EMISSARY^7 (G²)

COMMISIONED by CHRIST 4 SHARING HIS LIFE/KEEPING IT REAL ADMIST THE LIES (II Cor. 5:17-21))

The ART OF CHRISTIAN DIALOUGE: Whatever happened to it? (regarding heresy, false teachings, and understanding the Word of God IN CONTEXT)

Posted by Gabriel (G²) on February 15, 2008

Ok, folksIt may seem silly for me to even post this, but in light of how many of the dialouges on FALSE TEACHINGS/teachers around the net have been taking place, I figured that it might be necessary to mention some things most of us may not be aware of when talking to each other. Take heed, though, because I may drift a bit. To a degree, I’m venting as well so please be patient with me.By the way, I encourage everyone not to simply take my word for things when it comes to what follows. Every Verse that I say (especially on those dealing with names given to those giving false teachings), I’m still learning and I’d encourage EVERYONE TO STUDY THE WORD OF GOD FOR THEMSELVES…….

Every verse in CONTEXT, AND A GREAT PLACE TO START WITH WOULD BE HERE:

http://preceptaustin.org/commentaries_verse_by_verse.htm

I remember having a discussion with an individual who was responding to another person defending CreflO Dollar, a man who was promoting pretty bad doctrine (i.e. .”Jesus suffer in hell”, Jesus was the first born again man, “John the Baptist beheaded because he lacked faith”, etc.)

The person being influenced by Creflo seem to be of the mentality that to speak against those in the spotlight is judging and not allowed in Scripture (obviouslly unscriptural)….and the person possesing Biblical knowledge on the subject tried to indicate to him his error. However, The individual, after being attacked by Creflo’s supproter/critizied in a manner he felt unjust, went on the attack and insulted the man with harsh language/sarcasm and condensation.

Now, in later inquiring of the teacher’s actions, this is what I said:

Quote:
Please don’t take me the wrong way in saying this, but I have to ask why do you feel the need to insert so much sharp sarcasm/sassiness into whatever your replies may be to people in error concerning the Word? Not at all saying that sarcasm is wrong or that we should’t address issues or that name-calling is inappropiate, but it seems as if many of your comments are given in a very snide/smug tone of voice and it seems to turn many people away from listening to whatever valid points you may have to make….or that you’re assuming the role of someone who isn’t an fool at at any point while the person making the comment is all over.

In response, he said this:

Quote:
Very simple…………I respond in kind. I match tone. Something about reaping what is sown.If the dear brother had asked a question, that would have been fine. He didn’t. He bundled criticism of what was said about Creflo with character assassination of those who posted facts.He immediately made unseemly accusations about sin in our lives.
If he is going to post in that manner, he needs to defend both his own life (as to the moronic accusations of sin in our lives because we dare to touch his Pimp-O-Choice) and he needs to be able to both prove that the facts posted about Cashflo are false, and that Cashflo’s doctrine is Biblically solid.

If he wants to attack rather than question, he should put up or shut up.”

Many out there are of the same mentality he has and w think that name-calling/sharp sarcasm is ALWAYS allowed when discussing Biblical Issues or dealing with those under the influence of herectical teachings. As many may often say, “It;s not about debating/being unloving, but about the TRUTH!!!”……and to a degree, I agree since there are many things Christian Brethren may say to one another that may sound gruff at times but is needed.

However, I believe that there has been GREAT damage done as well because who do as this man did may only be seeing one aspect of what the Word of God says and never study to see who sarcasm/sharp language actually applies to. And it seems that many Christians who mean well may still mess up BADLY in God’s eyes becasue they never studied what the Word says on HOW TO DIALOUGE and where certain forms of dialouge belong when dealing with opposing views

Regarding the use of sharp language/harshness, the the BIBLE CONDONES USING SHARP WORDS/HARSH LANGUAGE/COMBATIVE APPROACHES……but this is NOT ACROSS THE BOARD with EVERYONE WE MEET IN DEBATE.WHEN STUDYING THE WORD OF GOD, it was primarily used WITH THOSE WHO EITHER BLATANTLY TWIST THE WORD OF GOD AND MAKE IT SAY WHAT THEY WANT IT TO SAY OR REFUSE TO LISTEN EVEN WHEN APPROACHED RATIONALLY!!!NO ONE CAN DENY OR CONDEM THE FACT THAT JESUS AND THE PROPHETS DID THIS whenever dialouging with those who are false teachers, and God himself uses harsh language to describe many people at various walks of lifei in the NT Epistles.Though God is love, and God is perfect, there are plenty of things He says that may not be considered by many to be loving.
Here are some of the same things God says about false teachers:

• They are ravenous wolves (Matthew 7:15-16)

• They are practicers of lawlessness (Matthew 7:22-23)

• They are hypocrites ( Matt 15:7-9)

• They are thieves (John 10:1)

• They are slaves of their own appetites (Romans 16:18)

• They are men of flesh (1 Cor 3:1-4)

• They are peddlers of the word of Christ(2 Cor 2:17)

• They are accursed (Galatians 1:6-8)

• They are tricksters and schemers (Ephesians 4:14)

• They are deluders (Ephesians 4:14)

• They are deceivers (Colossians 2:8)

• They are defrauders (Colossians 2:18-19)

• They are teachers of strange doctrine (1 Timothy 1:3)

• They are blasphemers, and have been handed over to Satan (1 Timothy 1:19-20)

• They are teachers of myth (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

• They are paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons (1 Timothy 4:1-3)

• They are liars (1 Timothy 4:1-3)

• They are conceited and understand nothing (1 Timothy 6:3-4)

• They have gone astray (1 Timothy 6:20-21)

• They are evil men, deceiving and being deceived (2 Timothy 3:13)

• They are empty talkers, after sordid gain (Titus 1:10-11)

• They turn away from the truth (Titus 1:13-14)

• They are false prophets, false teachers, greedy exploiters (2 Peter 2:1-4)

• They are stains and blemishes, greedy, loving of wages of unrighteuosness (2 Peter 2:13-15)

• They are slaves of corruption (2 Peter 2:19-20)

• They are ungodly (Jude 4)

• They are rebellious people (Isaiah 30:9)

For more information on how we’re to refer to False teachers/THOSE TWISTING OF THE WORD, consider this:here are the ways that the Bible addresss those who teach false doctrine., for if we’re to represent Christ at all times, we need to take a look at His words when dealing with false teachers, as well as the words of those HE commissioned, and see if we mirror them, in either tone or manner.Mat 15:7 [Ye] hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,

Mat 16:3 And in the morning, [It will be] foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O [ye] hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not [discern] the signs of the times?

Mat 22:18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, [ye] hypocrites?

Act 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

Mat 23:13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in [yourselves], neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

Tts 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny [him], being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

Mat 23:14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.

2 TiMOTHY 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

Mat 23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

2Pe 2:1 ¶ But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

2Pe 2:2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
2Pe 2:3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

Mat 23:25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.

Tts 1:10 ¶ For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:

Tts 1:11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.

Tts 1:12 One of themselves, [even] a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians [are] alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.

Tts 1:13 This witness is true. Wherefore REBUKE THEM SHARPLY, that they may be sound in the faith;

Mat 23:27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead [men’s] bones, and of all uncleanness.
Mar 7:6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with [their] lips, but their heart is far from me.

Luk 11:44 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over [them] are not aware [of them].

Mat 15:14 … they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

Mat 23:27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead [men’s] bones, and of all uncleanness.


