Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Importance of Linking

In my last post, “Theology is a Spider’s Web“, I discussed how all of theology is interconnected, much like how the strands in a web interweave. Because of these interconnections, it is possible and beneficial to write one Apologetics card that addresses several different Apologetics topics, helping to clarify each one through the lens of the others.

I ended by saying that in order to effectively utilize the ”web of theology” in-round, an Apologist must grasp one key aspect of this approach. That aspect is linking.

If used properly, the web-of-theology approach enlightens the judges’ understanding and enables them to better understand the Apologetics topic by examining it from different perspectives. If used poorly, the web-of-theology approach will leave judges scratching their heads and wondering why the speaking spent half of the time discussing things that didn’t even relate to the topic.

That’s where linking comes in. “Linking” simply means explaining to the judges how the various topics interrelate. Because you only choose one topic to speak on, if you’re going to take anything that could be considered a “detour” then you have to show the judges how it is relevant.

To illustrate this concept, here’s the linking element of one of my personal cards. I use this card for the topics on original sin, the sin nature, and the depravity of man. Notice how I explain to the judges why I’m taking a broader look at all three topics.

_____________

When Adam and Eve sinned, that sin caused all of their descendants to inherit three unwanted characteristics: original sin, a sin nature, and depravity.

I could focus in on just [topic]. However, it is quite difficult to gain a good understanding of [topic] without looking at the other two characteristics we have inherited from Adam.

So, to give a fuller picture and to help further your understanding, I am going to give a more general explanation which will include all three.

_____________

See how easy that is? Use linking properly, and you’ll be able to write fewer cards yet understand the topics more deeply than ever before.

Theology is a Spider’s Web

I remember coming across an enormous spider’s web a few months back. The intricacy of the web was simply astounding. Each strand of the web interwove with an uncountable number of other stands. A single strand of spider’s web is a marvelous thing–stronger than steel, lighter than a feather. Even so, no solitary strand would inspire as much wonder as the entire web did as it glistened with morning dew.

Theology is much like that spider’s web. All aspects of it interconnect with innumerable other theological topics. And while a single strand in glorious in and of itself, the wonder it produces is multiplied when we draw back and consider its place in the web as a whole.

This reality has profound application to competitive Apologetics speaking. While speaking on a solitary “strand” (topic) is perfectly acceptable, it is often beneficial to bring other strands to the judges’ attention in order to expand their understanding of and appreciation for the original strand.

In addition to benefiting the judges, this multi-strand system enables you to understand the connections within theology as well as lowers the number of Apologetics cards you need to write. It is in no way ethically questionable or dishonest to have one Apologetics card that addresses several different Apologetics topics, as long as those strands of theology are genuinely connected and help to elucidate one another.

That’s the fundamental idea of the Conceptual Organizational System. By organizing the 100+ official Apologetics topics into 25 concepts (which could just as easily be called “sections of the web of theology”), the system establishes the links between various theological topics, simultaneously reducing your workload and increasing your understanding.

To properly utilize the “web of theology” in-round, an Apologist must grasp one key aspect of this approach. I’ll identify and address that aspect in my next post.