The lazy Christian has his mouth full of complaints, when the active Christian has his heart full of comforts. – Thomas Brooks
I written many times on subjects like these mainly because I see grave damage, division and distance happening among the people of Christ due to opinions, correction and the like in the name of “truth” being purveyed on social streams. It is never incorrect to want to correct error, but it is not the call of the church to correspond with every fool and his foolishness. It would be a better practice to privately message folks that you feel the need to help and most of the time, to just stop continued theological error from showing up in your data feeds.
Polemics are necessary, but FEW are actually gifted in the wisdom of doing it. Paul was the master of polemics, and yet, he never chastised false teachers or responded to their continued errors. Rather, he spoke the truth in love for the sake of the church. He wrote letters concerning their listening to errors and condoning such. He politely questioned the Greeks in an effort to preach the gospel so that ‘some’ would be made alive in Christ. The point is that we are to be preaching truth NOT to correct all the world’s lies, but to afford the great grace of God its supreme power to transform lives.
This world is not about us and while we should be stirred in our spirit when lies are shared and stupid theology is “memed”, we should recognize our calling and be about the business of our Father and not the business of the devil. The world will never change, the lies will never stop, the heresy will never cease and our job is to make disciples, rebuke, teach, and correct… with all respect and all the affection of Christ. After all, the reason the body teaches truth is for God to get the glory in its planting and sprouting.
Let’s look at 2 Timothy 2:23-26 for a minute.
Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.
Do you see this? Have nothing to do with means just that. Stop involving yourself with quarrelsome people. Scripture is clear that when you warn a brother of false teaching and he doesn’t heed, that you should have the church make noise and move him away from you. Just a reminder, you don’t divorce yourself from the fellowship of true saints but rather cut the bad ones out.
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.
Even when we are to engage, it should be done with KINDNESS. Even to the apostate and WICKED evil doers who desire to blaspheme. We can be kind while being firm and strong in Christ and His word. We are to TEACH with ability, not promoting commentary from others as “copies” of another’s insight, but through the word of God taking another to truth and showing them error. Too often we like to feel right because someone else has shown us the wrong in others.
PATIENCE is the key. It took YOU and ME a long time to see some errors… afford others the time for the Lord to work in them. After all, WE may be just the vehicle He has purposed to use for their joy in truth! So we patiently ENDURE evil. We put up with it for a season waiting for the Lord to do His gracious work as we GENTLY correct our opponents.
God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
See the MOTIVE behind it all? That God would save these evil ones. That He would graciously open their eyes to the truth. That they would be given the GIFT OF REPENTANCE so that they would find the knowledge of THE TRUTH. This is salvation. This is the work of God. This is the reason we correct, not just to keep the flock safe and pure, God does that by the way, but that those who are lost among us will find Christ as their only hope and turn from their self sufficient non-gospel religion.
So the next time you feel the need to answer the internet, just don’t. In response, share the gospel, not the NotGospel… and watch your heart be at peace and the work of God continue through you. There is always a time and place for every debate, but the billboard approach of indirect self-righteous “rightness” doesn’t do it for us, a holy people.
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes. (Proverbs 26:4-5 ESV)
Stay full of Joy beloved.