained through osmosis. None of those things are bad in and of themselves, but the Bible says in Psalm 138:2 that God has elevated his word above his own name. So all of our opinions or whims or fancies must be subject to what the Bible actually says.
For example, if somebody believed that Sunday worship was the mark of the beast, all I need to say is “Can you show me that from the Bible?” Now, regardless of whether they can or not, that at least gives us some frame of reference to determine whether the thing they are espousing has any substance to it. If somebody said that you had to speak in an unknown tongue to be saved, I would ask them “Can you show me that from the Bible?” If somebody believed that they were obligated, under penalty of chastening, to give a certain percentage of their income, I would throw out those eight words and see where they go from there.
Recently I was conversing with a lady, and she was stridently against the sodomite agenda in America, as am I. She was going on and on about the hazard they present to a nation, and then she made a statement that was frankly, ludicrous. I won’t even repeat it here because it was such an insane opinion. I employed my best manners and politely asked “Can you show me that from the Bible?”. Her response was that she shouldn’t have to; it was common sense. “That’s fine, but can you show me that from the Bible?” It took her a few minutes, but she eventually yielded that she could not build a case from scripture for her position. Having established that, I then told her “if you can build a case from scripture we have something to talk about, but otherwise it’s just your opinion.” I then explained to her, from scripture, my position. I didn’t win an argument because there was no argument to win. I just wanted her to have a n appreciation for how easy it is to believe something with nothing more than our own passions to back it up.
I use this same tactic out during street work. When a drunk says “You aint supposed to be out here preaching to us” I ask them where that is in the Bible, handing them my Bible. After they either flatly reject any attempt to find it or stumble around for a few minutes, I show them the scriptures where I am supposed to be out there preaching to them. Now, this hardly changes their mind, and it doesn’t make them any more fond of my ministry, but at least we’ve established that my activities have their authority in the word of God. Otherwise it’s just my opinion versus your opinion. As I told a fellow once , “You may not believe the Bible, but at least you’ll know what it says when you leave”.
What’s really interesting is when you deploy the 8 dangerous words, and they have a response. One guy one afternoon believed all sorts of odd things, but he knew where the verses to explain his beliefs. He had taken those verses out of context, and omitted a word or two to make them match his theology, but at least he knew where to find them, and that gave us some ground to talk to him a bit. I have dear friends who have a radically different understanding of some future events than I do. I’ve showed them why I think the way I do, and they have showed me why they think what they do. We’ve agreed to disagree, but at least we’re not just hurling opinions at each other. At least our defense isn’t, “well a preacher told me once..” or “well my church teaches..”. At the risk of sounding harsh, I could not care less what you were taught. I don’t care if your denomination has done it that way for 200 years. I don’t care what your opinion is, and neither should you care what mine is. What I care about and what you should care about is “Can you show me that from the Bible?” Everything else is just noise.