Wise Witnesses # 4: The War of Words; The War of the Worldviews.
Fourth, in terms of how Cameron might have been wiser: he might have recognized his questioner was hostile, and played the game of verbal war more adeptly. A sterling model for engaging in a war of words can be found in Matthew 22. There, Jesus takes on foe after foe, all the while dodging bullets, and avoiding landmines.
Mt. 22.15: Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words.
Sound familiar? This is exactly what Morgan was trying to do to Cameron: entangle him in his words, and get him to fall on his face before the culture watchers.
Mt. 22.5ff: Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone's opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay axes to Caesar, or not?”
Notice, they even begin with the same kind of mock curiosity that Morgan began with. "Ain’t nothing changed but the year it is." How does Jesus respond? Not, at first, by answering their question. He refused to engage on their terms. Military strategists say that one of the keys to any battle is choosing the battlefield, and making sure you fight from a position of strength. Jesus refuses to let these men choose the battlefield. He won’t play the hand they tried to deal him. He won’t fight when/where they choose. Instead,
22:18, But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites?”
Jesus is aware of their malice (as Cameron should have been of Morgan’s), and he calls them on it with a confrontational question: "Why are are you trying to to test me?" He questions their question; he questions the motive behind their question. Jesus knows this is not a friendly q and a. These men are not interested in humble theological inquiry. So, Jesus exposes their corrupt hearts, and takes control of the conversation. This is a hard, but vital, lesson to learn. Some questions are insincere. Some men ask questions, not to seek truth, but to destroy it.
So, it might have been more effective for Cameron to address Morgan’s malicious heart with a searching question like, "Why are you trying to stir up controversy? What is your agenda here?" It would have put Morgan (instead of Cameron) on the defensive. It would have exposed Morgan’s insidious intent. It would have exposed Morgan, not Cameron, as the true bad guy.
Again, to reemphasize a point made above: we need to realize who we are speaking to. Some don’t approach us with sincere curiosity. As Paul warned, "Not all men have faith." Some approach us, not in friendship, but with knife in hand, looking for a break in our armor big enough to insert the blade. In such situations, we need to stay on guard, and confront malicious intent.
I know a preacher who, because of his speaking schedule around the country, gets asked lots of questions. Sometimes, he refuses to answer. This annoys people, and they reply, "Why can't you give me a good answer?" To which he responds, "As soon as you ask a good question, I'll give you a good answer."