Philemon 3:2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workersMark 13:22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if [it were] possible, even the elect.2 Peter 2:12 ¶ But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;

2 Peter 2:13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, [as] they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots [they are] and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;

2 Peter 2:14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:

2 Peter 2:15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam [the son] of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;

2 Peter 2:17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.

2 Peter 2:18 ¶ For when they speak great swelling [words] of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, [through much] wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.

2 Peter 2:19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.

2 Peter 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

2 Peter 2:21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known [it], to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

2 Peter 2:22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog [is] turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many, and call upon the name of your god, but put no fire to it.”26And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar that they had made.27And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.”

Mat 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

2 Corinthians 11:13 For such [are] false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

1 John 2:18 ¶ Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there MANY ANTI CHRISTS; whereby we know that it is the last time.

To balance out what I’ve said further,

Romans 16:17-19
17I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. 19Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.

2 John 1:7-11

Beware of Antichrist Deceivers
7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8 Look to yourselves, that we[a] do not lose those things we worked for, but that we[b] may receive a full reward.
9 Whoever transgresses[c] and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.

False teaching is serious buisness, and we dare not overlook it,….it was so serious that John even wrote this letter to warn against it, and there are so many false teachings in our world that we might be tempted to take them lightly……but we should realize the dangers they pose and actively refuse to give heresies any foothold.

From what John was saying, believers were not to show hospitality to false teachers/THEIR TEACHINGS ……in fact, they were to do nothing that would encourage the herectics in their propagation of falsehoods….and if believers were to invite them in, such action would show that they were approving of what the false teachers said/did (though this does not necessarily mean one should completely discount EVERYTHING a false teacher says, for there’s an element of truth in every wrong teaching promoted today and maintaing a “THROW OUT THE BABY WITH THE BATHWATER” mentality can be just as dangerous as holding onto ALL a false teacher has to offer. That’s why there’s so much confusion nowadays regarding WOF, for many have been so focused on the WRONG TEACHINGS that are higlhlighted in the movement that they never take the time to examine what is actually FACTUAL within it…..and many are left confused wondering, “How can…….so and so be right when he or she said some pretty biblical things?)

Giving hospitality to those who would try to lead God’s people astray indicates sympathy with and support for their teaching

It’s not that John was saying that we should forbid common courtesy….Rather than condeming hospitality to unbelievers, he again was condeming the support of those who are dedicated to opposing the true teachings of God, for in choosing not to prohibit action that will encourage the herectics in their work, the church would be undermined in it’s efforts to spread the Gospel….to be hospitable/support a false teacher in any way would be to share int the teacher’s wicked work and not the Work of God!!

Plus, in choosing not to avoid false teachers and even bothering to react to their pretentious positions, our overreaction can sometimes give more attention to their points of view (Titus 3:9)

It’s one thing to be gracious/patient with those who are in error and causing division threatening the unity of the church by patiently warning them (in love) of the Truth, so that the individual’s divisive nature can be corrected and he or she can be restored to fellowship…….But Scripture doesn’t seem to support tolerating a person OR BEING anythin but HARSH WITH someone who makes choices pleasing to himself regardless of all other considerations and who obstinately champions opinions that aren’t sound with the Word and deadly to the Unity of the Church….People like that are sinning and they know it, “self condemed” like the Word says (Titus 3:11)….Such a man who refuses to stick by the truth is to be rebuked, and if he doesn’t heed the rebuke, he’s to be avoided….(Titus 3:9-11).

Going along with that,

Titus 3:9-11

9But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. 10Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. 11You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

I researched the context of this verse, and it seemed to be applicable to many of the points I was trying to make about being gracious (i.e. not “nice”/treating people with kid gloves but kind and patient in both giving someone the benefit of a doubt or giving them time to change/respond to correction when an issue is brought up)…the context of the verse specifically dealing with how to respond to a divisive man (”one who makes a choice pleasing to himself regardless of all other considerations…obstinately attached to an opinion that is not sound and threatens the unity of the church”

From what the text seems to indicate,the warning/harshness was not meant to take place in an automatic heavy-handed action but rather with the intention of correcting “the individual’s divisive nature and restore him or her to fellowship”…”a person who refuses to be corrected should be avoided since he or she is sinning and knows it and is essentially “self-condemed” (Matthew 18:15-18)…

and there are various other instances where Scripture advocates the same thing…

2 Thessalonians 3:6

Warning Against Idleness
6 But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he[a] received from us.

2 Thessalonians 3:14
14 And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed.

Note: Paul here wasn’t advocating coldness or cruelty, but the kind of tough love that one would show a brother or sister.

Even Jesus seem to advocate the fact that, in rebuking a erring brother (not necessiraliy pointing out every sin we see, but bringing sin to a person’s attention with the purpose of restoring him or her to God and to fellow humans…and having that rebuke tied to love for the person and and willingness to forgive),….those who refuse to change after lovingly being presented with the Truth should be avoided as if they were strangers(Matthew 18:15-17, Luke 17:3-4)

As rude as it may seem to turn people away, even if they are teaching heresy or openly sinning against us/others, how much better is it to be faithful to God than merely courteous to people!!!!

We’d all be better off avoiding false teachers/being sharp witht them than working with them, for “Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool in his folly” (Proverbs 17:12)….and “No animal is as dangerous as a fool…someone who eithers denies the reality of God or refuses to obey his commandments…”

Again, from my understanding of the Word, these are the instances where harshness/sharpness are condoned: WITH FALSE TEACHERS and those who PROMOTE WRONG TEACHING, not necessarily those who may still have questions, holes in their theology or who may be slow to trust what one may be saying because of various factors (i.e. bad experiences, things simply not making sense to them, not enough of a Scriptural foundation to connect the dots on issues).

All that being said, though harshness/DIRECTNESS was one method when approaching those promoting wrong teaching, THAT WAS NOT THE ONLY METHOD JESUS USED when dealing with wrong teaching, or the method that should be applied to ALL categories of peopleRegarding the former point of false teachers/teaching, Jesus wasn’t about dodging questions or questioning what one belives/why, but HE didn’t give direct answers all the time. He only gave direct answers when needed and HE DID asked questions to get people to see where they’re at.Not saying that I know everything, but from what I’ve read in the Word, it seems that the norm for how Jesus answered every question asked of Him in all four gospels was with answering a question with a question. It seemed to be a rarity to do so with a clear, concise, direct answer. And asking questions rather than continually giving direct answers seems to be just as much a part of what the Character of Christ was as “Telling it Like it Is” may be.

For me, at least, there have been far too many times when I’ve answered questions with “biblically accurate, logically sound, epistemologically watertight answers” and the result is that the questioners walk away. What I never realized was that my answers only seemed to confirm tha Christians were simpy “simpeltons”….

I pushed people away rather than drawing them closer to hear what I had to say because “rather than engaging their minds or urging them to consider an alternate perspective, an automatic answer can give them ammunition for future attacks against the Gospel.”

When I started to not only unload answers/LABEL when necessary but ask questions, the results I saw were better than what I had before.
Rather than get into hour long debates/quarrels with people who claim things like “Jesus was just a good teacher and not perfect”, I see that better results for opening the door to share the the Truth of the Gospel come when I ask initially ask things like “What makes you think that Jesus was a good teacher or imperfect? Have you studied alot or even any of His teachings? What was His main message?”

