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Republican CNBC debate lessons: be ready always to give an answer

Last week’s Republican presidential debate on CNBC was the most watched program in the network’s 30-year history.

But the high ratings weren’t the rusult of reasons any network would like to claim.

The debate drew a lot of criticism from both Democrats and Republicans for the moderators’ bias, interruption of the candidates, “gotcha” questions—questions designed to entrap the candidates— and overall poor control.

In the following days, the Republican National Committee wrote a letter to the chairman of NBC News.

The letter announced the suspension of its debate contract, placing the next planned debate with the network in February on hold “pending further discussion.”

Most of the media coverage after the debate has centered on the drama, rather than the candidates or any of the political policy issues that were raised.

The 2016 GOP candidates were not the first to face biased questions.

The Gospel of Mark tells the story of the Pharisees who tried to do the same to Jesus. “And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words…. And when they were come, they say unto him, ‘Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?’” (Mark 12:13-14)

Jesus knew that the Jewish leaders were trying to catch Him in His speech and get Him to discredit Himself.

However, He wisely used the situation to further the Gospel: “’Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ And they marveled at him.” (Mark 20:17)

Unlike the Republican National Committee, Jesus did not forcibly “suspend a contract” and refuse to answer those who were questioning Him.

Instead, He provided us with an example of how to respond when we are attacked for our beliefs.

He showed wisdom by looking beyond the obvious bait and at the true, hidden motive of the Pharisees.

He didn’t even call out the Pharisees’ tactic, but answered respectfully, honestly and above reproach.   

When we are faced with “gotcha” questions about our faith, we should not fight back or get angry.

Instead, we should view it as an opportunity to live out our beliefs before the world, “[being] ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” (I Peter 3:15)

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Republican CNBC debate lessons: be ready always to give an answer