IS IT POSSIBLE TO STOP IT?
I talked with someone last week who was new to blogging. I noticed a comment he’d made in a stream where we Baptists were arguing and debating theology. He wrote that it seemed as though folks were talking past one another in order to make a point. I asked him to email me and he related, “Our intra-mural squabblings give us a bad name. It belies an intolerance below the surface that is neither Christ-like, nor good for the work of the kingdom.”
The apostle Peter said, “In your hearts set Christ apart as holy, as Lord. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. However, do this with gentleness and respect, keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are accused, those who denounce your Christian life will be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.” 1 Peter 3:-15-17
What is “the hope that is within you”? Wouldn’t you think that since we should be gentle with the lost person, and to treat them with respect, that we should go even farther, and be even more diligent, in our efforts to show Christ living within us by our actions, words, and discussions when we talk with a brother or sister in Christ? When we talk about them with others? Maybe that is why Paul told Timothy:
“Remind [the people] of these facts and [solemnly] charge them in the presence of the Lord to avoid petty controversy over words, which does no good but upsets and undermines the faith of the hearers. Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth. But avoid all empty (vain, useless, idle) talk, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness.” 2 Timothy 2:14-16
Does controversy over words do anyone any good? Do arguments undermine the faith of the hearers? Have you been party to leading others “into more and more ungodliness”? Avoid “all” empty talk. Not some. But all. Wonder what Peter would say to us…and Paul…should they venture into our blog-streams today? selahV