John 15:20 and Modus Tollens

For millennia, logicians have recognized a number of basic argument forms that are inherently valid based on their structure.
According to the form called Modus Tollens (‘by way of taking out’),

If p, then q.
Not q.
Therefore, not p.

Or to put it in a clear example,
‘If I am in the shower, I will be wet.
I am not wet.
Therefore, I must not be in the shower.’

In the middle of John 15:20, the Lord gives a simple conditional statement which makes for a perfect example of the first premise in such an argument.
“If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you,” says Jesus.

If we follow this out and apply Modus Tollens to it, it would read:
If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you.
They are not persecuting you.
Therefore, they did not persecute Me.

In other words, if the world does not have a problem with us, it must not have a problem with our Jesus.

But clearly, the Jesus of John’s gospel was persecuted. The world definitely had a problem with Him. So it forces me to ask:
If the world does not have a problem with us, could it be that we are not showing it the same Jesus that John shows?


4 thoughts on “John 15:20 and Modus Tollens

  1. Actually, I do. And I know that it is only going to increase in the months and years ahead. But in a lot of ways, it could be said that the difficult times that are now approaching signal the end of a long period in this country wherein we have had it very easy in this regard. And why have we had it so easy? Well, the thing I mentioned in this post may be one of the biggest reasons.
    Although, to be honest, a few days after I posted this, I already began to have other thoughts that mitigated it. Your question is raises one of those things. But also, the text allows for the friendly treatment of Christians too, though it is clearly not the main thrust of the Lord’s words. He says, “If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.” It would seem that He is expecting that, at least some of the time, the world will receive Him and us in a more positive way. But then again, the kind of friendliness I am referring to in this post is not the kind that could accurately be described as the world “keeping our word.”
    Good to hear from you, Brother!

  2. I think the bigger issue your dancing around is that people have tried to remove the conversation of God. All in the name of TOLERANCE. Some one who hates God is closer to God than someone who ignores Him. At least that person aknowleges Him.

  3. Agreed. In fact, in our recent sermon series on John’s gospel, I made a similar point. Many people in our culture like to think of themselves as politely indifferent to Jesus Christ. They consider themselves neither hostile to Him nor owing anything to Him. But that is probably the greatest insult of all to the God who created us and loved us enough to die for us.
    Good to hear from you, Brother!

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