Cross Examined, Part 11

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Samuel always made time for Paul when he returned from his visits, though he was primarily interested in just two things: debates and descriptions of the men that Paul met. Paul kept notes on both to have reliable answers. The debriefing this day proceeded like others until Paul came to the man in the house on Stageira Street.

After several minutes of increasingly agitated questions, Samuel slapped his desk and smiled broadly. “That’s who you should be talking to.”

“But he said that I ought not talk to him. He said he was an atheist.”

“That’s why you should be talking to him!” Samuel leaned forward and molded invisible clay with his big hands. “An atheist is someone we can work with. He’s apparently thought about this subject. He’s come to the wrong conclusion, to be sure, but he’s a thinker. Someone who refuses to think can be tougher to reach and isn’t much of a Christian if they do convert. But a thinker can make a true Christian soldier.”

Samuel smoothed his moustache. “From what you’ve said, this is what we’re looking for. A challenge, but not an impossible one. Imagine that you’ve been training in Reverend Hargrove’s Apologetics Field School, and converting this man is now the school’s final project. Make this your priority. Bring this man into the church, and I’ll have a new associate pastor.”

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