Avoid Foolish and Ignorant Disputes

Question from a Site Viewer

Should Christians argue about theology?

I have been so frustrated with my reactions to a brother in Christ and his constant arguing over theology and doctrine. It has been as though he is deliberately throwing out arguments (e.g., the Bible is not the inherent word of God, Jesus is the Word of God; if Jesus didn’t demonstrate it, it is not true Christianity) to cause strife in the name of bringing forth truth. I have tried not to engage in it but it vexed me and I just can’t help myself. I understand what this brother is trying to do but feel it is not in a spirit of love. Anyway, I found “Should Christians Argue About Theology” and it provided me with a solid, scriptural answer. Thank you.

Tim’s Answer

I am often reminded of 2 Timothy 2:14 and those who battle about with words to no profit, but to the ruin of the hearers. And later in 2 Timothy 2:23-24 that we are told to avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife and the servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all. A Scriptural debate is rarely successful either from a practical point of winning the argument or from a spiritual point of bringing the Spirit to bear on the situation. It sometimes makes us feel good about defending our faith, but rarely do debates accomplish the work of God. Thus, we do not find Jesus or the apostles getting into extended debates about theological matters. They taught those who would hear and let those who would not hear go their own way. In Acts 28:23-38, Paul, after presenting the gospel, rather than continuing an argument with the Jews, rather told them that he was turning to the Gentiles and they would listen. Those who do not want to hear are never forced to hear. But we can and should continue to pray for them.

a pilgrim,

ignorant disputes