Keller on answering difficult questions

Keller on answering difficult questions

I was privileged to spend some time talking with Tim Keller after his recent university mission at oxford university. One of the best parts of the mission for me was the structure of the evening event.

20 minute talk – Tim Keller

5 minute student testimony

15 minutes questions – answered by Tim

10 minute wrap up – Tim Keller

This was for an evening evangelistic event and in some circles this would have been pretty radical / controversial as the only kind of talks that counts is 40 minute exposition. Interestingly the lunch time talks were more of a 35 minute exposition with very few questions.

I think answering questions ought to be more normal than it currently is for preachers – especially as we live in web2.0 kind of world – where people expect the right to reply and engage when listening / watching.

Tim is singularly brilliant at answering questions and so when I caught up with him after the event I asked him how someone could develop the skill of answering difficult questions.


What are your tips in becoming better at answering difficult questions?


3 thoughts on “Keller on answering difficult questions

  1. Graeme says:

    Prayer- for wisdom. Love. Humility. Respect. Sober-mindedness. Courage not to get drawn into an argument- Courage of your convictions. Knowledge of what you believe and faithfulness to it. Knowledge of what the other person believes. Listening. Asking for clarification when necessary, so that you don’t frustrate the other person by answering a different question from the one they asked. Engagement with the question as if you were two rams going head to head- not dilly dallying like a politician- That’s more transparent than people seem to realise. Finally, Keller alluded to this to suggest that it can’t be a gift. But I think there is such a gift; it’s not mentioned in any of the lists, but I would call it dialectical or fluid intelligence. It is related to, but not synonymous with experience. It is one of the manifestations of wisdom. The ability to think quickly over an unfamiliar question through the lens of what ones own beliefs are.

    That’s just a short stream-of-consciousness of what came to mind for me..

  2. Jon Kuhrt says:

    Keller’s confidence shines through the way he speaks and I am so pleased that he has such a growing influence. But his challenge is clear and simple: we need to be more battle-hardened. We need to be outside the church ghetto and be up for arguing and debating faith in sceptical environments rather than using up all the energy in internal churchy discussions.

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