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hmmhmm
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Joined: 2006/1/31
Posts: 4991
Sweden

 Re: Is debate divisive?

Paul here warns Timothy to withdraw from those who corrupted the doctrine of Christ, and made it the subject off strife, debate, and controversy: If any man teach otherwise (1Ti_6:3-5), do not preach practically, do not teach and exhort that which is for the promoting of serious godliness - if he will not consent to wholesome words, words that have a direct tendency to heal the soul - if he will not consent to these, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ. Observe, We are not required to consent to any words as wholesome words except the words of our Lord Jesus Christ; but to those we must give our unfeigned assent and consent, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness. Observe, The doctrine of our Lord Jesus is a doctrine according to godliness; it has a direct tendency to make people godly. But he that does not consent to the words of Christ is proud (1Ti_6:4) and contentious, ignorant, and does a great deal of mischief to the church, knowing nothing. Observe, Commonly those are most proud who know least; for with all their knowledge they do not know themselves. - But doting about questions. Those who fall off from the plain practical doctrines of Christianity fall in with controversies, which eat out the life and power of religion; they dote about questions and strifes of words, which do a great deal of mischief in the church, are the occasion of envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings. When men are not content with the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the doctrine which is according to godliness, but will frame notions of their own and impose them, and that too in their own words, which man's wisdom teaches, and not in the words which the Holy Ghost teaches (1Co_2:13), they sow the seeds of all mischief in the church. Hence come perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds (1Ti_6:5), disputes that are all subtlety, and no solidity. Observe, Men of corrupt minds are destitute of the truth. The reason why men's minds are corrupt is because they do not stick to the truth as it is in Jesus: supposing that gain is godliness, making religion truckle to their secular interest. From such as these Timothy is warned to withdraw himself. We observe, 1. The words of our Lord Jesus Christ are wholesome words, they are the fittest to prevent or heal the church's wounds, as well as to heal a wounded conscience; for Christ has the tongue of the learned, to speak a word in season to him that is weary, Isa_50:4. The words of Christ are the best to prevent ruptures in the church; for none who profess faith in him will dispute the aptness or authority of his words who is their Lord and teacher, and it has never gone well with the church since the words of men have claimed a regard equal to his words, and in some cases a much greater. 2. Whoever teaches otherwise, and does not consent to these wholesome words, he is proud, knowing nothing; for pride and ignorance commonly go together. 3. Paul sets a brand only on those who consent not to the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the doctrine which is according to godliness; they are proud, knowing nothing: other words more wholesome he knew not. 4. We learn the sad effects of doting about questions and strifes of words; of such doting about questions comes envy, strife, evil surmisings, and perverse disputings; when men leave the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus Christ, they will never agree in other words, either of their own or other men's invention, but will perpetually wrangle and quarrel about them; and this will produce envy, when they see the words of others preferred to those they have adopted for their own; and this will be attended with jealousies and suspicions of one another, called here evil surmisings; then they will proceed to perverse disputings. 5. Such persons as are given to perverse disputings appear to be men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth; especially such as act in this manner for the sake of gain, which is all their godliness, supposing gain to be godliness, contrary to the apostle's judgment, who reckoned godliness great gain. 6. Good ministers and Christians will withdraw themselves from such. “Come out from among them, my people, and be ye separate,” says the Lord: from such withdraw thyself.


from MHC


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CHRISTIAN

 2009/7/17 13:04Profile
ceedub
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Joined: 2009/5/1
Posts: 215
Canada

 Re:

I'm no expert on the Whitefield/Wesley debate, but I have read that when Whitefield came to America, Jonathan Edwards encouraged Whitefield to stop taking such a lax attitude towards the doctrines at stake, but rather defend them more fervently, to which, it seems, Whitefield responded.

Similar to the debate between Wesley and Toplady, in which Wesley was caught distributing tracts that he signed with Toplady's initials. Wesley saw it as very important, as did Toplady, but there were errors in the methods used at times.

It's not either/or.

We are called to be FULL of GRACE AND TRUTH. Full of both at all times. Not 60/40. That's impossible (being full of both) if truth must be sacrificed to be gracious on the doctrines of the gospel, the most important one.

