Most of us know someone who is a “know-it-all” or we’ve played the part of a “know-it-all” ourselves. “Know-it-alls” are usually not the best examples of or spokespersons for the Christian faith since their mouths and minds get in the way of the truth. (As an aside, Reformed circles have their share of “know-it-alls”!) Os Guinness explains:
‘He just doesn’t let up. Arguing with him is like running into a bulldozer or being thrown onto a wall of razor blades. He is arguing for the Christian faith, but he’d be the same if he argued for atheism, a political party or football club. Regardless of the points at stake, he’s simply got to be right and to have the last word.’ That damning comment came from someone breaking away in disgust from the discussion group in which the Christian student was waxing more dogmatic than either eloquent or loving.
…The two features the apostle Peter urges us to display when we give an answer for the hope that is in us are ‘gentleness’ and ‘respect’ (1 Pet. 3:15 ESV). But we probably all know Christians who are anything but gentle and respectful, people who for one reason or another are incurable smart alecks or have a mountain-sized ego that devours the oxygen in any room they enter. Little though they realize it, the more they open their mouths, the more they discredit their cause. It is difficult to be around people who always have to be right.
“They are frankly a pain in the neck, and when we behave like that as Christian apologists, we betray our Lord. We not only contradict the ‘grace and truth’ and the ‘grace upon grace’ with wich Jesus presented the gospel, but we present ourselves as a flat-out contradiction of everything we are saying (Jn. 1:14, 16). Jesus said that his followers were to be ‘fishers of men,’ so it is people, not arguments, that we should be winning.”
Covenant Presbyterian Church, Hammond WI