Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Dealing with Doctrinal Disagreement
But the question then arises: What are the boundaries, and what is worth dividing over? That there are things to contend for is clear from Scripture (Jude 3). But we must realize our knowledge is imperfect (1 Corinthians 3:18), and while we are to diligently pursuit all Biblical truth (2 Timothy 3:16,17; 2:15), there are particular issues we need to uphold. There are certain things put forth by Scripture as fundamental, and these must be defended: the nature of God (Deuteronomy 13:1-5), the nature of Christ and of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 11:4), the sinfulness of man (1 John 1:8-10), the nature of the gospel (Galatians 1:8,9), the truth of Scripture (John 17:17), and the Second Coming (1 John 3:2,3). I am not claiming this is an absolutely comprehensive list, but I am convinced that many of the things we fight over are not on it. Therefore, there may be places where it is best to agree to disagree, if the issues are not crucial.
If we are to correct people in these crucial areas, we need a knowledge of what Scripture teaches regarding them. Those who are immature may want to bring in someone more knowledgeable to help. But it should be our goal to be mature and able to respond to people ourselves (Hebrews 5:11-14). Also, experience in dealing with those who hold false doctrine is helpful. You talk to somebody and then go back and study the issues and are better prepared next time. But most of all, we need to trust God for wisdom to be able to deal with the situation (James 1:5-7).