The Columbo Tactic: Diplomacy Rather than D-Day (Greg Koukl)

In this lecture, Greg Koukl explains “the Columbo Tactic,” which the Stand to Reason website describes as follows:

"Using simple, leading questions is an almost effortless way to introduce spiritual topics to a conversation without seeming abrupt. At STR we call this the ‘Columbo’ tactic, named after the bumbling and seemingly inept TV detective whose remarkable success was based on an innocent query: ‘Do you mind if I ask you a question?’

‘Columbo’ is most powerful if you have a game plan for the conversation. Generally when I ask a question I have a goal in mind. I’m alerted to some weakness, flaw, or contradiction in another’s view that I want to expose in a disarming way.

Other times the question is an open-ended ‘What do you mean by that?’ delivered in a mild, genuinely inquisitive fashion. The general topic can be anything broadly related to spiritual things. Then begin to probe with questions, gently guiding the conversation in a more spiritually productive direction.

The follow-up question, ‘How did you come to that conclusion?,’ graciously assumes the non-Christian has reasons for her view and is not just emoting. It gives her a chance to express her rationale (if she has one), giving you more material to work with.

Occasionally someone will quip, ‘I don’t have any reasons; I just believe it,’ to which I ask, ‘Why would you believe something when you have no reason to think it’s true?’ This is a genuine—and very appropriate—question. And it’s simple.

You may not always have an answer, but you can always ask a question, especially a well-placed one.

That’s the value of the Columbo tactic."

So if abortion is “murder”…a “pro-lifer” would want it outlawed, then the strongest means necessary to prevent it, then punishing a woman who self-induces an abortion on the same level as a person who murders any born human being, right?

See questions like that are where Greg Kouki would go “Wait, let me ask YOU a question”…because if he answers that? He either admits he does NOT think abortion is “just like murder”…OR he’d have to endorse a Taliban-like state where fertile women are monitored either at state or national border crossings…to make sure they didn’t “kidnap their baby and kill it in a pro-choice State or other country”.

I like this guy but he talks so fking much before getting to the god damn point

My only question (and I concede I probably should read the book) is, when would the conversation steer toward sharing my beliefs after asking the questions, “what do you mean,” and “how did you come to that conclusion?” It seems there has to be a point where evangelization includes sharing one’s own beliefs, not just questioning those of the other person. At what point do we lead by example?

I have Greg’s book, “Tactics,” I highly recommend it. Have a good day!

Well, unless you can explain why there is so much suffering in the world and why a 5 year old child suffers and dies from cancer, you’re never going to convince the majority of the people that there is a loving God. There is an answer to those questions, but you Christians don’t really know it.

I walk up to people on the streets and say, can I ask you the million dollar question, if you died today, heaven or hell. With their answer I am straight into a witness encounter. always looking to get the full gospel message out after usi g the law to bring the knowledge of Sin

This dreary little yap fest delivered to the converted would only be interesting if it was given to a room full of non-believers.

Thank you David. I have bought ‘Tactics’ and have learned much. Just switching to Rock in the shoe from closing the deal has already yielded fruit. God bless!

Great stuff, very informative and pragmatic. Thank you very much for posting it. God bless.

My favorite!!!

The Word tells us one plants the seed and another waters but only God gives the growth.

Gardening! :slight_smile:

What do you mean?
How did you come to that concussion?
Have you ever considered?

Ain’t this the same guy who Logicked chewed up and spat out?

I love Greg.

The Socratic method for babies.

Christians believe a bare naked lady listened to a chatty snake then lunched on an apple and got us Origin Sin. Got proof? Bring me a talking snake!

I tried this with a guy online, all he did was try to throw his knowledge at me. It works for people who are open and not completely rude or egotistical. I held my ground though, even though I have not much experience.

Reads ‘Columbo’

Clicks immediately

Jesus is a myth. And this slime bag is just trying to get into your bank account folks.
Gardener my foot. He wants to grow human vegetables. Con man pure and simple.