There are many advantages of initially asking a question that seem to outweigh those of continually giving direct answers. By doing so, whatever assumptions the questioner has are brought to the service….and the pressure is taken off of you and unto the one inquiring or doubting needlessly. If I’m continually on the defensive, then are the questioners really wrestling with issues or simply watching me squirm?

Moreover, seeing that opponents don’t really like having the focus bounced back at them when they make accusations and that they tend to adjust their attitude accordingly, if people opposed to the truth ask questions that are really attacks in disguise, am I not alleviating hostility?by asking them questions, and helping to create productive dialogue?

What to make of situations like Matthew 22:41-46, where, prior to His opponents continually questioning/challenging Him, Jesus turned the tables on them by simply asking a penetrating question rather than giving a direct/sharp answer immediately to the Pharisees concerning what their thoughts of His identity were (that doesn’t mean that He didn’t name call or offend them at all…He did that right after in Matthew 23 when they refused to respond to any of His questions and proved their lack of concern for the truth but not before simply questioning them)

What to make of situations like Matthew 22:15-22, where a religious leader asked Jesus if it was right to pay taxes and were simply looking for a reason to accuse Jesus rather than hear truth…did Jesus give a direct answer or did He respond with a simple question that blew up their platform for error?

What to make of Matthew 12:9-12, where the Pharisees were “looking for a reason to accuse Jesus,” and asked about what was lawful on the Sabbath? Did He not respond in a question format that cut them to the heart?

What to make of the situation in Luke 20:1-8, where the chief priests and the teachers of the law challenged the Lord about where John’s baptism came from? True, they were simply seeking to ask questions to trap Jesus and make Him look foolish/lose credibility. If He gave them a direct answer, would’ve not set Himself up for danger?

Still, how did He respond? Was it not in the form of a question first? Was it, as someone may say, “super sensitivity garbage” for Him to do so?

If we’re to be direct always and not “drag our feet” or “tap dance around what we know is the truth”, was Jesus wrong in doing as He did by NOT automatically saying how the Pharisees were jacked up? By Him asking a question rather than giving a direct answer, did it not serve to reveal the true motivations/intents of their hearts, showing that they were insincere in their questions and thus paving the way for an appropriate non-answer to put them to shame and expose their folly?

That’s one of the reasons I’m not for giving automatic direct answers all the time to those who oppose the truth with their questions/statements. Whenever we respond to a question with a question, we can make room for a concept that an opponent wouldn’t have considered otherwise.

How many of the concepts like Holiness, sinfulness, the Work of Christ on the Cross and other things are familiar with many but grossly misunderstood to all, both inside and outside the church? It seems that questions seem to bring these concepts “into clearer focus and consideration and even acceptance

Again, simple questions can be beneficial when dialouging/facing opposition and, as said before, even though Jesus himself got plenty of times pretty harsh/ Not so touchy-feely when He was direct with opposition as needed (Matthew 23)….AGAIN, THAT’S NOT ALL He limited Himself to in His approach.

Also, it should be noted that Jesus DID NOT INVOLVE HIMSELF IN EVERY ISSUE FOR TRUTH THAT CAME UP. When dialouging, it’s easy to feel like we have to be in a combative mode everytime a HOT TOPIC (i.e. tounges, Spiritual Gifts, Healings, Prophesy, false teaching, etc). arises/However, Even though there are some questioners that are sincere and would benefit from being engaged with clear/concise statements of what the Word says (ex. consider the example where Jesus didn’t beat around the bush and responded with a direct answer….Matthew 22:23-33, Mark 12:28-31)….many that came to Him were not, just as it is with many on this site. Many came already set on believing what they wanted to believe, despite evidence to the contrary and other things….and Jesus never bothered to contend with them or waste truth on such people.For example, going back to Matthew 21:23-27

The Authority of Jesus Questioned
23Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”
24Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or from men?”

They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26But if we say, ‘From men’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”
27So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”

Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

Again, Jesus doesn’t seem to get involved with folks when they seem to lack a desire to correctly apply truth, or even consider anything (whether Scripture or the fruit of an action) from the Word contradicting their statements. Why not let their actions speak for themselves, seeing that their responses give enough testament to the fact that they’re not truly concerned with discovering truth nor are they worth responding to since all they desire is to either trap you or receive a reaction from others?

If a question came up and you responded properly by stating what the Word says and you were even being open to dialoguing with someone who genuinely wanted to discover truth and felt a sense of importance about working through real interaction about weighty questions, but that person still went about name-calling only and repeatedly/airing only their opinion, wouldn’t it be wise simply to ignore them and not give them the time?

Again, Jesus Himself didn’t beat around the bush on many occasions and responded to those opposed to the truth in many intriguing/wise ways that called people to attention (Matthew 21:23-45, Matthew 22:12-14, Matthew 22:15-22, Mark 12:1-40)

However, Jesus often responded to insincere questions with appropriate non-answers and even chose often to not respond at all to those who didn’t really wish to dialogue about the truth / follow through on what they discovered or contend with those who only wanted truth if it supported their own views/desires (much like the situation the Pharisees trying to trap Jesus/undermine His authority, and other situations indicating the same, such as Matthew 12:38-45 and Matthew 11:20-24), why do we often choose to do otherwise? As Jesus did, we have to make sure that TRUTH isn’t wasted on anyone.

And Like the Word says,

Matthew 7:6

6″Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces

Again, There’s no need in wasting truth on people who don’t care for honest dialouge on it. Our time, energy and resources are some of the most valuable resources we have (OUR PEARLS) and should only be given to those who really wish to honor it.

It would be one thing if someone asked a question concerning doctrine and I gave references for them to check out.For that person to check out those references and still have questions afterward that he or she is wrestling with, it’d be appropate to continue interaction and asking probing questions rather than automatically unload answers or become impatient with them if they don’t automatically understand a concept immediately.Like II Timothy 2:23-26 says,

23Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

Again, it’d be appropiate to help those in error/confusion about the truth, in the realization that people are blinded by the enemy and that it often takes time for the scales to come off when teaching them…much as it is in our lives concerning areas where we were in error but never realized it immediately or responded promptly.

It’d be whole different issue if that person was given information and yet ignored all I gave or mocked all of the things I was saying.

By no means should we be about enternaing a “fool”, or someone who simply WISHES to argue for the sake of it/be combative and who won’t listen when you’ve already clearly explained yourself repeatedly and given him or her PLENTY of references to help him out but they refuse to investigate…and only wish to dialouge about foolish details/thoughts not pertaining to the main question at hand but ONLY THAT WHICH WILL SUPPORT THEIR own OPINION.

Such a person has no desire for UNDERSTANDING (BEING BIBLICALLY BALANCED ON AN ISSUE) and you probably won’t get far with them unless debating on their terms.

Proverbs 18:2

2 A fool finds no pleasure in understanding
but delights in airing his own opinions.

And, moreover, in light of how Jesus dealt with issues of argument and, for that matter, all of the ways the Word stresses knowing things such as the importance of recognizing that some dialogues should stop and how others should never start (i.e. recognizing a fool before any kind of lengthy discussion and dealing with him or her accordingly)….I’m still struggling to understand why it’s even considered important by many of us to even waste the time expending ourselves for so many of the diaouges

Some more Scriptures to consider:Proverbs 9:7-9
7 “Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult;
whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse.

8 Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you;
rebuke a wise man and he will love you.

9 Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still;
teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.

