NECAC Debate: Three Strikes at Brown University

John C. Rankin

In the mid-1980s I was addressing a debate at Brown University, as director of the New England Christian Action Council (NECAC). During the audience participation, a young woman posed me some of the most thoughtful questions I have ever received, from her politically “pro-choice” perspective.

After the debate, she approached me and said, “You know, John, before I came in here tonight, I hated you, even though I had never met you. You’re a Christian, a man and pro-life.” As she said this, I thought to myself, Uh-oh, three strikes and you’re out.

She continued, “But you showed me more intelligence, respect and graciousness than any professor I’ve had in three years at Brown. Moreover, you posed to me questions I had never thought of before, and I just wanted to say thank you.” She paused, took a breath and a step back, then said, “But that’s not to say I’m converted yet!”

This is one of the most wonderful compliments I have ever received. This woman received a gift from me as a servant of the Gospel, and that gift was the freedom to ask questions.

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