Summary: Preach a sermon that disproves something

Lesson Goal

Learn how to preach a sermon that disproves something.

Lesson Intro

In Matthew 12:1-14, Jesus presents a number of rebuttals to the Pharisees. What is a rebuttal? It is a counterargument to disprove the evidence supplied by another party. It is a process for establishing truth by revealing weak logic or uncovering lies. Proof may be in the eye of the beholder. Not everyone will be convinced by even the most logical of rebuttals.

Lesson Plan

We are going to discuss various kinds of fallacy which can be rebutted, the importance of researching logical fallacies, and a sample sermon rebutting a popular notion that can be useful in a church setting.

Lesson Body

5 Categories of Fallacy:

1. Fallacies of Structure

An argument contains three parts: cause, effect and rules for getting from one to the other. A violation of any of these three elements of structure is a bad argument.

2. Fallacies of Relevance

Any appeal to topics outside of the three parts of an argument is introducing an irrelevancy. A cause that does not produce the argued effect is irrelevant. A rule that does not have a direct line from cause to effect is irrelevant. An effect that is not from the argued cause is irrelevant.

3. Fallacies of Acceptability

Any argument that a reasonable person could not accept as logical is a fallacy. For example, wishful thinking is not proof that something will happen.

4. Fallacies of Insufficiency

When there is simply not enough evidence to draw a conclusion, the argument is weak.

5. Fallacies that Fail the Rebuttal Test

A good line of reasoning also tries to answer possible rebuttals. A bad argument leaves the door open. This is your opportunity to counter the argument. The only problem with this is that no one single sermon can close the door to all possible rebuttals. So, remember, when you are rebutting someone else's argument, you are most likely also leaving some doors open for your own sermon to be rebutted.

Presenting the Rebuttal

There are many examples of bad logic such as ad hoc, post hoc, ad hominem, equivocation, ambiguity, appeal to authority, anonymous authority, appeal to consequences, appeal to force, appeal to pity, appeal to popularity, appeal to emotion, appeal to ignorance, appeal to style, begging the question, burden of proof, cause and effect oversimplification, cause and effect reversal, deceptive emphasis, non sequitur, conjoined questions, fallacy of the exception, ignoring the evidence, excluding the evidence, the package deal, slippery slope, false analogy, false dichotomy, false deduction, hasty generalization, irrelevant conclusion, reduction to the absurd, the straw man, unrepresentative sample, vague terms and a host of other logical fallacies.

Go through the sermon on logic and see if you can find a logical fallacy that fits the criteria for rebutting the material. It is not an exhaustive list and there are many sources for studying logical fallacies. I recommend that any preacher worth his salt be familiar with good argument and logic, especially in today's anti-Christian and anti-orthodoxy rhetorical climate.

Example Sermon

Title: "Rebutting the Da Vinci Code"


To prove simply and in a few minutes that the popular book of fiction the Da Vinci Code is not serious history and not a threat to serious history of the Christian Church.


I have relatives and friends who have read the Da Vinci Code and now believe that Constantine was the first pope and that Jesus was secretly married. How do we answer such wild speculation?


Today will look at some of the major errors of a work of fiction that people everywhere are naïvely accepting as fact and compare them with the truth.


Biblical and historical scholars are unanimous that the Da Vinci Code does not even deserve the classification of historic novel, because its historical facts are most often not true. The Da Vinci Code is so full of errors that we could waste a lot of time listing them all. An internet search will easily satisfy those who need more details. Here are just a few of its many fabrications:

Brown claims that there is a field of study at Harvard called religious symbolology. False! There is no such department and symbolology is not even a word. This is deceptive.

The Louvre pyramid has 666 glass panes. False! There are 673. This is a deception, a factual error.

Tarot was designed to pass on secrets banned by the Church. False! It was originally just a card game and tarot meant trump. Tarot cards were not associated with the occult until the 18th century. This is ignoring the evidence to the contrary.

Mona Lisa is an anagram of two pagan goddesses. False! It means Lady Lisa the wife of a silk merchant. This is excluding the evidence to the contrary.

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