Proverbs 14:6-7

6 The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none,
but knowledge comes easily to the discerning.

7 Stay away from a foolish man,
for you will not find knowledge on his lips.

Proverbs 23:9

9 Do not speak to a fool,
for he will scorn the wisdom of your words.

Another point of notice when dialouging with people: THERE’S A TIME/WAY TO DIALOUGE IN THE SAME MANNER AS THEY AND A TIME WHEN IT’S NOT APPROPIATE.

Regarding how the teacher responded back to the man who insulted him, can’t say I agree with the stance that you should attack someone if they’re attacking…even if that person is someone is in error and won’t address you properly

Concerning this, a principle that comes to my mind is what Solomon said in Proverbs 26:4-5:

Proverbs 26:4-5

4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
or you will be like him yourself.

5 Answer a fool according to his folly,
or he will be wise in his own eyes

As Apologetist/Chaplain Randy Newman tellingly explained about these verses in his book Questioning Evangelism (powerful/resourceful book, by the way, and solid/extremely based in Scripture in case anyone wants to check it out.),

Quote:

“In some cases, answering people’s questions with content that they want only solidifies their unbelief.“Consider the pair of seemingly contradictory exhortations in Proverbs 26:4-5…No wonder people have considered these two statements as evidence of a contradiction in the Bible, but the fact that they occur one after the other, however, could argue just the opposite conclusion, for in rabbinic style they show two sides of the same coin.

We should not answer a fool according to his folly (i.e. using his style of expression) in a derogatory, argumentive tone, for example. The result would be a shouting match between two people who disrespect each other (in some situ ations, you ought not even answer a fool…such a fool will abuse you and you will be tempted to abuse him or her in return).

“Such a display of godlesssness is fitting for a fool but not for a follower of a gracious God. Other types of foolish responses include reacting to sarcasm with more of the same, replying to ad hominem attacks with even worse slander, or employing any kind of flawed logic in our arguments simply because our opponent does so. Increasing the percentage of ‘fooldom’ does little to advance the kingdom.”

Continuing with that, “On the other side of the coin, we should respond to a fool’s question ‘as his folly deserves’ (v.5)(one way of doing this would be to show/exlain what the full extent of a fools’ logic would be or how far it would apply in every area of life rather than isolated ones they favor/focus on, so that they would see how impractical/ungrounded their thinking is, like asking a person opposed to absolute truth/morality and in favor of ethical relativism why they’re offended at the actions of others that bring them/their loved ones harm since, according to their own way of thinking, no one can truly say ‘What you did was absolutely wrong!!’…and the person who committed the wrong could say ‘I did what I thought was right, and besides, what does it matter since you’re no more right or wrong than I am?’ .

“Failure to do so could make the fool feel good about his or her foolish position, reinforce it, and make the fool even less open to considering the truth that could set him or her free (i.e. more willing to hear what you have to say and perhaps turn from their error)….Responding in kind with a lack of respect or worse is an easy trap to fall into. Nevertheless, when a person’s choice of words or tone of voice tells you that he or she isn’t looking for an answer, it’s best not to give one.”

Regarding our actions getting angered in dialouge when dealing with oppostion/thing we don’t agree with, it’s important to note that, even when dealing with issues of HIGH IMPORTANCE and that seem Injust (like it is with many preachers expounding wrong teachings and who seem to get away with practically murder in the name of Christ OR when someone is truly wrong but no one is adressing them), if insults and rants come up against us, choosing to do so back can make you look just as foolish regardless of how biblically sound you may be and it takes away any credibility you may have because of the immature look it produces.Again, sarcasm and paradoy have their uses…..even mocking and name-calling to an extent if the situation calls for it (as with false teachers/willful foolishness)….but to be hot-headed/easily angred or rude sharp/sarcastic because someone attaked you character/disagrees with you is a different thing….
.
Yes, though Proverbs 26:-5 supports the fact that responding to a fools’ absuridity as you would a wise man will only make that fool think himself one, imitating the style of a fool makes yourself one too!!True, We’re commissioned to name-call/denounce those who denounce Christ with Names/Harsh language those who mock Christ, but can one find the the notion that we’re commissioned to be rash with others CONSISTENLY or to name call as an end in itself, be rude, blow our tops/tempers as others do with us, attack/lash back at others in the same way they lash back at you?

Doing so seems to indicate that we’re more concrned about your personal honor and how angry you were rather than about what would glorify Christ FULL character.

More Scripture to consider when dialouging/relating with others in Wisdom:

Proverbs 10:19
19 When words are many, sin is not absent,
but he who holds his tongue is wise.

Proverbs 11:12
12 A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor,
but a man of understanding holds his tongue.

Proverbs 12:16
16 A fool shows his annoyance at once,
but a prudent man overlooks an insult.

Proverbs 13:3
3 He who guards his lips guards his life,
but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.

Proverbs 14:16
16 A wise man fears the LORD and shuns evil,
but a fool is hotheaded and reckless.

Proverbs 14:29
29 A patient man has great understanding,
but a quick-tempered man displays folly.

Proverbs 15:1

1 A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Proverbs 15:18
18 A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension,
but a patient man calms a quarrel

Proverbs 15:23
23 A man finds joy in giving an apt reply—
and how good is a timely word!

Proverbs 16:21
21 The wise in heart are called discerning,
and pleasant words promote instruction. [a]

Proverbs 16:23
23 A wise man’s heart guides his mouth,
and his lips promote instruction

Proverbs 17:14
14 Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam;
so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.

Proverbs 17:19
19 He who loves a quarrel loves sin;
he who builds a high gate invites destruction.

Proverbs 17:27-28
27 A man of knowledge uses words with restraint,
and a man of understanding is even-tempered.
28 Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent,
and discerning if he holds his tongue.

Proverbs 22:11
11 He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious
will have the king for his friend.

Proverbs 20:3
3 It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife,
but every fool is quick to quarrel

Proverbs 22:10
10 Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife;
quarrels and insults are ended.

Proverbs 26:21
21 As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire,
so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.

Proverbs 29:8
8 Mockers stir up a city,
but wise men turn away anger.

Proverbs 29:11
11 A fool gives full vent to his anger,
but a wise man keeps himself under control.

Proverbs 29:20
20 Do you see a man who speaks in haste?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.

Proverbs 30:33
33 For as churning the milk produces butter,
and as twisting the nose produces blood,
so stirring up anger produces strife.”

There’s never justification to excuse being quick to lose OUR temper/mock otherS, speaking rashly, lacking self-control, or seeking to speak in ways that don’t promote instruction and rather extend unecessary fights to begin with….to contend for the faith is good/necessary…being contentious for contentious’s sake is not….Proverbs 16:3232 Better a patient man than a warrior,
a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.

Self-Control is superior to conquest. Success in buisness, school, home life or anything else can be ruined by a person who has lost control of their temper, so it is a great personal victory to control your temper….and to yield it to God’s Sprit so you could mirror Him moreso in the fruit you produce (Galatians 5:16-25)

To many of those listening, perhaps it would be to your benefit to remember that losing control/not guarding your temper may cause you to forfeit whatever you’re seeking to accomplish or want the most whenever and that we need to remember this whenever you feel yourself ready to explode and lay into someone

Not all anger/agression in dialouge/interacting with others is necessarily of the Lord…

True, the Bible doesn’t tell us that we shouldn’t feel angry….having righteous anger/being bothered by what the Lord indicated bothersome to Him in the Word is a sign of spiritual vitality,……. but the Bible does point out that it’s important to handle our anger properly, for if vented thoughtlessly, anger can do more damage than good….and it’s possible to sin in our anger and give the Devil an opportunity to hold to us (Ephesians 4:26-27)…..

