Before We Publicly Engage in Controversies like Evolutionary Theory.
In my denomination (Canadian and American Reformed Church) the debate over the validity of Evolutionary Theory within the Biblical creation account is heating up. It appears (not surprisingly) to be a very polarizing issue in the church with many who are against it saying that those who teach it are wolves in sheep’s clothing who are undermining the Word of God, heretics and false prophets. Those who are in favour of it claim that they are not false teachers, rather that they are simply addressing the difficulties that science presents; and attempting to do so within the framework of scripture and confession.
Regardless of where you or I stand on this issue, we should not remain as ostriches with our heads in the sand refusing to admit that these differences exist. (Actually ostriches don’t stick their heads in the sand – but you get my analogy …) However, when I read articles that attack a person by name, I have to cringe and pray for all involved. We are all still brothers in Christ and should accept each other as such until the time comes that this issue is resolved either as a damnable heresy or a truth that falls in line with God’s Word. I know where I stand on it but I am not going to get into this debate right now, if you wish to know my views on this particular topic feel free to invite me over for coffee. I know a little, but hardly enough to engage in a debate of this magnitude on my little soapbox.
With that said, I am not completely opposed to controversy. That much is for sure. In this blog I have tackled controversial topics such as vasectomy, birth control, abortion, liberalism, as well as my own denominations need to address the areas in need of reformation such as our participation in evangelism, a higher view of living a life of thankfulness and other topics. Even at Men’s Society and other arenas I will say things that may be construed as controversial. Occasionally I play the role of “devil’s advocate” and if I do, rarely will I let you know that I am until well after the fact. I won’t intentionally proclaim heresy, so if I do then please slap me. But I will, and do, walk a fine line and the reason for it is simply to get people diving into God’s Word. When that happens, when you dive into the Word of God – even to prove me wrong – my goal is achieved. I cannot change your heart or make you believe anything, that is God’s job, but I can do what I can to help lead you His Word…Sorry for the deception.
The following article gives us 10 questions to ask ourselves before engaging in controversial topics like this. I think we would do well to ask ourselves these in relation to the debate raging in our churches over Evolutionary Theory.
1. HAVE I PRAYED? Prayer is the easiest thing to do and, perhaps, the easiest thing to forget. Before we engage in controversy, we are called to humbly seek the Lord, praying for ourselves and for the one with whom we disagree.
2. WHAT IS MY MOTIVE? We do well to question our motives without questioning others’. We are arrogant to think we can judge the motives of others’ when we can’t even understand our own motives at times. We need to ask the Spirit to search our hearts and reveal any wickedness.
3. AM I STRIVING TO EDIFY OTHERS? Are we striving to win an argument for the sake of the argument, or is our aim to bring the person with whom we disagree, and our audience, into closer conformity with the Word of God for the glory of God? Is our goal to show our intelligence or to point others to God and His Word?
4. HAVE I SOUGHT COUNSEL? We desperately need to seek out wisdom from our brothers in Christ, particularly older men and women who have grown more gentle, loving, and wise as they have matured in the Spirit. We need to seek out wisdom from our pastors and elders, and even from wise brothers with whom we might disagree.
5. WOULD I NOT RATHER BE WRONGED? When someone has criticized us, fairly or not, publicly or privately, it is not always necessary to respond. Love covers a multitude of sins, and our humble silence or turning of our cheek can turn away another’s wrath.
6. HOW WILL I TREAT THE PERSON WITH WHOM I DISAGREE? Are we showing love to our brother that the world might know we are fellow disciples of Christ? Are we treating our “opponent” as a brother in Christ or as an enemy of the church?
7. AM I INVOLVING A BIGGER AUDIENCE THAN NECESSARY? Is this a public or private matter? Also, is this a primary matter or is it secondary? Have godly men disagreed about this throughout history, and, if so, how should that affect my tone? Are we responding to a real controversy or are we actually creating one or making it a bigger issue than it really is?
8. AM I THE RIGHT PERSON TO ENGAGE? We often think more highly of ourselves than we ought, and we seldom esteem others as better than ourselves. We need to ask ourselves if something needs to be said, and if we are the ones to say it. Simply because we have a platform to speak to an issue doesn’t mean we always need to use it.
9. WHAT IS MY ULTIMATE GOAL? What are we aiming for? What truth are we defending? Will our engagement further advance the gospel and love for God and neighbor? Our goal ought never to be mere provocation.
10. AM I FOCUSED ON GOD’S GLORY? Are we serving God’s kingdom or our own kingdom and name? Our goal is not to gain more readers or listeners, but to point all eyes to Christ for His glory. If we must engage in controversy, let us only and always do so for God’s kingdom and glory, not our own.
Read this article in its entirety here. This article originally from Ligonier Ministries and R.C. Sproul. © Tabletalk magazine. Website: www.ligonier.org/tabletalk. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Toll free: 1-800-435-4343.
To close, yes this a picture of my girls. I thought it was nice. 🙂
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