How We Go About Disagreeing With Each Other Matters…Really.

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It is amazing to me how people will blast other Christians for things with so much anger, bitterness and venom…all clearly sinful attitudes and actions on display. We know what the Bible teaches on this,

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.” – 1 Tim 4:7

“But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.”Titus 3:9-11

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”John 13:34-35

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” – 2 Tim 3:1-5

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” – Gal 5:19-21

If the verses that I just cited don’t matter to you and you refuse to follow them, then how is the person you are condemning for “ignoring scripture” any worse than you are? How is it that anyone who claims to be a Christian could hold these attitudes and act like this in order to confront another Christian on something? Who gets a pass on these teachings?  I don’t get how we can set these teachings aside if someone is in enough error. That if you messed up on the BIG stuff then that justifies being attacked with sinful attitudes and unscriptural approaches. No, you are welcome to talk with someone and even correct someone who is in error (if you believe that to be the case). Here is the deal – The Bible tells us how to do that in Matthew 18 and it starts with going to someone privately first…not blasting it all over social media, slandering and attacking rather than first trying to have a private conversation about your reservations and indictments.

We all should know better than that by now. If you can’t treat someone as Jesus would…better cool down first and try again.

12 Responses

  1. Somehow an idea began and was perpetuated that said one’s opinion on every topic, regardless of how minor, had to be correct. This morphed into a condemnation to hell by the self proclaimed authority if one held the wrong opinion. Thus, an incorrect opinion must be corrected and the end justified the means.

    This has resulted in far too many people leaving churches, denominations, and Christianity because of varying opinions and different ideas.

  2. The works of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21 have 4 sins listed of a sexual nature, 2 that pertain to false religion, and 3 that relate to excess in behavior. There are, however, 8 listed that are sins of the disposition (including heresies, which is literally being factious or divisive and has more to do with one’s attitude than with holding a false teaching).

    That sounds as if God is more concerned with sins of the disposition than he is with sexual sins (such as fornication), false religion (idolatry), or excess (drunkenness & murder), though we must not infer that because God is more concerned with our dispositions that those other sins are of little consequence. They are – but in our zeal for condemning one set of sins, we must not overlook what the Lord put as the highest consequence: Love for God and our neighbor, which are virtues of the disposition and heart.

    Of course, these works of the flesh are listed shortly after Paul had written “But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!” (5:15).

    Great post, Matt!

  3. Thank you for this post, Matt.

    All of the socio-political unrest — and the internet slack-tivism that’s resulted — is gonna bring me out of blog hibernation next week. I have something to say on this topic.

  4. Matt,
    Sounds like you need to cool off a bit before blasting on social media about those YOU disagree with. Your slandering and indictment of those who have criticized others inappropriately (in your opinion) puts you in the same camp as those you are criticizing.

    This irony seems to be ever-present in evangelical circles.

    1. I did tell one brother he was proof texting and he said that he was and that was exactly how we are to interpret scripture and find our authority. I checked to make sure I was really understanding him. He said I was understanding him. Then he closed comments.

      On Adam’s blog, I pointed out a few words in Greek and invited people to investigate it. I told them I loved them, and I do.

      On one Facebook group, I have been most vocal and, if you know me, you would know none of the things I said were in anger. I was getting to the point and I never slandered anyone in that, that I am aware of. I asked someone a direct question that they didn’t answer and that is ok. I think it is ok to ask questions. We discussed that in a friendly manner. I know those people personally with a few exceptions. That is about the scope of what I can recall. Help me if I am missing something. If I have done something inappropriate I will certainly apologize to whoever I need to apologize to.

    2. Caleb, I don’t want to belabor the point but I want to ask you one more time then I will let it drop whether or not you have found any place where I have slandered someone. My memory is not perfect and my attitude is not always 100% right so help me out here. What am I missing? If you know something I said please put it out there. If I don’t hear back I will assume everything is alright. Thanks for taking the time to come here and express your concerns. I really do appreciate that. God bless you in your studies as you seek to be more and more like Jesus.

  5. Matt, I essentially agree with the points you are making, but I think you need to be realistic, for even Jesus had limits to his patience. According to the gospel-writer John, it would appear that Jesus almost certainly went up to Jerusalem each year for the Passover. On at least one occasion [e.g. John 2: 13-16] he totally lost patience with the money-changers and venders of sacrificial animals because they had turned the holy precincts of the outer temple into a good facsimile of a common street-market, preying on people’s acts of devotion and sacrifice (required by lawful religious observation) in order to boost their profit margins. He made a whip, overturned their tables, and drove them and their animals out of the temple. The problems seem to be that some people are too intransigent for reasoned ethical argument, and some issues are too important to take a rain-check on (even in love).

    1. Better to start with an ideal and work out from there than to just go in fists swinging, “no holds barred” which is what I often see happening.

    2. Have you considered that the cleansing of the temple was not in a moment of pique and impatience, but that it was a considered act intended to stir the Jews into executing him?

      In Mark, after the triumphant entry, jesus entered the temple, looked around, and returned to Bethany. It was the next day that he cleansed the temple. Impatience? Or was it done deliberately with a conscious intent of stirring the pot to get the reaction that led to what he’d been telling his disciples would happen to him in Jerusalem?

      From the time he cleansed the temple, it was less than 100 hours until he was hanging on the cross. In between, he was in almost constant debate with the Jews, telling parables that they recognized as being directed at them, and delivering scathing rebuke of the scribes and Pharisees. All of these things seemed calibrated to drive the Jewish leaders into a frenzy that culminated in their organizing a mob that pushed Pilate into crucifying him.

  6. Sorry Jerry, I’ve been tied up with other things, but given the timeline in John’s gospel, it seems that it wasn’t just on his last mortal visit to Jerusalem that he cleared the outer temple. I used to think that it was just the last visit, but am forced to accept that if I take the gospels as written, John 2: 12-13 followed eventually by John 12 implies that he cleared the place out on an earlier well. Interestingly John doesn’t mention any clearing on the last visit. He does mention in chapter 11, that the head priest, Caiaphas, had decided to have Jesus eliminated urgently because he was probably scared that the Daniel 9: 26 bit of prophecy might be realized in Jesus if the Romans got an inkling that he was some prophesied Messiah, and a possible nationalistic threat to their government of Judaea. Ironically, Caiaphas’s actions seem to have brought about the prophecy that he was apparently trying to forestall.

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