“Unless . . . .”

around arrows 2

After quoting William Booth (1829 – 1916), the founder of the Salvation Army . . . .

When asked about the dangers facing the Christian church, Booth replied, “I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God and heaven without hell.”

Alistair Begg then states . . . .

“We now live in a culture that has embraced essentiall “religion without God” . . . unless you want to call the earth God . . . which of course many do.” 

I heard Begg make that comment, and said to myself – “That’s good . . . . That is a good way to characterize those who worship the creation rather than the Creator.  It captures the reality that we live in a world which has put a value on the creation which is higher than the One Who created all.”


However, we cannot only think, we can think about our thinking.  I can not only be mentally caught by what was said and how it was said, but I can quantify Begg’s method or technique, which I will call . . . .


. . . . and if I grasp what Begg did, I am able to use it yet another way, in many different ways and/or in very different contexts.

Let me give it a try . . . .

{ I’m going to use this rhetorical technique concerning the topic of “The Church” Ephesians 3 and/or 4:11-16 — Notice that my attempt need not be related to a passage, topic, or biblical concept that is in any way close to the original example or purpose  – per Alistair Begg’s usage!  That is what makes “topoi” so valuable — if you do not know what “topoi” is – go back to the first blog post and get the first 25 pages.}

Okay . . . . her goes  – off the very top of my mind ! . . .

“The church was not meant to be a place which entertained unless you are seeking to fill your church with lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.

The church was not meant to be a place which featured the world’s musical styles unless you are seeking to have your pews filled with those who minds are controlled by this world’s lyrics.

The church is not meant to be a place which makes people more comfortable with their lifestyles unless you are seeking to build your membership role with people who continue to live unholy lives or worse yet, even lost.”  — Ted Martens

What we need to be able to do is listen to a speaker and not only hear the point they are seeking to make, but also analytically quantify what they are doing so that we can “delineate and replicate” the methodology or technique.  When we do that, we can then take the “That’s good!” and use it to add content, meat, impact, and/or attentiveness to what we are saying.

As you can see, in no way does how we use the technique have to be related in content to what the original speaker was addressing.  In but a minute or two we can quantify or delineate a rhetorical methodology or technique and apply it to something we are addressing, something completely different.  We are coming to understand the possible ways to frame an idea.

By thinking about methodology, we learn how to add body/meat to the basic bones of our message or lesson.  The better you grasp this concept of “topoi,” and the more you use it, the easier it gets.  We come to understand the possible ways to frame an idea and our ideas.


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