The Challenge of Contending

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Revmitchell, Apr 22, 2015.

  1. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
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    ....Jude: the letter that changed everything

    In its opening verses, Jude’s epistle delivers an urgent appeal: all Christians are to defend the faith vigorously against those who would distort and pervert the truth of the gospel (Jude 3-4). We are all called to contend for the faith. But our contending should not be characterized by fiery polemics, even toward our fiercest opponents. Instead our contending should be characterized consistently by one thing: mercy. “Have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh,” Jude wrote (Jude 22-23).

    Easier said than done, of course. Just like when my wife and I disagree over who’s the rightest person in the room, we’re going to struggle with what’s worth fighting for and what’s not. Sometimes we’re going to get it wrong. Sometimes we’re going to hurt someone else in the process. But if our contending is to be characterized by mercy, we can’t ignore our duty. We have to navigate the tension, as difficult as that may be. Here are two things to remember as we contend:

    Demonstrate humility: Christians can and must contend without being contentious. Just like Jude’s audience, we have been called by, purchased by, and kept for Jesus Christ. Whatever insights we may have into Scripture are not due to our superior intellectual or moral attainments—they are gifts from God meant to bring him glory and honor (cf. 2 Peter 1:3–8). This is why, in all our contending, we must reject “an unhealthy craving for controversy” (“1 Timothy 6:4), and instead “be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people” (Titus 3:1–2)....


    ...Love others: Contending is not about making doctrine more important than people. Jesus’ message to the church at Ephesus is instructive for us on this point. In Revelation 2, we read:

    I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. (Revelation 2:2-3)...


    ...There is a tension in contending that requires us to uphold both people and doctrine. We cannot contend without love for people any more than we can contend without a love for truth. As Storms says, “Doctrinal precision is absolutely necessary. But it isn’t enough. May God grant us grace to love others with no less fervor than we love the truth.”


    http://ftc.co/blog/posts/the-challenge-of-contending
     
  2. Rebel

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    This is very good. Thanks for posting it!
     
  3. Rolfe

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    Thread subject for the Cal/Non area?
     
  4. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
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    Php 1:15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:
    Php 1:16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:
    Php 1:17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.


    Paul here suggests that some may preach Christ with the wrong motives. Simply preaching Christ does not justify the attitude behind the preaching. Motives must be pure rather than ambitious. Motives must be out of love for the person being spoken too rather than just to prove someone wrong. Do we preach Christ sincerely with loving motives or with contentious motives?
     
  5. Calypsis4

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    Thank you for that. I agree but it's noy easy to do.

    God bless you.
     
  6. HankD

    HankD
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    Good post Rev!

    HankD
     

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