Should Christians Engage In Doctrinal Debates?
Part 2

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Copyright 1994 - 2020 Bill's Bible Basics

Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
June 29, 2011

Last Updated :
April 7, 2018

Purpose Of My Articles, The More We Learn The Less We Know, The Profundity Of God And His Word, Puffed Up By Knowledge, Spiritual Blindness Of The Scribes And Pharisees, Study The Scriptures And Ask For Wisdom Of The Holy Spirit, Doctrinal Debates: Time-Consuming Inefficient And Ineffective, Redeem The Time, Parable Of The Sower: Mass Distribution, Writing For Posterity, Not Everyone Will Agree, Evolving Theology, Being Adaptable, Ensuring Our Beliefs Align With God's Word, Be Fully Persuaded In Your Own Mind, Stand Firm, Conclusion

With this article, I have now provided you with a Scriptural basis which clearly explains why I personally have chosen to refrain from engaging in doctrinal disputes and debates. For years now, rather than become involved in online doctrinal debates, I have strived to share my beliefs in the hundreds of articles which I have written. In each article or series, I have done my best to support my views with the Scriptures, so that my readers can see why I believe the things that I do. My articles are a reflection of me, and who I am. Thus we can say that to read my articles is really to know me.

This is why when communicating with people via email, or perhaps on one of the social networks in which I participate, such as Facebook, I will frequently refer them to my articles. It isn't so much self-promotion as some people may be inclined to think, but rather, it is an invitation to get to know me better and in a more in-depth manner. More importantly, it is an opportunity to come to know and understand God and His Word in a more profound way. My articles represent many years of personal Biblical research, and I hope that you will avail yourself of them, so that you can be spiritually enriched by the many things which I have discovered and learned.

As I explain on my site's home page, I do not claim to know everything, or to understand everything that is contained in the Bible. In fact, I have often said that the more I learn from God's Word, the more I come to realize how little I do understand. You might say that the more we learn, the less we know; that is to say, we come to recognize how very little we actually do know. The Bible is just that profound. Consider the following verses:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:8-9, KJV

"Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number."
Job 9:10, KJV

"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!"
Romans 11:33, KJV

On the other hand, as the Apostle Paul informs us, problems arise when immature Christians boast, and erroneously assume that they know more than they actually do know. Consider the following verses which expose this vanity:

". . . we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know."
1 Corinthians 8:1b-2, KJV

"And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing."
1 Corinthians 13:2, KJV

"Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness . . . Therefore let no man glory in men . . . And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?"
1 Corinthians 3:18-19, 21a, 4:6-7, KJV

"For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."
Hebrews 5:12-14, KJV

The Scribes and the Pharisees of old were certainly puffed up with knowledge and the letter of the Law; but as Jesus so pointedly informed them, they were so spiritually blind that they were not even able to recognize their very own Messiah, as we see by these verses:

"Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch."
Matthew 15:12-14, KJV

"Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! . . . Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel."
Matthew 23:24, KJV

"And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other."
Mark 3:5, KJV

"And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?"
Luke 6:39, KJV

"For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in."
Romans 11:25, KJV

"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
1 Corinthians 2:14, KJV

"Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:"
Ephesians 4:18, KJV

So as we can see, one can be wise in his own eyes, and even in his knowledge of the Scriptures, and still be as blind as a bat, just like the self-righteous Scribes and Pharisees.

As I explained in part one, quite often, it is this false assumption of thinking that we know more than we actually do, as well as wounded pride and inflated egos, which leads to divisive doctrinal debates. Due to our pride and vanity, we just feel that we have to impress other people, and prove to them that we know more than everyone else, when maybe we really don't. What immaturity. We all need to be honest with ourselves, and recognize our limitations. As I point out in the article "Study, Work and Don't Be Ashamed", in the areas where we are lacking knowledge, we simply need to devote more time to studying the Scriptures, and ask God for His Wisdom through the Holy Spirit. As the Apostle James writes:

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."
James 1:5, KJV

There is one other important reason why I choose to refrain from engaging in doctrinal debates as much as possible. The simple truth of the matter is that once debates start, they seem to acquire a life of their own, and they can easily become quite time-consuming. As I'm sure you can understand, my time is very important to me, and the older I become, the more important my time becomes to me. I still have a lot to accomplish for the Lord in my life, so it is important that I use my time as wisely and as efficiently as possible. As I explain in the article "Are You Redeeming the Time?", the Apostle Paul admonishes us with the following words:

"Redeeming the time, because the days are evil."
Ephesians 5:16, KJV

"Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time."
Colossians 4:5, KJV

While some people may not realize it, this online ministry keeps me extremely busy. It is a lot for one man alone to manage. In fact, I am always behind in my work, and there are some articles and series which have been waiting for literally months or years to be updated or completed.

