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ceedub
Member



Joined: 2009/5/1
Posts: 215
Canada

 Is debate divisive?

There was recently a post blocked with this statement....

Quote:
I can 100% verify to you brothers and sisters Jesus does not want us to be arguing about calvinism or arminism which are terms not found in the bible. Do a search through the new testament on debating, strife, sects, divisions, this all amounted to carnality in God's eyes.



As I'm assured that this brother doesn't hold himself infallible, nor would he oppose a listener trying to follow the Berean example, could I humbly disagree and dispute the 100% certainty that God opposes debate concerning the gospel, and which system of thought confirms or rejects it.

It's not needed here to debate either side, but rather to point out two things,

1) Debate over doctrine is never wrong when the intent is to defend the true teachings of the bible.

2) Debate is not divisive in the context of the previous quote.

Paul said that wisdom from above is first 'pure', then 'peaceable'. Peace doesn't come first, sound doctrine does. Peace is a product of pure wisdom, not the means to achieve it.

That Paul spent much time debating in the synagogues as well as defending the faith in Galatia is no secret. Paul's most passionate rebukes came to those that would corrupt the gospel, to which he issued anathemas.

Divisiveness is trying to start fights, break up unity and arguing from a position based, offensive style. It is not defending the faith, as Paul urged Timothy to do.

One of the reasons the church is in such a mess today is because the art of debate has been villianized in the church itself, hence the near disappearance of those who can rightly divide the word of God.

I think we could rather be assured, that if it comes to question the importance of debating the truth of the gospel, it would be more accurate to say that Jesus is never pleased with those that would turn to silence when the gospel is attacked.

I heard this said once..

Silence is golden. But sometimes it is just yellow.


When I look back at church history, there are too many men of God that felt it was of utmost importance to debate and defend the faith as good soldiers, shutting the mouths of naysayers.

If we will not stand up and defend it, who will Jesus use?

I agree that name-calling and arguments over church carpet are less than fruitful.

But not the great debate over the gospel.

Quote:
1 Cor 1:12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.



As Paul clearly shows, to say that we are of Christ if we are using that to cause the same divisions that arose between those that followed Paul and Apollos, there is no difference. This debate is not about Calvin or Jacobus, it is about their interpretation of the gospel. It is about knowing Christ and ourselves aright.

Debate is a good thing.

And though the terms Calvinism and Arminianism aren't found in scripture, neither is 'theistic evolution', 'deism', 'agnosticism', etc. and I assume the church has been right in debating these controversies as well.

My only problem with debate is when people unlearned in the topic engage in debate. If we are not familiar with both sides then we should be learning before arguing.

Debate over doctrine is good.

If the church is to keep itself free of hyper calvinism and other equally dangerous errors, it will need to do so in the arena of conflict through debate.

When God's people are convinced that the gospel is not worth debating over, revival will be an impossibility.

Did God look on Paul as carnal for debating the gospel and what it really meant? I don't believe He did.


Does he disapprove of devouring one another in the process? I'd say yes.


2Tim 4:1-8

 2009/7/13 14:34Profile
PaulWest
Member



Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
Dallas, Texas

 Re: Is debate divisive?

I understand much of what you are saying, but you must remember that you are a guest here and the hosts' guidelines are that you refrain from stirring up this ancient debate. If you do a quick search of the SermonIndex archives you will find a plethora of these threads, already hotly debated over the years...and you will find the vast majority of them degenerating into ugly maelstroms and being subsequently locked. So, to answer this thread's question: yes, the Cal/Arm debate [i]is[/i] divisive, especially when stirred up in a forum with believers of all different maturity levels.

This is why SermonIndex is not a battlefield to wage Cal/Arm camp warfare. There are other Christian forums on the net for that purpose. I have my own personal beliefs (also reformed), but I do not bring them here for the sake of polemics. I know what I believe and I am content to have fellowship with brethren of another camp; I can break bread and offer my arm in fellowship to any brother or sister who marches beneath the banner of Christ, regardless of their "spiritual ethnicity", as it were. Note, I am not saying you are guilty of this, however, this seems to be the sad, inevitable result of engaging this type of debate in an open forum.

The Lord has seen fit in the past not to join any one side, and so neither do I. He moved over John Wesley, and he moved over George Whitefield. This was because both men were enlisted in Christ, even though they differed on the more "hard to understand" points of scripture. Whatever your affiliation may be, it is not worth inciting debate and disrupting precious fellowship. Any threads that begin pointing to a specific side of a camp will be locked.

