Here are a few ways that you increase your chances of diminishing your influence in the marketplace of ideas.
1. Be imbalanced: Militantly focus on a particular non-essential issue. Whether it be in defense of a particular Bible translation or a particular view of the end times, make it your purpose to push for the necessity of accepting something that is not part of the historic Christian faith. Oh, and be passionately relentless about it.
2. Overstate your case: Always use phrases such as, “That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard” or, “Nothing could be clearer.” That way, your audience knows you have never really studied the issue. While your goal is to distance a false position from one that is true, you have really just separated yourself from having a true impact.
3. Misrepresent your opponents: Often called a “straw man argument,” this is the case in which you represent your opponent in the worst possible light, bringing up their worst arguments, thus making their point of view very easy to dismantle. Using this tactic indicates your fear of addressing your opponent’s actual position on an issue.
4. Obscure the options: Act as if your belief is the only viable option out there. Don’t ever let those under you know that there are others who disagree, or that other positions even exist. If you do, make it sound as if they are flat-earthers and preemptively poison the well, making them look really stupid.
5. Get defensive: When someone challenges you or criticizes your position, become militantly defensive or demeaning. Personally counterattack the individual who is challenging you. This is called an ad hominem (Latin for “to the man”). When you do this, you do not engage their arguments, but you become defensive and attack the person. Call the person a liar. Assert that he hasn’t merely come to an incorrect conclusion, but that he is, definitively, a liar.
6. Lack of grace: Surely, the Bible talks about gentleness and respect in defending your faith, but we can ignore that approach when the person holds to really bad doctrine. Respond immediately with the opposite of gentleness and grace: harshness and judgmentalism. It is the Christian thing to do. Act as if you are the way you are because of your own righteousness.
7. Be perpetually non-committal: Be in fear of what others will think. Be in fear of being offensive. Call it grace, call it tolerance, call it whatever, but don’t ever take any definite stand. In every situation be timid, walk on theological eggshells, and never, ever, ever act as if your view is the right view to the exclusion of others. Qualify everything you say with, “this is just my opinion” or, “to me…”
8. Define yourself by what you are against. Rejoice when someone goes astray, because now you have been provided with an unmistakable mission. Be an attack dog for God and the watchdog for the bride of Christ. Go on heresy hunts, ignoring your own failures; day and night, night and day, bring attention to the apostasy out there. Good news does not bring publicity, so focus exclusively on the bad. Has someone gone astray? Presto, you’re open for business!