Plus, not all anger can accomplish what’s needed to further the Work of the Lord here at this site (James 1:19-20)

Even Jesus, as you so often noticed, was obviously angry at the merchants who exploited those coming to God’s house to Worship (John 2:12-18), but there is a big difference between rigthteous indignation and uncontrolled rage, even though both are called anger —He was consusmed with Zeal for the House of GOD, not just offense against someone offending Him—and we must be very careful how we use the powerful emotion of anger…

It’s right to be angry about injustice and sin because of others being hurt, but another thing althogether to be angry over trivial personal offenses, or….If my anger erupts because my ego is bruised (”I’m Hurt”, or “My Opinions aren’t being heard),or when we feel neglected or offened….and even because we are failing to either win/battle properly in an argument

Forgive me for the rumminations, but regardless of your particular stance on WOF issues or any for that matter, I pray that something I’ve said will be of help and that we’ll please be gracious/considerate with our responses. It makes no sense for us to discuss Christian issues among Brethtren if we can not go about it in a civil way and in a way that would build others up, not tear them down

Ephesians 4:29-30

29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Above all else, it makes no sense if we’re promoting quarreling moreso that actual dialouging on this site in the name of CHrist, for that would not honor the Word of God, and though many may disagree, we can still agree to relate to each other in ways that’d honor the Lord.

The reason I say this is because I’ve seen plenty of instances on this site where a simple discussion turned into a full-blown fight, all in the name of “Christ”/”Truth” and no one came out of the discussion for the better…..

To be fair I have no problem with sarcasm/wicked humor….I have a good bit of it myself. It just that I try to guage when it’s appropiate and choose not to employ that across the board, be it with people I don’t know well or with who don’t have that same style of humor as I do, lest I stir up trouble or come off arrogant.

Also, whenever I dialouge with others, I want to speak in ways that’d suit however a person tends to learn. If someone’s M.O is giving thoughtful comments/details or calm/pleasant conversation, I’m not gonna automatically speak sarcastically and expect them to recieve what I said or be shocked/indignant when they’re upset about it….that’s just not the way they approach dealing with people, and I want to be considerate of that.

To do otherwise would be conceit…..and my desire is to treat others with common courtesy and respect cause that’s what the Word calls us to……to be humble and consider the interest of others as more important than my own and to speak/act in ways that would mirror Christ (Philippians 2:3-5)

Plus, for me at least, I’ve experienced plenty of times where people’s usage of sarcasm/parody, even when it’s with good intentions, has gotten waaaaaaaaaayy out of hand and it became recklessness….just having a sharp tounge or simply being “contentious” ……and people ended up being needlessly “cut open” and walked away bleeding/damaged because of it while those being sarcastic thought their words were cool when they were anything but that (Proverbs 12:18)……

Going along with that, Consider the following regarding walking in Wisdom/Relating to others….

Proverbs 16:21
21 The wise in heart are called discerning,
and pleasant words promote instruction. [a]

Proverbs 22:11
11 He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious
will have the king for his friend.

Proverbs 20:3
3 It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife,
but every fool is quick to quarrel

Proverbs 22:10
10 Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife;
quarrels and insults are ended.

Proverbs 26:21
21 As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire,
so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.

Proverbs 29:8
8 Mockers stir up a city,
but wise men turn away anger.

Proverbs 29:11
11 A fool gives full vent to his anger,
but a wise man keeps himself under control.

Proverbs 29:20
20 Do you see a man who speaks in haste?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.

So, Again, lets please be willing to hear ALL sides of an issue HUMBLY , and let us all be seeking to get all the facts before answering (from the Word of God, to the testimonies of others), being open to new ideas, and making sure we hear both sides of the story before judging and making any kind of solid/soud decisions….AND let’s all be patient with one another and examine whether our dialouge with each other matches the Word.Though the Word urges us in Jude to “contend for the faith that was once entrusted to the saints” and to BE AWARE of false teachers/their teachings and to not be rooted in anything but the Truths of Christ (Mathew 7:15-20, Matthew 23:13-36, Mark 12:38-40, Acts 20:29, Galatians 1:6-9, I Timothy 4:1-2, I Timothy 4:15-16, I Timothy 6:20-21, II Timothy 3:1-9, II Peter 2:1-3, II John 1:7-11, Jude 1:1-4, Jude 1:17-19, etc)…..does the book of Jude not also exhort us to also “Be Merciful to Those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh”? (Jude 1:22-23).There are various people in differing walks of life visiting these forums, and we’ll be held accountable to God for how we respond to them

Some people visiting the forum are sincere doubters with honest questions and who need compassion. Many visiting these forums are victims of apostate teachers (like Creflo or Copeland or Buynam and a host of others) and they need mercy and patience, as well as our discernment in how to dialouge with them since they have yet to reach a firm conclusion about Christ and eternal life and so remain doubters who could possibly be swayed from the truth.

If they come to this forum and witness us discussing things wrongly, that may influence them in the wrong way…

Others are committed to the errors taught by apostates, and need forthright attention before they are further entrenched. Some are so entrenched in false teaching that they should be given the gospel in great fear lest the contamination be spread to the well-meaning evangel.

Regardless of who we’re dealing with, if we don’t understand what the Word says on dialougung with others and what SPECIFIC THINGS to do with certain people, we’ll all be in mess……and unable to effectively win the Battle of Defending the Faith

T

Though it’s hard work at times, hey, THAT’S PART OF WHAT IT MEANS TO WALK IN WISDOM!!

Proverbs 18:13
13 He who answers before listening—
that is his folly and his shame.

Proverbs 18:15
15 The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge;
the ears of the wise seek it out.

Proverbs 18:17
17 The first to present his case seems right,
till another comes forward and questions him.

Blessings, ya’ll…and apologies to those of you who already seek to do these things/thought that it didn’t need to be statedl!!! And here we go…..

If anyone’s interested, here’s an interesting article I’d figured might bless someone on the topic of Christian Dialouge. Pray it’s of benefit to someone….GUIDELINES FOR CONTROVERSIES
by Ray C. Stedman
When the Apostle Paul wrote his second letter to Timothy from his dungeon in Rome, he realized that Timothy was living in a world that was about to explode in conflict — a world that was very much like the one we live in today. Timothy had another problem too: he was teaching a church which was threatening to split apart and divide into factions over arguments and divisions which were separating believers. So, in this letter, the apostle tells how to handle both of these problems — how to live in a world that is threatened with conflict, and how to live in a church that is threatened with controversy.In the section which we have before us today the apostle is dealing with the matter of controversies, church fights, incipient splits, times when the congregation is divided over some issue. Paul here tells us what kind of controversies should and should not be allowed, and how Christians should conduct themselves in the midst of them. Paul puts it very plainly. Second Timothy 2:23:

[SIZE=-1]Have nothing to do with stupid, senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to every one, an apt teacher, forbearing, correcting his opponents with gentleness. (2 Timothy 2:23-25a RSV)[/SIZE]

Some have read that passage as though it said, “Never get involved with any kind of controversy. Don’t ever take up sides or press any issue to the point that it creates argument. Stay away from it.” But that is not what it says at all. In fact, if you read it that way it often results in what many churches do today, which is to take issues that need to be debated and sweep them under the rug. They cover them over and pretend they do not exist; they try to maintain a facade of outward peace, while division and dissent seethe and ferment underneath until it explodes in the breakup of a congregation.That is not what the apostle is saying at all. In fact, in other places he has said very clearly that there must be controversies in churches.Look at First Corinthians 11:19: “There must indeed be controversies [heresies is the word] among you in order that those who are approved might be made manifest,” (1 Corinthians 11:19 KJV). In other words, how are you going to tell who is mature enough to handle a controversial matter unless you have a controversy to work on?

