CHURCH OF CHRIST: A Lesson on The Trump Card Fallacy and The Obvious Fallacy


If you have ever debated with hard-line Church of Christ members you are probably aware that many of them will resort to using some very fallacious tactics in defending their truth claims. One ex-Church of Christ writer from the site correctly claims…

The Church of Christ denomination uses four main tactics in debating their pet doctrines. These tactics are generally used by all cultic groups. They are:

1. Change the subject
2. Take scripture out of context
3. Straw man arguments
4. Ad hominem attacks (attacking you instead of the issue)

The way to counter these tactics is very simple: Stay on the subject until you are allowed to make your point!

But these are not the only unscrupulous and fallacious debate tactics that they will use to try and shut down the debate and make it appear to some that they have won the debate and their claims are true. I will call the two fallacious debate tactics I will be highlighting in this article the Trump Card Fallacy and the Obvious Fallacy. First we will look at the more simplistic fallacy of the Obvious fallacy.


What is an Obvious Fallacy? James W. Sire in his book “Scripture Twisting: 20 Ways the Cults Misread the Bible” list the Obvious Fallacy as the 15th way Cults misread the Bible. On page 99 he says….

Interpretation of some bible text requires great study. Even then, honest scholars are uncertain and disagree with each other. Yet we frequently find cult writers drawing conclusions with great ease and expecting us to follow their lead. The impression that the interpreter wants to give is that the case is closed. His view is the obvious one.

Words like OBVIOUSLY, UNDOUBTEDLY, CERTAINLY, ALL REASONABLE PEOPLE HOLD THAT and so forth are substituted for logical reasons. The reason this writing and debate tactic is a fallacy is that it is not true that something is obvious unless it is obvious to everyone. Just because someone says something is obvious does not make it true, even if they sincerely believe it is obvious to them. And this in itself, I believe, is a form of what I call the Trump Card Fallacy. It is used to not only to stifle conversation and debate but is a blatant attempt to end all discussion and debate. GAME OVER, THEY WIN.


What is a Trump Card fallacy? Like the Obvious Fallacy it is a means to try and shut down conversation and it also further enables their cognitive dissonance. We will look at an example of what I mean by a Trump Card and then I will explain why it is a logical fallacy.


A trump card is anything that is like CHECK-MATE, GAME OVER and CASE CLOSED. For example if your debating someone and they say “God told me to tell you your wrong”, what can you say to that other than “if God told you that then why did he not tell me”. Notice that my interaction here with Keven might as well be over because his mind is closed and his thinking has become authoritarian and fallacious. In his mind he is the authority and there is no possible way he could be wrong and everything thing he says is straight from God and His word,, not from Deven and his opinion of Gods word because he speaks “in accordance with the Bible” while others are merely speaking their opinion or feelings. What else can you say to someone who says they do not state their feelings, theology, philosophy or opinion – other than to respond as I did, “according to your opinion”.

Here is why this kind of statement is Trump Card and a logical fallacy, it is purely a subjective statement (based on feelings or opinions rather than facts and could be said by anybody about anyone to try and shut down debate. When these tactics are used we must point out their fallacious thinking, if not for their benefit, then for others who may be reading the exchange. These tactics do indeed mean the debate is over, but it is the ones who use such fallacious thinking that have lost. And that is not just opinion, it is a fact, whether they themselves and others can see it or not. The debate is over because they have quit debating and resorted to a Trump Card.

About Damon Whitsell

Hello, my name is Damon. I have been studying Christian Cults since 1985 and doing Cult Apologetics online since 1998 because I grew up with Mormons, Oneness Pentecostals and Bible Missionaries in my family. All three of these groups (or Cults) think they are the One True Church and the Only True Christians and to be Saved you must join their Church. So as a result I started studying the Bible for myself to try to determine which of these groups had the truth. After much praying, reading and studying I decided the Mormon, Oneness Pentecostal and Bible Missionarie churches are not real Christian Churches at all, rather they are Christian Cults because they do not line up with what the bible really teaches about Salvation and they are not in agreement with other Essential Christian Doctrines. I found that according to what the Word of God teaches, and Historic/Orthodox Christian Teaching, Salvation cannot be earned by any form of human works or efforts I found that Salvation is ALL by the Grace and Work of God and that Salvation and Eternal Life are a Free Gift from God (Ephesians 2:8, Romans 6:23, John 3:16) to all who will Trust in Jesus Christ and the atoning sacrifice He made for us by dying on the Cross for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2). The Word of God is clear and plainly says “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Because I know what it is like to be targeted by Cult Groups and to suffer from the spirtual confusion and frustration brought on by their false teachings, I have endeavored to help others find True Eternal Life in Jesus Christ and to break free from the clutches of, and to be healed from the damage done by, Cult Groups who claim to be the One True Church. So it is my hope and prayer that the Lord will use my Websites to help those that need help and that some who use my websites will be helped by them to find the Free Gift of God’s Salvation, that is only found in His only begotten son Jesus Christ.

Posted on September 16, 2015, in Debate Tactics, Debates, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I am following this blog. I talk with a hardliner at work and he has his pet scriptures he uses just like a JW. Even down to what does the bible say about music in the church. I tell him when he has a bad day to sing accapella since he likes it so much. Repent and be baptized is his mantra but the stress is on the baptism because without it your sins are not washed away. Very dogmatic individual with this and I often see the rage in his eyes if you don’t agree. It becomes a religious spirit. I often ask him if Jesus was that angry with people with the Gospel. Only with the religious elite.


    • Thank you for following this blog and giving your comment here. I wish you the best in your interactions with your co-worker. But be careful, that rage is real. Just yesterday in a CoC Facebook group I was told I must be mentally ill, was called Satan, a minister of Satan and was told I would not get to see their pearls because I am a swine. WHY, just because I stated I am not CoC and asked who in the group could call me brother and who could not. Ask your freind if he can call you brother and if he thinks you are saved,, he is likely to go through the roof though because that question gets down to the bottom of the issues with them, with them every word, though and deed revolves around them being the only true Christians and the one true church. If he is really a hardliner he will never call you a brother in Christ because your simply not in “Christ church” and you are simply not saved unless you join them.


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