Thank you, and please pray about what our host brother Greg said.

Respectfully yours,

Paul


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Paul Frederick West

 2009/7/13 14:58Profile
hmmhmm
Member



Joined: 2006/1/31
Posts: 4991
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 Re:

some food for thought, it is interesting the word of God put debate in this context, there may be a great difference between debate and debate, but when read in this passage it should make us evaluate twice before entering into one.

Rom 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Rom 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, [b]debate[/b], deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Rom 1:30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Rom 1:31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Rom 1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.


also the last verse, saying they know the judgments of God who do all these things, among one was debate. Does anyone consider some debates as evil is all the rest listed in this passage?

it seems to be....

it is the same word in the greek translted here strife...


Gal 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
Gal 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, [b]strife[/b], seditions, heresies,
Gal 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.


so these are words that should make us take very serius about entering into a debate, if we know it has the capability of stirring up strife and all the rest, division etc, these are the works of the flesh, this is an eyeopener too me, i ask for more grace i could be more gracius in my conversations, and chose them more visely, i have noticed in scripture how often the doctrinally correct pharisees had "smart" arguments and tried with them win a debate against the Lord, but what wisdom he had in avoiding "foolish" talk and just get right down to the heart of the matter, sometimes answering with a question and other things.

Anyway, some debates are of the flesh, born from natural man, even tho they speak "spiritual" things, all debates the pharises had with the Lord was about spiritual things so to say, yet many of them was "against" the Lord Jesus, so I beilive much of our debates can be of the flesh, much can be against the Lord himself, how some might wonder? when the Lord appered to saul from tarsus, he asked why are you persecuting [b]me[/b]?" not his church.... so i think the divition some debates cause, the strife it stirrs up, the contention between brethren, the produsing of spiritual pride... it all is against the Lord himself somehow, and that is why it is in the same category as lust, murder, adultery, fornication,Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath.... and the most interesting is, many debates are against "heresies" so to speak,, but yet debate are just as a serious sin as heresies, since it is in the same list.... so the ones burning to debate against heresies, are in their debating doing just as a great sin as those who hold the heresy.

Of course some debate is necessary, we se many men in the word debating, but i think the line between "debating" with fear of God and with his wisdom to our flesh is very "thin and transparent so we mostly do not even see it when we step over it. May the Lord open my eyes more to see the evil in some debating.

God bless


_________________
CHRISTIAN

 2009/7/13 15:43Profile









 Re:

Very good admonition brother PaulWest. I've seen and heard too much discussion on the Cal/Arm debate, to which there is no end and it's stupid to even talk about it, because it does gender strife. I have found that those who are contentious about this subject love the LORD less and has no use for his neighbour who does not know the LORD.

 2009/7/13 18:21
ceedub
Member



Joined: 2009/5/1
Posts: 215
Canada

 Re:

Quote:
I've seen and heard too much discussion on the Cal/Arm debate, to which there is no end and it's stupid to even talk about it, because it does gender strife. I have found that those who are contentious about this subject love the LORD less and has no use for his neighbour who does not know the LORD.



Well, I guess if I avoid debate, and point out that those that do seek to find the truth are 'stupid', 'love God less' and 'have no use for his neighbour', then I will be more loving and Christlike than those 'debators', thus avoiding any kind of strife.

But thanks Paul for the explanation. I hear what you're saying and can see why you'd like to avoid the topic here on this forum. I did not say what I did to abuse the privelage of being able to post here, only to call into question if God really does view the debates of Calvin, Arminius, Spurgeon, Wesley, Toplady, Edwards, Bunyan etc as carnal, as was stated.

My point of contention was that it was stated that God sees doctrinal debate over soteriology as 100% certainly carnal and wrong.

Very strong words in speaking for the Lord there.

There was a debate that the Pharisees conducted, but it is readily apparent that they were trying to trap the Lord and resist His practice and doctrine. That is something worlds away from debating doctrine with a sincere conscience while seeking the truth and to defend it. The two cannot be compared in any more than term itself.

The Pharisees were wrong because they sought to resist the truth, Paul was right because he sought to reveal and defend it. They both 'debated'. But with very different motives.

Debate can be used to silence the truth or to reveal it.

