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Friday, November 04, 2005

How can you believe that???

My previous post revived the ongoing debate between the doctrines of Calvinism and various doctrines of free will. While I was certain we would finally resolve the issues we may still need to revisit a few of the finer points. Toward that end I thought I would offer an opinion of friendly debate that might prove helpful. (grin)

First, do you really want to know?
The art of friendly debate is a valuable and scriptural method for resolving many of the differences that arise among believers. While it is often difficult and makes extraordinary emotional and mental demands on those participating, the rewards that come from “much disputing” far exceed the cost. All this is not to say that a debate is the answer for everyone or every dispute and there is always a risk of offense for those that do, yet too many today prefer the easy way out and attempt to manipulate and intimidate those who differ with their own understanding. They decide to ignore or drown out the voice of another rather than participate in an honest, loving and open debate. Rejection and ridicule are their tools of choice and judgment is heaped on the offender. This should never be among brethren yet today it is far too familiar to see one brother verbally lashing another because of their differing views. Even though mental agility might well win some argument, to use it improperly can, not only cause division but, lead to deceit and destruction for all involved.

Second, don’t get caught in a trap!
A trap that is easy to fall in pertains to what we might honestly consider to be righteous indignation. This usually amounts to nothing more than an unrealistic expectation on our part. One of the surest ways to fail in debate is to cause anger by showing disrespect toward the opinion of another or by becoming angry as the result of an unrealistic expectation that our opponent should always agree with our argument or reasoning. We might believe that we’re purging the temple when in truth we’re usurping the Spirit of God. We need to purge our own temple of false expectation and the assumption we know everything. We should accept the possibility that even our understanding of the matter isn’t full. Without this attitude there’s is no room for debate and we’re better off to remain silent after sharing our understanding. If questions remain, they will be asked. We don’t have the right or responsibility to force someone else to “see the truth” and we don’t win when we prove someone wrong. This is not a forum for apologetics. We win when our love for one another leads to understanding, not necessarily agreement.

Third, prepare to meet thy maker!
A friendly debate can be difficult work and as is the case with any work we should be prepared. This is no time to be faint of heart or thin of skin. Scriptural debate most certainly requires scripture but more it requires a great amount of love. We should never attempt to debate when we’re tired or angry and our consideration is to our self. A profitable debate requires consideration, compassion and understanding for our opponent. Above all we should learn to always love and respect our brethren as children of the living God. We should pray and seek God’s guidance in all we do and say, remembering that we must account to God for every word from our mouth.

Note: The author wishes to acknowledge his own inabilities while offering his sincere gratitude for those graciously patient enough to abide them. ;-)

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2 Comments:

Blogger Kristi said...

Good reminders, Kc!

11/06/2005 07:12:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Thanks Kristi. I had intended to do this post even before the previous one with an emphasis on the idea that our anger in these matters is righteous indignation. I see this as one of the most divisive problems in the Church, meaning the expectation that everyone should believe what I believe. I think to have the same mind doesn’t mean that we must agree in our understanding, only our attitude.

11/08/2005 02:09:00 AM  

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