Some universities teach critical thinking as a course. When one university required it, I taught the course many times and had a great time with it.
The exact components vary, but the courses include logical fallacies and how to refute them. We would have sessions where I warned them, "I will use logical fallacies against you, so be prepared to refute them."
One learning team made a claim. I asked, "Are you from Mesa?" because I knew they were. "Yes." I said, "That explains everything" in a condescending voice. Of course, that was completely irrelevant, but they erupted.
We had many episodes like that, and they began to see how to detect fallacies and counter them.
Examining the Issues
The most difficult problem to address is an inability to examine all sides of an issue. Simply declaring a position is not enough. One learning team jumped from using alternative fuels to showing the oceans dried up. I asked, "Have you considered the energy required to dry up the oceans and where that moisture would go?" They had not.
| This is wrong, because most clergy processions|
are dominated by UOJ Stormtroopers.
Actual Research - Beyond Wikipedia
I teach all my classes to go beyond Wikipedia to find actual academic sources. One trick is to add "Harvard" to any Google search. That results in a page of sources connected with Harvard. Otherwise most searches start with Wikipedia, and some papers are verbatim from Wikipedia - without citations.
A Harvard result is just as easy as a Wikipedia result, but one has a lot more credibility - whether it is good material or not. Subordinate to that, I helped them use Wikipedia's footnotes to find good sources. Didja know that Evita Peron wrote an autobiography? I did not until I read the footnotes in the Wickedpedia article about her. I usually say "Wickedpedia" to make them know that I know they are using it.
Primary sources are seldom valued by readers or writers, but those are the foundation for making a case about anything.
In Theology Today - Critical Thinking and the Lack Thereof
Arguments in favor of Universal Salvation without Faith - UOJ - rest securely on a false appeal to authority. A careful reading of their arguments and responses show that they go back to certain authorities and raise those people above the Scriptures (the ruling norm) and the Book of Concord (the ruled norm).
The Otten-Cascione-SpenerQuest gang cannot imagine Walther being wrong about anything. With that as a starting point, they find UOJ under every rock. All discussions must end with them top dogging about who can say the most ridiculous thing, such as "Everyone in Hell is a guilt-free saint," which is the position of WELS-ELS today.
Therefore, they give up the real authority for all Christians - the Scriptures - in favor of a political trick, to line up with those who will promote a career or (they hope) will not doom it.
Clearly, Jay Webber has argued for the defenestration of Rolf Preus (fellow alumnus and ELS member) and Paul Rydecki (in fellowship with him), smirking and gloating over his imaginary power. But as they say, "Any jackass can kick down a structure. Few can actually build one."
The threat of force - either physical (like Wayne Mueller wanting to get his hands on the one who leaked his lies to me) or monetary (threatening to fire or excommunicate) - is a logical fallacy.
Luther faced the threat of death and expected to be martyred when he married Katherine, years after the official start of the Reformation. Surrendering to Rome because of danger was NOT part of his agenda, which makes it doubly tragic that Lutheran clergy and laity fear the synodical authorities. That is worse than the threats.
Another version of the threat of force is bribery. Giving someone a promotion for backstabbing and toxic gossip yields the same result as capitulation from a threat to fire or excommunicate. Kincaid Smith and Jay Webber are highly valued agents of destruction in the Little Sect on the Prairie. They got the WELS and ELS to be in fellowship with DeJaynes' Lutheran Confessional Synod (sic). Or - "by their fruits ye shall know them."
The LCA offered me a cool job to quiet me. I laughed at them.
Examining the Issues
Seminary education is really quite shallow, especially at party schools like Mordor (Wisconsin Church Growth Seminary). Conformity is valued above all else, so the LCMS seminaries teach men - "Cooperate to graduate." If someone fails his vicarage year, he is not eligible to graduate and does not have an MDiv degree. The LCMS does not allow do-overs for the vicarage year. If you are looking for a Gollum, start there.
The UOJ Stormtroopers are sterling examples of men who never examine issues. Some - like Rolf Preus - repeat the same declarations decade after decade, even when taking credit for editing a book that explodes those supposed verities.
As I am teaching my New Testament Greek class studying the Gospel of John - "If we know the Fourth Gospel, phrase by phrase, we will not be fooled by those who imagine that John 1:29 is UOJ."
Examining the issues means knowing the other arguments better than the proponents. A good Lutheran pastor can teach a class in Roman Catholic doctrine, Calvinism, or UOJ. The beginning of a good refutation is knowing the sources and heroes of the wrong position.
Nota bene - note well - the UOJ Stormtroopers never go beyond ignorant name-calling. For them, Justification by Faith is "Calvinism" and also "Decision Theology," when those two categories are opposed to each other.
| Jay Webber claimed Luther taught Objective Justification|
and even mentioned Luther's Galatians in his diatribe against the Gospel.
But he never dealt with this or any other citation from the book.