Dealing With Doctrinal Arguments

1ST YEAR PASTOR: I patiently listen to all theological views because I may learn something.

10TH YEAR PASTOR: I swear, if one more person says “let go and let God” to me I will punch people.



I had good intentions at one point. Honestly. I did.

I was determined to give everyone a fair hearing. Really try to understand where they were coming from, patiently listen, and give biblical advice. Of course, in my dreams my biblical advice was delivered flawlessly and with the right level of wit.

“Oh pastor, thank you so much! Until you said that ten second quip, I was lost in the torments of heresy. Thank you for delivering me!”

That’s how it was supposed to go.

But after listening to Christians argue doctrine for 30 years now, I’m not interested in figuring out where people are coming from with their doctrine.

I already know where everyone is coming from.

Everyone is coming from a place of not wanting to take responsibility for their actions. Everyone wants to sin and get away with it. The heart of most bad doctrine is a justification, maybe even a defense, of sin.

Warped doctrine is invented to justify warped living. I am increasingly convinced that if you want right doctrine, then pursue righteous action. Guilt makes you miss the point of Scripture. Guilt makes you defensive. Guilt clouds the mind and destroys doctrine.

Do what is right and right doctrine will follow. I honestly think it goes that way.

Notice how often Jesus starts a conversation by confronting behavior. Behavior reveals the heart. Dealing with sin is harder than arguing, which is why everyone is arguing.

Once a person decides to quit playing games with sin and pursue righteousness, they make progress toward sound doctrine.

I have also found that the best way to convince someone their doctrine is wrong and mine is right is by how I live. People rarely change their doctrine because of an argument.

But I have seen people change their doctrine based on the way someone with different doctrine was living. What you do is the biggest proof of what you believe.

I listen to very few doctrinal arguments anymore. I contribute to few of these arguments. I don’t like arguing anymore. Arguments are vain.

Instead, I’ve tried to focus on my desire to do what is right. To seek righteousness and let righteousness shine forth, not out of my awesomeness, but a reflection of God’s righteousness at work in me.

People like to sin and their doctrine will be shaped around how strong that desire is. Whatever sin is their hang-up, they will find a verse that lets them keep doing it.

Don’t argue with these people. Confront their behavior and live a better way.



For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men
–1 Peter 2:15

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