Practicing Christianity while talking about Christianity can be difficult, especially when passions run high.
30:33 For as churning cream produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife.
When discussing religious views, there are two rules:
- Be respectful.
- Manage your emotions.
With these two rules acting as a framework for the discussion, we can set the parameters for discussion using this diagram:
- Belief that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and invites all people to join Him in a personal relationship is where we unite.
- The dogma (absolute truths) about Jesus is where discussion begins. A person doesn’t have to know the dogma in order to trust in Jesus.
- Doctrine is where most debate comes in. Interpretation of text, both literal and theological, can be personal. Viewpoints must be taken for what they are: a person’s personal views which are based upon how he interprets the Scriptures.
- Personal opinion is just that: a person’s opinion. Anything outside of Scripture falls into this category.
Labeling, and even vilifying, each other as heretics over personal opinion, doctrine, or even dogma does not reflect the teachings of Christ, help the cause of Christ, or make outsiders want to join us. We must remember that Jesus is responsible for each of His followers, not us. We all answer to the Chief Shepherd. Also, we are to be stars shining in the universe (Philippians 2:15). We can’t really do that if we are attacking each other, “If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other” (Galatians 5:15).
Here is a great way to live our lives,
5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:5-6
This verse includes other believers/followers. Just sayin.
Abba, there is so much I have to learn that I simply cannot be dogmatic about anything except who You are. May we have great endurance and patience with each other when discussing doctrine and even dogma. I want to learn even from those with whom I disagree. I’m going to take my own advice and chill…amen.