There’s quite an argument going on in the comments of one of my previous posts.
I can’t tell you that I have been carefully monitoring it, eager to jump in with just the right “AHA!” that will prove how gloriously intelligent and inspired and above-all-else RIGHT I am.
If you believe that my salvation or yours hangs on being a perfect and omniscient blog moderator on all matters biblical and spiritual, then I am sorry to disappoint you, but certain I am not the first (nor will I be the last) to do so.
Hey, the argument isn’t even about what I posted.
But it does an en exceptionally good job of illustrating the point I had hoped to make.
Both of my beloved arguing brothers is utterly convinced that his interpretation of a number of scriptures supporting his point of view is so inarguably RIGHT and so self-evidently clear and so vitally crucial to the salvation of everyone on this planet that no one who disagrees with it can share in the fellowship of Christ.
The two points of view are different, so they cannot possibly agree and therefore one of them must be wrong and the other must be RIGHT.
The problem with that is that they can be different and still agree; and both could be right (at least to a degree) and both could be totally wrong (by being wrong in part).
And of course, since the nature of God is at issue, the probability of error is extremely high when one point of view is deemed to be wrong because with God nothing is impossible.
If we stuck to scripture without interpreting it, we would all agree that it says Jesus is the Christ and Son of God, who rewards those who diligently seek him, and the things that scripture says about Him are sufficient to lead anyone into a closer relationship with Him and into a life that reflects His glory and story.
But we all interpret. What happens when we start to believe that our interpretations are just as important as scripture – or perhaps even ARE scripture – is the fallacy of self above God, opinion above truth, creed above scripture, arrogance above humility, self-righteousness above grauce, RIGHTness above righteousness, winning above loving.
That is when we fall into the seductive snare of the argument.
And you rarely if ever see anyone emerge victorious by winning a soul over to God’s side … though perhaps you might sometimes see someone who has cowed his adversary over to his own side.
Because we hardly ever argue about what God actually says, but over what we think we know that He meant.
Can good come of an argument?
Sure. When it’s pursued in love, humility and a recognition of the difference between truth and perception; God’s word and man’s doctrine. I think God knows we’re all different and perceive things differently — He did create us this way, after all — and He expects us to disagree and even argue.
I think He expects us to argue like believers, though — and not like those to whom His love is a foreign concept.
Healthy, respectful argument helps bring the Word alive in our minds and hearts, challenging us to dig deep, read, listen and respond in love.
Jesus, John says, came to us full of grace AND truth. Not one or the other, but both, and in perfect balance. He argued — and sometimes strongly, harshly — but He was and is the Son of God. We are not, save through His blood and His righteousness.
And the folks with whom He argued most reprovingly were the ones who were absolutely convinced of their own infallible RIGHTness.