In past eras, the church has chosen, as a whole, to opt for doctrinal precision over gracious interactions, it seems, to a fault. Today, it is the opposite.

Sound doctrine will not be tolerated in the church in the last days. I think we're in those last days today.

We need balance. Not the kind that labels doctrinal purity with every negative connotation it can find, but balance that holds to doctrinal truth, and can yet still love those that disagree or have not found it yet.

We can be gracious and truthfull at the same time, even while refusing to compromise the great doctrinal truths.

That is not easy, but it is our calling.

 2009/7/17 13:05Profile
hmmhmm
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Joined: 2006/1/31
Posts: 4991
Sweden

 Re:

Amen


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CHRISTIAN

 2009/7/17 13:10Profile
ceedub
Member



Joined: 2009/5/1
Posts: 215
Canada

 Re:

I heard a pastor, years ago, respond to the statement that 'all division is wrong'.

His response was that division caused by man's petty differences or selfish ambitions, most definitely were.

But he followed with the statement that divisions that come from God obviously aren't.

As one posted on this thread, the words of Jesus are sound and to be followed. He said he didn't come to bring peace, but a sword.

Barnes...

Verse 34. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not {w} to send peace, but a sword.

Vers. 34-36. Think not that I am come, etc. This is taken from #Mic 7:6. Christ did not here mean to say that the object of his coming was to produce discord and contention, for he was the Prince of peace, #Isa 9:6 11:6 Lu 2:14; but he means to say that such would be one of the effects of his coming. One part of a family that was opposed to him, would set themselves against those who believed in him. The wickedness of men, and not the religion of the gospel, is the cause of this hostility. It is unnecessary to say that no prophecy has been more strikingly fulfilled; and it will continue to be fulfilled, till all unite in obeying his commandments. Then his religion will produce universal peace.
But a sword. The sword is an instrument of death, and to send a sword is the same as to produce hostility and war.




He also said we would be recognized as disciples by our love for one another in Jhn 13.

I would have to say that those who are calling for unmitigated unity while in these last days, whether with the world, or within the church, are at worst naive and at best over-optimistic.

I believe we should strive for it with all our might, but be prepared for far less until every knee has bowed.

And again, I believe that God will raise up men ready to stand in the gap against the perpetual onslaught of attacks against the work Christ did on the cross.

And He will also raise up men who's calling is to go out and evangelize.

I hope that through these threads it can be seen that those gifted with the evangelization part of the great commission, as well as those gifted with the 'teaching the commandments/discipling' part, can instead of discounting each other, encourage each other to fulfill their callings with all zeal and power.

 2009/7/17 19:10Profile
ginnyrose
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Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7470
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 Re: Is debate divisive?

Yes.

If both participants earnestly believe what they are promoting and they are at odds with each other, it is divisive.

ginnyrose


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Sandra Miller

 2009/7/17 20:48Profile
InTheLight
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Joined: 2003/7/31
Posts: 2736
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 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”.



Diane makes an excellent point here. Honest self-evaluation before we post is greatly needed. I have fallen many times into the trap of spiritual pride under the guise of defending the "truth".

I have been challenged to consider that I can get very passionate about the truth, even willing to lay down my life defending the truth; but I am rarely so passionate about a brother in Christ that I am willing to lay down my life for that brother and yet this is Christ's injunction to me.

[i]This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.[/i]
(John 15:12-13)


In Christ,

Ron


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Ron Halverson

 2009/7/17 21:20Profile
ceedub
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Joined: 2009/5/1
Posts: 215
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 Re:

ginnyrose said...

Quote:
If both participants earnestly believe what they are promoting and they are at odds with each other, it is divisive.



Then the question is, is this a division from God or man?

If both men believe they are correct in which carpet should go in the church foyer and they split over it, that's a division of man.

But if a brother in your congregation begins to teach and spread the doctrine that Jesus death doesn't save you but rather your continued obedience is what God is looking for to procure your salvation, what do we say?

No Debating Here! That's divisive! Get busy doing more godly things! It'll all be okay!

Is that what God's people do? God forbid.

I readily acknowledge that many people don't like confrontation or debate, and that's fine. But let's not fool ourselves into thinking that God doesn't call on some of his people to stand up and defend sound doctrine.

