Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. - 2Timothy 2: 23-26 (ESV)
God is always speaking to me first when it comes to writing devotionals. The same should be for anyone preaching. The only issue is if we are listening because the trap is to always assume this fantastic Word is for someone else. Even though it inevitably is, because we know His Word does not return void, it is foolish to not be introspective and see what God is saying to us as well. The moment we become unteachable is the moment we stop listening to God. It is difficult to write about discernment this much and not be criticized frequently. To point out false doctrine and error and not have people constantly throw it back on you. I try to say what I feel Paul would say. Of these I am the least. I am an imperfect vessel trying to explain the perfection of Christ. As my pastor says, dirt talking to dirt. Any insight I have comes from the Lord. Any biblical understanding comes from the Lord. At the end of the day though we are human and imperfect. One such area God is constantly trying to work on in me is the need to seemingly be willing to debate everyone, everywhere.
My motives might be pure but that is irrelevant. My desire is for people to come to the knowledge of the truth and come out from under the deception they are under. As so often in Christianity, we seem to like doing the job of the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit that draws, not me. With the ever expanding role of social media, we see that everyone who can put a halfway coherent thought together has a blog. Facebook has been the undisputed home of Monday morning quarterbacking for over a decade now and shows no signs of slowing down. The result is everyone is ready to argue at the drop of a hat, even in Christian circles. I had such an experience today. It was with an obvious Joseph Prince acolyte although he pretended he had never heard of him. Everything was hyper grace antinomianism. That means that he is an adherent of the false theology that the grace of God renders the law as meaningless in the life of a believer. I should have known better because these conversations always go the same way because the antinomian does not even listen to what is being offered to him. He merely regurgitates every scripture that has the word "grace" in it and pretends that any disagreement is a spirit of legalism. It becomes very frustrating as you craft well thought out scriptural responses only to have them glossed over for the next grace verse. When the dust settled and I was sitting down to write God led me to the key verses so He could deal with me on this. What does God say about this dynamic of arguing, even about important spiritual matters?
First off we are to have nothing to do with foolish and ignorant controversies for they lead to quarrels. The world likes to sell the notion that everything is in shades of gray. That there are no wrong opinions. I have even heard the heretical notion that there are no wrong bible verse interpretations. That is utter nonsense. The revealed Word of God is black and white beloved. There are no shades of gray. There is right and wrong. Black and white. Wise and foolish. Correct and ignorant. Well what does that mean preacher? It means we are supposed to rise above the pettiness of argument. That we are to discern when dealing with something or someone who is coming from a place of foolishness or ignorance. When we see we are dealing with someone who dismisses the law of God from the lives of believers for example we state the truth and walk away because we know the breeding of a quarrel will only follow. Quarrels inevitably confuse those who are watching or listening. They may start out with best intentions but the heart is wickedly deceptive beloved and if we were to be honest, it ends up being about our pride. About having to have the last word. About having to prove our point. The truth is that God does not need us to defend Him just to preach Him.
For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. - 1Corinthians 2: 2-5 (ESV)
Nothing but the Gospel. When we find ourselves in arguments however it becomes so much more difficult to not end up resting in the wisdom of men. The next thing we see from the key verses is a reminder that we are in fact the Lord's servant. Our actions and words are supposed to serve God! We are not supposed to be a free agent or some uncontrollable wild card! We are supposed to behave as if we remember who it is that we serve. Just in case we get confused, God provides a definition for what being a Lord's servant entails when it comes to dealing with the foolish and ignorant people our flesh wants to argue with. This definition has five parts for us to consider. The first is that we are not to be quarrelsome by nature. That means we understand that dealing with the foolish and ignorant will lead to quarrels if we do not behave as a servant of the Lord. We must not have a nature that desires the quarrel. That seeks the disagreement out.
Don't answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you will become as foolish as they are. Be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools, or they will become wise in their own estimation. - Proverbs 26: 4-5 (NLT)