When I permit people to drag me into one-on-one doctrinal debates, it robs me of valuable time which could be better invested working on articles which will eventually help and spiritually nourish many more people. Writing email messages to one individual which will more than likely never be read by anyone else, or posting comments on a messageboard which will someday go offline -- here today gone tomorrow is the nature of the Internet -- or debating doctrine in an online chatroom where comments eventually disappear, is simply not as efficient, effective or permanent as writing an article which may be read by many thousands in the long term.

That is how I prioritize things in my life. I am interested in mass distribution, just as Jesus instructed us to do in the Parable of the Sower. I believe in liberally spreading abroad the Word of God, and widely scattering the seed, and becoming trapped in lengthy doctrinal debates prevents me from doing that. In fact, while it may seem odd to some people, I sometimes get the sense that I am not writing for now; rather, I am writing for the future. I am writing for posterity. While I may have a very small online audience at this current time, who knows what may happen in the future as the world continues to grow spiritually darker and more sinful. Is it possible that some day, long after I am gone from this Earth, some hungry sheep who is desperate to find the truth will discover my work for the Lord and be blessed by it? God knows.

As I said, by choosing to spend the bulk of my time writing articles, I am creating a more permanent record. Stop and think about this: For decades after Jesus returned to His Father in Heaven, the Apostles and Disciples continued to preach the Gospel until they likewise went to their Heavenly Rewards. Who knows how many countless sermons were preached to live audiences by the likes of Peter, Paul and all of the rest, as they traveled throughout Israel, into Asia, across North Africa and around the Mediterranean region. Yet, the only record we have today are the things which they took the time to write down. That is why my writing work is important to me. Long after I am gone, hopefully, it will still speak to others.

Concerning the contents of my articles, let me say this. Obviously, regardless of how much I may be convinced of my views, I realize and recognize that not everyone will agree with me, no matter how many Scriptures I share with them in my articles, and no matter how powerful of an argument I may present. In fact, as I briefly explain on my BBB home page, even I continually question and examine some of my beliefs. I embrace what I like to refer to as an "evolving theology". What this means is that as my understanding of God's Word continues to expand as a result of a diligent study of the Scriptures, the doctrines and beliefs which I embrace must also be able to adapt to any new truths which the Lord may choose to reveal to me. In fact, all of us must be fluid and adaptable in this sense, as otherwise, we will stop growing spiritually. I discuss this same topic in the article "Are You Just a Baby Huey?".

Whether or not someone agrees with my point of view is their choice. As I have often said, I don't mind if someone doesn't agree with me; just don't expect me to engage in a debate if you don't. What I have written, I have written. It does not upset me or offend me in the least when people don't accept what I have written, although some people seem to prefer to believe otherwise. The main consideration should be whether or not our beliefs are in alignment with God's Word. So if you happen to disagree with me on a particular issue, that's alright; just be careful that you don't contradict the Bible. If you disagree with me but can't validate your own position with God's Word, then I would begin to worry.

When all is said and done, each one of us must choose to live and believe according to our own personal faith, as we are convinced in our own minds and hearts by God's Word. As the Apostle Paul advised the Disciples in Rome:

"One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind."
Romans 14:5, KJV

While Paul was obviously discussing the debates which were occurring between the brethren regarding which holy days had to be observed, his overall advice applies to us all. In the end, we will each be judged by God as individuals; and we'll each be required to give an account for ourselves. As such, it is imperative that we establish our beliefs in our own minds and hearts, and then stand firm no matter what. Just watch out for time-consuming doctrinal debates which only lead to envy and strife. Allow me to again remind you of the following verses:

"If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,"
1 Timothy 6:3, 4, KJV

Please don't allow yourself to get caught up in that divisive net. With these verses I will bring another article to its conclusion. I trust that it has been a blessing in your life. If you have an account with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or with any other social network, I would appreciate if you would take the time to click on the corresponding link that is found on this page. Thanks so much, and may God bless you abundantly!

For additional information, you may want to refer to the list of reading resources below which were also mentioned in this article, or which are related to this article, and which are likewise located on the Bill's Bible Basics web server.

A Biblical Cafeteria, or the Whole Course?
Are You Just a Baby Huey?
Are You Redeeming the Time?
Humility in Our Understanding of God's Word
Study, Work and Don't Be Ashamed

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