So there must be heresies, differences of viewpoint, among you, Paul says.

We can be very grateful indeed to the great controversies of the past in the church which have served to clarify truth. The great Lutheran hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” resulted from the controversy that raged around Martin Luther over the doctrine of justification by faith. The church has never forgotten that controversy which cleared the air on what was a very important doctrinal matter.But what the apostle is saying to Timothy is that there are certain kinds of controversies he must never get involved in. “Have nothing to do with them,” Paul says. There are two kinds particularly — stupid controversies, and senseless controversies.The word that is translated “stupid” here is the word moros, from which we get our word, moron. Paul is talking about moronic controversies, foolish, trivial matters which, even when they are settled after long and loud debate, do nothing for you; they do not advance the Christian cause in the least degree.

Such trivial matters may be interesting in some limited way, but they should never be allowed to become controversies and have people divide over them. In the Middle Ages we know that the scholars of the church debated at great length issues like how many angels can stand on the head of a pin. That is a foolish question. Angels are spirits, and as such do not occupy space.

The head of a pin is the same as the top of a mountain to angels.
But we have our own ridiculous questions today. I have heard people debate heatedly and at great length what prominent world figure in this day has a name which can be reduced numerically to the numbers 666. One can buy a lot of books today — very inexpensively — suggesting names that have been advanced in the past of people who are no longer with us. The last person I saw mentioned in this regard was Anwar Sadat. He, however, was assassinated a few weeks later so he has been removed from the running on that.

Take a question such as I have heard hotly debated, “Was Jesus crucified on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday?” That question does have some degree of historical interest — there is evidence for a day other than the traditional Friday — so perhaps that issue merits an hour or so of discussion or study. But what difference does it make even if it is settled? To divide up and separate from other believers because of that is ridiculous, yet there are people who do that.

Another example is the debate going on today about whether the Shroud of Turin is the burial robe of Jesus or not. Again, this is an interesting question. It has some significance and it merits some discussion. I have read most of the articles I have run across on it. But it does not merit controversy or argument or heated debate, because even if it proves to be the genuine burial robe of Jesus, how has that advanced us? How are we profited by that?

The most it can be is a slight additional evidence of the historicity of the Biblical story, yet for centuries that has been well established so it does not help us much. You can probably think of a dozen more debates on trivial matters like this that get nowhere (Note by GG: From Spiritual Gifts to Confession, Charismatic vs Reformed and plenty more.) Those are what Paul calls foolish, moronic debates. Have nothing to do with them.

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Then the second word is translated “senseless.” This word really means unlearned, arising out of ignorance. As such it refers to questions that are basically insoluble; we do not know enough to answer the questions that are being asked.Take, for example, the mode of baptism in the early church. Many people have angrily debated that. They are sure they are right and can prove that the early Christians immersed people. But another crowd says, “No, they sprinkled them,” or “poured water over them.” That has been hotly debated, even to the point of trying to determine whether they put them face down forward, or three times backward, whatever.I am of the persuasion that you cannot prove from the Greek text of the New Testament what was the mode of baptism employed, although you can do so from various versions because they are translated with a bias. But when you get back to the original language there is no way of knowing. I think that is deliberate, because it is not important. We put too much stress on symbols and on carrying through a certain ritual, meanwhile forgetting the great reality behind it which God wants us to know. So debating over that is a futile thing.

I remember when I first came to Palo Alto there were a number of Christians in this country, especially in this area, who were very hotly debating the question, “Could Jesus have sinned? When Jesus became a man, did he so much become a man that, like us, he was not only tempted but he could have sinned?” Almost every Christian agrees with the Biblical statement that Jesus did not sin. He himself challenged the Pharisees of his day, saying to them, “Who of you convinces me of sin?” (John 8:46a KJV).

But the question that was raised was, “Could he have?” That is a hypothetical matter. We do not know enough, Scripture does not tell us enough to answer that. We can speculate all we want to, but that does not give us answers.

To debate over that, to argue over it, to get angry about it and call people heretics over a matter like that is absolutely foolish. That is what the apostle calls a “senseless” debate.

The question of the reconciliation of the free will of man and the sovereignty of God — though that is a subject that merits a great deal of discussion and deep, theological thinking — nevertheless, ultimately falls in that category. We do not have enough information to settle it. We can believe both are true, but we cannot finally decide once and for all.
This whole matter of whether the gift of tongues is for today or not also falls into this category.

This is a debate that cannot ultimately be settled, it seems, because it is always with us. Just last week I met with a group of people from this church who debated this question all evening. Some were pro, some were con, but the discussion was kept at a very high level. It never degenerated to putting people down, calling them heretics or wiping them out. It was a beautiful evening spent in a very profitable discussion that clarified the issues in many ways, though it did not convince some. That is proper.

There is nothing wrong with that. There must indeed be differences of viewpoint among us and they are proper to debate, but to get angry and upset and divide is what is wrong. That is what Paul is talking about here.

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So we can put it in a nutshell: discussion, yes; controversy, no. Stupid, senseless controversies breed quarrels, Paul says. When you start pushing your viewpoint to the degree that you wipe out others, when you put people down and treat them with something less than respect, you breed quarrels and divisions in the body of Christ.What about proper controversies then, the kind we should discuss? What about attacks on vital doctrines, questions on the proper Christian response to the burning social issues of our day? How should we handle such important issues that people feel so strongly about they feel they cannot surrender lest they give up something vital and important? The apostle has some very clear guidelines for us. He gives us five things, one negative and four positives.The first one is the negative: “The Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome.”

The servant of the Lord is any Christian, but especially Christian leaders like Timothy. The Lord’s servant must not be an argumentative, pejorative, belligerent type of person who is ready to come out with guns blazing.

There are many people like that who shoot from the lip, always ready for an argument. But the Lord’s servant is not out to win arguments; he is not out to squash the opposition or silence dissent by overbearing, heavy-handed approaches. Rather, he is there to encourage discussion and examination. He does not put down opponents or resort to name-calling or diatribe. He is not argumentative, not contentious.

Charles Spurgeon spoke about those in his day who, he said, “…went about with theological revolvers in their ecclesiastical trousers.” The Lord’s servant does not do that. What then is the Lord’s servant to be?

First, he is to be “kindly to every one.” No matter if it is a cultist he is debating, or someone who is very upset about an issue, somebody with an ax to grind, some difficult person who is obviously out to cause trouble and create dissension, the Lord’s servant is to be kindly to everyone, the apostle says. Actually, that phrase is translated from one single word in the Greek which appears only in this place in the New Testament. It is a word which means “gentle.” A better English translation, perhaps, would be, approachable. He is someone who is approachable.

When I was at Dallas Seminary, I had a Bible teacher there who was a godly, gifted man. I had great respect for his Bible knowledge, but when I went to see him once to ask him a Bible question, he was so cold, stern, and harsh with me that I never asked him another question. I listened to him teach, but I never went to him again. That is the opposite of being approachable, open to discussion with anyone.