And of course it goes without saying that it needs to be done in a godly manner. But when Jesus told the Pharisees that every convert they made was twice the son of hell that they were, I think he gave us one of many examples of how he feels about religious people that corrupt the truth.

There is no blanket answer concerning debate. It is not as simple as 'always right' or 'always wrong'.

Wisdom is crying out in the streets. We should listen.

 2009/7/17 21:53Profile
broclint
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Joined: 2006/8/1
Posts: 370
West Monroe, LA

 Re:

I believe our moderators are correct in limiting debate in this specific area and have felt so [url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=21790&forum=35&9]from early on[/url], not because of the inability to debate the doctrines, but due to the fact that there is so very obviously a convinced "I am right and you need to hear me" position (hence the desire to continue the debate) to which many others would counter, and it has been for all these years on SI counterproductive. No telling how many megabytes of storage is already here on the subject, and no telling how many people have come and gone from the site, or at least from the forums from sheer exhaustion from seeing yet another cock fight of matching wits, from a convinced person who has the "right doctrine" to assure the rest of the uninformed or mislead or whatever, rest of us. The moderator is right, and if he were not right, it is still his site, and our privilege to come here. Cyberspace is open for multitudes of new websites to convince an audience without using this one for our own agendas.

The Christlikeness of submission… submission, without that humility what is all the debate of doctrine?

And the lack of submission, what is that but the epitome of pride and its president?

BTW good to see Roadsign (Diane) back on the forums. :-)

Clint


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Clint Thornton

 2009/7/17 23:51Profile
AbideinHim
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Joined: 2006/11/26
Posts: 3493
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 Re:

In light of the following scriptures Romans 12:16, 1Corinthians 1:10, and Philippians 4:2, we are admonished in the Word of God to be of the same mind.

The Greek word for debate is the same word that is used for strife, contention, and variance.

The Word admonishes us that the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle to all men. Strife is a work of the flesh, and the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian belivers and said "For ye are yet carnal: for whereas [there is] among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?" (1Corinthians 3:3).

I don't see any basis in the Word of God for debates. We should not be reading the Word to try to prove our own opinions.

This does not mean that we are to compromise or water down the truth. The Word says that we are to "earnestly contend for the faith." (Jude 1:3).

(Ephesians 4:15) says that we are to speak the truth in love.

(Ephesians 4:3) says that we are to endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Mike



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Mike

 2009/7/18 3:59Profile
roadsign
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Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


 Re:

Quote:
I don't see any basis in the Word of God for debates. We should not be reading the Word to try to prove our own opinions.



I see truths in both of these two comments, and I think they deserve more processing. After all, it’s not merely a case of “Is debate biblically right or wrong?” but “What is a mature way of wrestling through discordant ideas?” To avoid debate or rather, to impose that on everyone else is just as suicidal as being divisive. That is merely a knee-jerk reaction to our fear, disguised under the name of “tolerance”.

Here I will post an article by R. Nicole which aims to teach us how to handle polemic debate. I posted it in March 2008 and the thread was soon locked. Why? Not because this article instigates division. Quite the contrary! It was because a few posters failed to read it in its entirety, and instead reacted strongly to a few words they saw in it. Quite possibly they responded out of past experience, fear, bitterness, or self-righteousness,ignorance or impatience. To be honest, I’ve made a huge number of premature and false judgments over the years. God keeps on using those humiliating moments to help me learn about myself and knock me down a few notches. (which is NOT a bad outcome of debate!)

I am convinced that if we exercised the cautions and lessons Nicole proposes, we would not see threads locked! When it comes to polemic issues, we really must submit ourselves to rigorous mental and spiritual homework - and that can take a l-o-n-g time.

This is a long article. I propose that if we can’t get through it, then polemic debates may be beyond our range. If we are unqualified, it would be best to remain silent and learn from more prepared Christians – and be like Mary, sitting at the teacher’s feet.

May God bless you as you read this:


[url=http://www.founders.org/journal/fj33/article3.html]Polemic Theology: How to Deal with Those who differ from us[/url] By Roger Nicole


Diane


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Diane

 2009/7/18 10:38Profile





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