Defending the faith? OR Arguing about it?

Anyone who has heard a handful of my sermons knows that I’m not one to shy away from a controversy or to be afraid to call “wrong” WRONG.  I believe with all my heart that Christians (and their Pastors/Elders) must make careful distinctions about what is true gospel teaching and what is not.

But having said that… there’s a very fine line between being a defender of the faith and simply being argumentative.  I’ve noticed that Paul makes that distinction in his writings to Timothy and Titus, and I’ve honestly had trouble understanding the difference at times.

I recently read an article, the first in a series, by Tim Keller, Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, NY.  In that article, recounting an event in the life of Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones, he says the following,

In their meeting, Shields asked Lloyd-Jones if he enjoyed reading the works of another contemporary defender of orthodoxy. Lloyd-Jones said that he seldom read the author, because “he doesn’t help me spiritually.” Shields asked, “Surely you are helped by the way he makes mincemeat of the liberals?” Lloyd-Jones responded, “You can make mincemeat of the liberals and still be in trouble in your own soul.”

That’s helpful to me.  Very helpful.

How often have I been up in arms about a controversy or bad teaching and at the same time been in a bad place in my own soul because of it?  I’m not sure I know the answer to that question, but I’m confident it’s been more than I’d care to admit.  I guess it’s speaking to the issue of a sorry attitude – and I can have as much of it as the next guy.

Lord, humble me to be a defender of Your truth because it is Yours, not because I perversely feel superior to those who are not embracing it.   Remind me constantly of the great gift of grace it is that I have Your truth at all.  Help me to be a servant who knows You deeply, and speaks from that well of life and refreshment, rather than one who knows “about” You, and speaks tepid words that don’t satisfy as a result.

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Defending the faith? OR Arguing about it?

  1. I think of Paul’s tone in Colossians. He addresses the false teaching, but he does it out of love. You can just feel the pleading in his voice as he tries to protect the sheep of the Colossian church from incorrect theology. Yet, his goal wasn’t to make mincemeat of his enemies. His goal wasn’t to pad his own ego. His goal was to protect the sheep.

  2. Amen, Loren. Paul was also wonderful speaker in Acts. Jesus built up Paul from a calloused “pharisee intellect” to a loving but firm “messenger of the Gospel”.

    I enjoyed reading this topic.

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