Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Listen by paynehollow
Listen, a photo by paynehollow on Flickr.

A couple of posts back, I referenced some of the many biblical injunctions against "argumentativeness" and "divisiveness." I think it's a good thing to keep in our minds and so I'm repeating them here, as a post.

Given other biblical examples of Godly people (including, and especially, Jesus) debating/calling out others, I think we need to acknowledge its a balancing act of speaking truth when you fear others are in error (at least at times), and doing so strongly, and doing so in love respectfully, AND choosing NOT to do so when it's mere contentiousness.

The trick is knowing when its a GOOD "speaking of truth," and when it's a foolish "quarreling over words" and useless debate over opinions.

As I've stated, my main measure for such disagreements is actual, real-world harm. That seems to be a starting place. If someone is being HARMED by another's actions (or societal practices), then speaking out for "the least of these" - those being harmed - that seems to me to be the main biblical practice.

But for most of our disagreements over relatively harm-less opinions (I think it's okay to drink, she thinks not, he thinks it's okay to smoke, they think not, I think it's good to marry, they think not, I think the Trinity is the right way to think of God, she thinks not, etc, etc, etc), it can be okay to discuss these and offer our opinions, but I just am not convinced that it's anything to get riled up about or to spend TOO much energy in divisive, strife-ful dissension.

And so, I offer these passages for a reminder to keep our eyes on the important things and lighten up on the less important...

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.


A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.


Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.


If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.

~1 Corinthians

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.


For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?

1 Corinthians

Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.


Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.

~2 Corinthians

Ouch. "Those who do such things will NOT inherit the Kingdom of God." Now, THAT is a serious warning, one that I'm striving to take to heart. So, if in the future, I seem reluctant to argue too much with you, you'll know why.

1 comment:

John Farrier said...

"You may be as orthodox as the devil and as wicked." -- John Wesley