Second, the Lord’s servant is to be “an apt teacher,” i.e., skillfully dealing with the facts involved, not with feelings, not with fantasies, but with the facts of Scripture.

There is where we must always return. It is so easy for an argument to slide off the facts and onto feelings, experiences, and reactions to things. The Lord’s servant must call people back to facts.

Paul Winslow and I were discussing a matter at a staff meeting the other day. I brought up something that he took issue to, very kindly and gently, but he brought out some facts. I said to him, “You know the trouble with you, Paul, is that you don’t know how to argue. You just deal with facts, but you can’t get a good argument going with facts!” We laughed about that, but that is the point — the servant of the Lord must be an apt teacher.

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Then third, he must be “forbearing.That is a great word. It means he must keep his cool, be unruffled and not respond in kind to what people are handing him. That is not easy to do. When somebody attacks me personally in a debate, I want to attack back. I want to start with his remote ancestry and point out to him what is wrong with that, then bring it right down to the present, and show him how fouled up he is, and, furthermore, how much worse he is going to get as he proceeds into the future!But that is not what a servant of the Lord is to do. He is to recognize that when he is reviled, if he reviles in return, he has departed from the example of his Lord, who, “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; … but he trusted to him who judges justly,” (1 Peter 2:23 RSV).What that is saying is you cannot keep your cool by merely deciding not to get angry. Will power alone will not handle this kind of pressure. I have tried it. I have determined not to get upset in a certain controversy and found that as the pressure mounted and I was attacked personally I could not keep my promise to myself and I would strike back. No, it is not will power alone, it is dependence on Divine aid. It is an inward reliance on God, a calling on God to help you at that point, to recognize your weakness and help you to stand and not respond in kind. That is what forbearance refers to.

The fourth thing the apostle says sums up in a kind of a harmony of action all of the above. He says, “correcting his opponents with gentleness.” Here the word gentleness is really the word meek. And meekness is not weakness. We often think of it that way — a kind of a chinless, Casper Milquetoast type of response where one remains meek and quiet. That is not the idea. Meekness in Scripture is selflessness. Meekness is not letting yourself get involved; it is not taking things personally, in other words.

The King James Version has a very good translation here. It says, instructing “those who oppose themselves.” That shows what error does to us. When we get stubborn, when we are sure we are right, when we insist on our own point of view, and get personal, etc., what we are doing is opposing ourselves. We stand in our own way, we become our own worst enemy, and we create our own problems.

That is the revelation of this. Until we change ourselves, we will never solve the controversy. The thing we all know, but so easily forget, is that the only person we can change in a controversy is ourselves. You cannot change other people. You can force their behavior to be different, but you do not change them inside.

We all know about the little boy whose mother tried to get him to sit down and forced him to do so, but he said, “I may be sitting down outside, but I’m standing up inside.” “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” And a woman — well, she is almost as bad as a man. No, you only can change yourself. We do not think we are contributing anything to the problem, but we always are.

When an argument exists, and especially when it gets heated, angry, and personal, then we are definitely contributing to it and we are opposing ourselves; we are standing in our own way to the blessing God wants to bring.

If you are dealing with that, it requires what Paul here calls correcting.

That is a word that means “child-training” — you deal with it like a child. We have three young grandsons living with us now. Two of them have bikes which they leave right in front of the steps to the house. I have tried to tell them that is not the place to leave them because some of us older and slower people fall over them. It occurred to me the other day, after the umpteenth time that the bikes had been left there, that I had never told them where to put them.

I had only said, “Don’t leave them there.” So I took one of my grandsons and showed him where to put the bike, telling him it was just as easy to put it there, it will not get in anybody’s way, everybody will be happy with you, etc. He looked up at me and smiled. I could see that it meant a lot to him just to have me take the time to show him another way to handle the problem. That is the word that is employed here: “Instructing those who oppose themselves.” Paul is talking about training them and showing them another way to handle the problem.

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That brings us to the last and, in many ways, the most important thing of all. Paul concludes with these words:

[SIZE=-1]God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:25b-26 RSV)[/SIZE]

In dealing with controversy, the one thing the servant of the Lord must remember is the Divine possibilities that are always present. He must understand that, if he conducts himself as Paul has outlined here, there is a very real possibility that it will trigger a Divine process of three steps:The first step is, God will grant the person repentance. It is very remarkable that repentance is not something the person concerned does, it is something God enables him to do.Repentance does not mean to feel sorry; it means to change your attitude, change your heart, take a different view, a different stance on the matter. That is a gift of God. We do not run our lives. Nobody does. We think we do, but we are always either being influenced by the devil and his angels — master psychologists that they are, able to twist our thinking and influence us in ways we are not aware — or we are being led and influenced by the Spirit of God who is enabling us to do things that we could not otherwise do.

So what we can do is remember that God may grant them repentance.
The words may perhaps mean God sometimes has purposes in mind that we do not know.

All we are seeing is the immediate struggle, the immediate problem, and we would love to see it resolved. We think that that is the main purpose God has in mind as well, but not always. He is, of course, concerned about peace. He is the great Mediator.

The Lord Jesus is the One who brings peace, who breaks down middle walls of partition that separate people. But sometimes he is accomplishing something else besides, and he delays the repentance, or he is working out another purpose that we cannot see. So we cannot always count on the fact that our efforts at ending controversy are going to succeed. It may be that God will not grant repentance for his own reasons.

But if he does, then the second step is clear: “They come to know the truth,” Paul says. The way you can tell that repentance has been granted is that they agree with the Scripture. They accept it, they know it to be true, and though it may involve painful adjustments on their part, they are committed to it, they follow it.

The third step is, “and they may escape the snare of the devil.” The devil’s traps are always designed to destroy, to wreck, to ruin, to hurt, to harm, to leave people shells, full of meaningless actions that go nowhere; to take away joy and peace and love and delight. The devil does this by trapping people in ways that confuse and deceive them.

I had a very vivid example of a situation like that just this week. A young man drove five and a half hours to see me in order to talk with me about a marital problem. He and his wife are Christians, and have been married for a dozen years, but of late he had fallen in love with another woman — a familiar story in our time. He told me that he had never really felt any sense of affection for his wife, but this woman met his needs, she turned him on, and made him feel fulfilled and satisfied. Yet his conscience bothered him because he knew it was not right.

He was being terribly tormented. His business was failing, his own life was rendered miserable; he could not sleep as he was torn by these conflicting desires which he vividly explained to me. He said he had had a dream that the Lord had come and put his hand of blessing upon this union with the other woman, and said that it was the right way to go.

The man had come to me hoping that I would help resolve the conflict, and help him find a way by which he could rightly divorce his wife and marry the other woman. I did not condemn him. I understand those feelings. I did not put him down or in any way ridicule him or make him feel like he was a pariah. I explained to him what was happening.

I pointed out, as gently as I could, that no matter how delightful that other experience was, no matter how much it seemed he was being fulfilled in a way he had never been before, how it appeared to offer hope for enjoyment and blessing in his life that his marriage never had, despite all that, as God looked at the situation it fell under the description of a very ugly word. I did not even have to tell him what it was. He supplied it. “I know,” he said, “It’s adultery, isn’t it?” That is what it was, adultery.

There are some things said about adultery, what it does to us, how it destroys, how it demeans, and tears us apart, and destroys our humanity, and we looked at those. I read to him some pages out of John White’s wonderful book, Eros Defiled. Then we talked about what was happening in his own personal life as a result. As we talked, I could see that God had granted him repentance because, despite his feelings, he looked at me and said, “I know you’re right.”