I felt those were very harsh words to the great men of faith in the church's history on both sides that have deemed it most worthy of their time and effort.

But I respect Sermonindex's wishes to not talk about the doctrine of salvation here as it is explained by either side. Or is that allowed as long as one avoids the 'terms' and 'camps' that usually accompany it?

(please excuse my ignorance if this rule has already been laid out)

 2009/7/13 19:05Profile
PaulWest
Member



Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
Dallas, Texas

 Re:

Quote:
But I respect Sermonindex's wishes to not talk about the doctrine of salvation here as it is explained by either side. Or is that allowed as long as one avoids the 'terms' and 'camps' that usually accompany it?


Good question. You are free to post sermons from any speaker, be it John Calvin or Jakob Arminius, and you are free to discuss them. We can talk about Wesley or Whitefield, Spurgeon or Fletcher, Pink or Booth. Everyone is welcome here; "discussing" in detail about what they teach or preach is fine...and encouraged!

Where we run into trouble is when the edifying "discussions" suddenly morph into polemic warfare. This happens very quickly, and when it does, the thread is immediately polarized. This factional mindset will then spread like a cancer and begin to infect other threads as well. The way to avoid this is to always remember where you are, and that you are a guest here, and that our host brother Greg has expressed that these topics be avoided in order to keep the interdenominational peace that SermonIndex is committed to.

You are welcome to engage each other in PM's if you so chose, if this can be done amicably. There is a way to disagree in love, and still hold each other in the utmost repect and genuine Christian humility. We ask that everyone who uses these forums beseech the Lord to learn of this humility and charity when dealing with others whom we may not see theologically eye-to-eye with.

God bless you.


_________________
Paul Frederick West

 2009/7/13 19:29Profile
sermonindex
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Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 37186
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

Online!
 Re:

Also it should be added that people who come to sermonindex with a agenda to propagate a certain type or facet of teaching are not welcome. This is not a open pulpit but rather a place to serve others, edify and encourage others on the pilgrim way.

I would actually discourage this open door of PM's for people to propagate Calvinistic teachings to others. I have had many complaints personally of border-line harassment of posting strong articles to others in PM's trying to convert their "thinking" to that of reformed. "amicably" but alas even that when it is not to edify and encourage but rather to make others like yourself is dangerous.

I personally don't care if someone is calvinist or not. Do you live for Christ in your daily walk? Are you witnessing and praying for souls? Is Christ daily speaking with you? Are you an embodiment of God's loves to others in this earth? With all of our knowing is there doing?

Is Christ in you!


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2009/7/13 19:40Profile
roadsign
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Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


 Re:

Quote:
Debate over doctrine is never wrong when the intent is to defend the true teachings of the bible.



This rather emphatic proposition needs to be tempered with a great deal of humility and honest self-evaluation! Let’s remember that a lot of pride can be submerged under our fine sounding confidence in defending the “truth”.

To pick up a debate on this Calv/Arm issue as boldly as is happening here on SI is a bit like picking up a bat and entering the big leagues - believing you are fit for the challenge. If the most brilliant theologians have been challenged and have not resolved it, who are any of us to think we can do better!

It is better to sacrifice such a “passion for ‘truth” on the alter, and let God teach truth – not about some debated doctrine ‘out there”, but about ‘self’ in the innermost place of the heart – which in the long run is what is what God is most concerned about at this point.

I am convinced that debates can teach us a lot about ourselves - if we are willing to evaluate our manner of conversation, our ability to be sensitive to others who are partaking, and if we allow debates to strenghten our love for one another.

Debates are destructive when we objectify people, and start seeing them as an argument to be conquored rather than people to be loved.

Diane


_________________
Diane

 2009/7/13 19:55Profile









 Re:

Quote:
Well, I guess if I avoid debate, and point out that those that do seek to find the truth are 'stupid'

Whoa, back up there. I didn't say you were stupid, I said, "talking about it is stupid" big difference.

 2009/7/13 20:02
PaulWest
Member



Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
Dallas, Texas

 Re:

Quote:
I would actually discourage this open door of PM's for people to propagate Calvinistic teachings to others. I have had many complaints personally of border-line harassment of posting strong articles to others in PM's trying to convert their "thinking" to that of reformed.


Sorry brother, I wasn't aware of this. Agendas, in any form (be it openly or PM), should be avoided, I totally agree.


_________________
Paul Frederick West

 2009/7/13 20:05Profile





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