Give Yourself to Others …

How doctrinal debates often miss the point

Posted on: 2008/10/14

I don’t want you to misunderstand the point I’m about to make.  I agree there is value is discussion about the meaning to the Text.  It’s an important part of growing in understanding and maturity of our faith.

But, I also believe there is a limit to such value.  Often this limitation becomes even stronger as the vigor of any given position increases.  Here’s why:

In an ultimate sense, when we debate/discuss what the Text means, we are debating what the proper doctrine should be.  Another way to say that is “we’re debating what is right and what is wrong.”  In and of itself, there is nothing wrong with that, but such discussions often lead us to judge the faith of other believers.

And the Text itself says we should not be judging the faith of other believers, only God is their judge.

After all, to condemn someone with whom I disagree on some doctrinal matter is to disregard two things:

  1. it is tantamount to imposing a new law on someone, when Jesus repeated said he came to do away with Law as an approach to finding righteousness before God.
  2. by implication, it says what God has forgiven me of is less significant than what he has forgiven you of — which is an absurd position.
After all, “we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  So, it is irrelevant that God may have forgiven me of different things than he’s forgiven you of.
We are both forgiven.  And we’ve both been forgiven a lot.
And that forgiveness is evidence of how much God loves us.  And Jesus said we’re to love the way he loved us.  If that is the standard, then what doctrinal view is it that you might hold that would make me not love you and try to treat you with as much love as Jesus did?
There should be nothing that can separate you from me — because there is nothing that can separate you from the love of God.
That is the limit of doctrinal debates.
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1 Response to "How doctrinal debates often miss the point"

True, True. My understanding that leads me to agree with you may be slightly different but is the same none the less. As I study God’s word I have become more reformed in my theology. This is a big change from my upbringing but some (not all) of my doctrinal positions have changed in light of scripture. As a believer, we are to teach, sharpen, correct and even rebuke when necessary using scripture. However, unless a fellow brother or sister in Christ is committing sin that they refuse to repent of (Matthew and Corinthians examples) and you follow the proper guidelines set down in scripture, we are to remain in fellowship with them. That means that just because we have some difference in doctrinal understanding we are not break fellowship with them. For how does Christ say that the world will know we are His but how we love one another. It is a clever scheme of Satan and our sinful nature that causes us to have such disharmony amongst believers. I am sure that once we stand before God one day we will all crumble in His presence at the error of so many of our ways.

Dan

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