Then we talked about what it would mean to go home, and give up this other woman. It would be rather like the feeling of passing through death, as though one has lost a loved one. But many people have to do that when loved ones are taken home, yet God enables a recovery to come in, and, sooner or later, they go through a process which leads at last to peace and quietness. Then this man could re-approach his marriage with a whole new look at what marriage was, and learn from this.

God takes us through circumstances like this sometimes to show us what we have not been doing about our marriages, what we can do, and what the possibilities are.

When we had finished he thanked me for having been faithful to him with the Word of truth. He went away resolving that he would pass through the death of giving up the other woman so that he might fulfill the will of God, and thus escape the snare of the devil. Had he gone on, and tried to work this out on the terms he had in mind when he first came to me, inevitably he would have ended up not getting what he wanted and having to pay all the bills along the way.

That is what always happens when we run from God, and have destroyed another person’s hopes, dreams and happiness, which we have sworn to uphold. That is what adultery does.

When we are faithful, when we conduct ourselves as Paul describes here, we trigger a Divine process that can result in release, even though that may take us through a form of death. But if we come on argumentatively, angry, and contentious, we make that process highly unlikely to occur. That is the thrust that Paul leaves us with.

May God help us to be faithful to the Scripture, yet in such a way that we are aware of the pain and the hurt that another person can be involved in. Having been involved in it ourselves to one degree or another, we understand that it is only through death that life comes.

As Jesus put it, “Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone [loneliness, emptiness, meaninglessness], but if it dies it brings forth much fruit,” (John 12:24). That is where the Apostle Paul would lead us as well.
Prayer

Lord, teach us to walk according to the truth of the Word, this wonderful Book of reality that shows us life the way it really is and enables us to see through the deceitful snares of the devil, these alluring circumstances that seem to offer so much and deliver so little. Lord, forgive us and strengthen us to walk by faith and by the Spirit in the love and grace that you provide. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

For more informaition, go here: http://www.raystedman.org/timothy/index.html (For study on Timothy)[SIZE=5]
AGAIN, PRAY IT BLESSED SOMEONE AND HELPS THEM IN THEIR BATTLE TO CONTEND FOR THE FAITH!!!!l Later…..[/SIZE]
Found another article that may prove of benefical to this particular dialouge…..On the Subject of Dialouge (By JOHN PIPER, an EXCELLENT THEOLOGIAN and truly a Man OF God on the subject), and I pray it blesses someone…

Proverbs 18:13
“If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.”
  • It is arrogant to answer before you hear. Humility does not presume that it knows precisely what a person is asking until the questioner has finished asking the question. How many times have I jumped to a wrong conclusion by starting to formulate my answer before I heard the whole question! Often it is the last word in the question that turns the whole thing around and makes you realize that they are not asking what you thought they were.
  • It is rude to answer a half-asked question. “Rude” is a useful word for Christians. It means “ill-mannered, discourteous.” The New Testament word for it is aschëmonei. It is used in 1 Corinthians 13:5 where modern versions translate it, “Love is not rude,” but the old King James Version has “Love doth not behave itself unseemly.” This means that love not only follows absolute moral standards, but also takes cultural mores and habits and customs into account. What is polite? What is courteous? What are good manners? What is proper? What is good taste? What is suitable? Love is not indifferent to these. It uses them to express its humble desire for people’s good. One such politeness is listening well to a question before you answer.

\

  • Not answering a question before you hear it all honors and respects the person asking the question. It treats the person as though their words really matter. It is belittling to another to presume to be able to finish their question before they do.
  • Careful listening to a question often reveals that the question has several layers and is really more than one question. Several questions are all mixed into one. When you see this, you can break the question down into parts and answer them one at a time. You will not see such subtleties if you are hasty with your answer and not careful in your listening.
  • A question sometimes reveals assumptions that you do not share. If you try to answer the question on the basis of your assumptions without understanding the questioner’s assumptions, you will probably speak right past him. If you listen carefully and let the person finish, you may discern what he is assuming that you do not. Then you can probe these assumptions before you answer. Often, when dealing at this level, the question answers itself. It was really about these deeper differences.
  • Questions usually have attitudes as well as content. The attitude sometimes tells you as much as the content about what is really being asked. In fact, the attitude may tell you that the words being used in this question are not all what the issue is. When that is discerned, we should not make light of the words, but seriously ask questions to see if the attitude and the words are really asking the same question. If not, which is the one the questioner really wants answered?
  • Questions have context that you need to know. So many thoughts and circumstances and feelings may be feeding into this question that we don’t know about or understand. Careful listening may help you pick up those things. It may be that there is just a small clue that some crucial circumstance is behind the question. If you catch the clue, because you are listening carefully, you may be able to draw that out and be able to answer the question so much more helpfully.
  • Questions are made up of words. Words have meanings that are formed by a person’s experience and education. These words may not carry the same meaning for both you and the questioner. If you want to answer what they are really asking, you must listen very carefully. When the possibility exists that their question is rooted in a different understanding of a word, we will be wise to talk about the meaning of our words before we talk about the answer to the question. I find that talking about the definitions of words in questions usually produces the answer to the questions.
  • Proverbs 18:13 says it is our “folly” to answer before we hear. That is, it will make us a fool. One reason for this is that almost all premature answers are based on thinking we know all we need to know. But that is “foolish.” Our attitude should be: What can I learn from this question? The fool thinks he knows all he needs to know.
  • And finally Proverbs 18:13 says that it is our “shame” to answer before we hear. What if you are asked publicly, “My wife and I have had serious problems and we were wondering . . .” and you cut the questioner off by giving your answer about the value of counseling and what counselors might be helpful. But then they say, “Well, actually, what I was going to say was, “My wife and I have had serious problems and we were wondering, now that our counseling is over and things are better than ever, how you would suggest that we celebrate?” Then you will be shamed for not listening.

Still learning to listen with you,
Pastor John Piper

[SIZE=3]GG: By the way, if anyone else desires to hear more information/Biblical teaching from the man, you can either go here to where the article was taken from ( [/SIZE][SIZE=3]http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/TasteAndSee/ByDate/2005/1311_Ten_Reasons_to_Listen_to_Questions_Before_You _Answer/[/SIZE][SIZE=3] )[/SIZE]

[SIZE=3]or go to the main site ([/SIZE][SIZE=3]http://www.desiringgod.org/[/SIZE][SIZE=3] )[/SIZE]

[SIZE=3]Blessings…..and I pray this’ information will continue to sharpen us all. Later…[/SIZE]

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5 Responses to “The ART OF CHRISTIAN DIALOUGE: Whatever happened to it? (regarding heresy, false teachings, and understanding the Word of God IN CONTEXT)”

  1. Righter said

    Righter agrees with every word…

  2. Glad to know someone was blessed by it…..

  3. […] ON DEALING WITH ER…Monika Heavener on STRONGHOLDS: My thoughts on th…Emissary/ Easy G (G… on The ART OF CHRISTIAN DIALOUGE:…kingskid49 on CONNECT (i.e. CONTACT INFO)…So, How to go about … on LINKS ON CHURCH LEADERSHIP […]

  4. […] The ART OF CHRISTIAN DIALOUGE: Whatever happened to it? (regarding heresy, false teachings, and unde… […]

  5. […] they didn't know how to talk to others unless they first agreed fully with them (more shared here and here ) James 3:12-18 Two Kinds of Wisdom 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let […]

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