Context matters. I can go though Ronald Reagan's speeches, find a single line or or two, and spin it to make him look like a full-blown Marxist. I can likewise cherry-pick a line or two from Obama's speeches, and spin it in such a way that makes Obama sound like a right-wing nut-job. Of course, context matters.
Be wary of people who only want to debate a single verse or two, a single quote or two, and don't want to examine the larger context. Be especially wary if they are putting a spin on it that you haven't heard before and with which you don't agree.
More recently, I have been challenged by a lady on Twitter over my support of self-defense. I've no idea if she is an atheist or just a liberal Christian. She tweeted a couple of Bible verses at me to "prove" to me that true Christians are supposed to be pacifists. She believes in the concept of absolute pacifism, that any use of aggression, force, or violence is wrong under all circumstances, even self-defense or the defense of others.
The scriptures she tweeted me were, of course, out-of-context, and she didn't/wouldn't discuss or even acknowledge verses that are problematic to her position. She also wouldn't discuss Jesus' own use of aggression and force (see John 2:13-16), when He made a whip and used it against the money-changers, overturning tables, scattering money, and driving the money-changers from the Temple.
The assumption she was making, and why I say she believes in absolute pacifism, is that there is no difference between self-defense and unprovoked force; that by promoting self-defense, I am guilty of promoting violence. Of course, there is a big difference between self-defense and unprovoked force. Instead of debating her, I pointed her to my article on Biblical self-defense, and this website's Official Statement on Self-Defense. I seriously doubt if she read them.
- Context matters. Don't feel the need to defend out-of-context verses or quotes.
- Only you define what you believe. Don't let the person you are debateing define your postions for you. You only need to defend your actual positions, not the spin they put on your positions.