Christian Unity: Practical Issues Worth Arguing Over

I was asked in a comment about practical issues worth arguing over.  Some of those are addressed at the doctrine page on my new church history web site.

The practical issues that are worth arguing over are . . . ready for this?

Practical issues.

It’s What We Do That Matters

There’s so many Scriptures saying this that I don’t know where to start.

2 Tim. 2:19 says the firm foundation of God stands sure, and it has this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his, and let those who name the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”

This is the foundation: let’s turn away from iniquity.

Jesus died to purify for himself a peculiar people "zealous for good works" (Tit. 2:14).

What is Sound Doctrine

Paul says what sound doctrine is in Titus 2:1-10. If you haven’t read through that with the idea in mind that those verses describe sound doctrine, then you need to.

It could change your life.

Today we Christians don’t know what sound doctrine is. So it has changed our lives for the worst.

Paul describes our problem exactly. He knew what the lack of sound doctrine would cause. Listen to this:

If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to sound words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, then . . .

. . . he knows nothing! Instead, he  has a neurotic obsession with arguments and debates, from which come envy, strife, slander, wicked suspicions, and empty pratter from men destitute of the truth and who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.

1 Timothy 6:3-5 (translation is mine, but it’s accurate)

Titus 2:1-10. You should read it. That’s sound doctrine, and if you do not consent to it, then . . .

Well, then you’ll end up like so many others are.

The Righteous Man Will Be Taught by God

It is not deception that you should fear. It is disobedience.

The disobedient person has no hope. God may deceive that person himself! On purpose! (2 Thess. 2:10ff)

Jesus once said, “If anyone wants to do my will, then he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God.”

I believe the ultimate example of this truth is the letters in the book of the Revelation, chapters 2-3. There, Jesus sent seven letters to seven churches. Five of them are upbraided, and every one that is rebuked is rebuked for one thing: their deeds.

Why should Jesus worry about their being deceived? He’s able to send them letters because he’s alive and real.

He’s able to speak to them because he’s given them his Spirit.

However, if they don’t obey and walk by the Spirit, then all his correction won’t do them a bit of good!

Obedience to God triumphs over everything. It is the one thing worth arguing for!

Promises that God Will Teach Us

Modern Christians worry about doctrine, and the doctrines they worry about are not the ones Paul worried about (Tit. 2:1-10 again).

If we’d worry about the right things, we wouldn’t have to worry about those things.

God has said in the Scriptures that we don’t need anyone to teach us. The Spirit will teach us (us, not me–the Greek is plural in 1 John 2:27). The context is specifically concerning those who are trying to deceive us (v. 26).

Then God adds through the apostle Paul that if we will obey and speak the truth to one another and do our part, then we won’t be blown about by winds of teaching coming from deceivers (Eph. 4:11-16).

What the Apostles Argued About

Look at what’s written in the letters of the apostles. They were concerned about the disciples living disobedient to God.

Yes, there’s exceptions. Paul was concerned about people who taught things like that the resurrection was already past. John was concerned about people who taught that Jesus didn’t come in the flesh.

There are some theological issues that are basic to our faith. You need to believe that Jesus died and shed his blood for you. We can’t have people in the church denying truths like that.

However, even in those cases, you can see that behavior was an issue, too. The people who taught that Jesus didn’t come in the flesh were also living unrighteously. John was very quick to say that those who live righteously are of God (1 Jn. 3:7-10).

Paul is concerned about people who “profess to know God, but in works they deny him.”

Restoring the Foundation

We need a restoration today. We don’t need great, insightful people. We need obedient people.

Obedient people will be taught by God, and they won’t need worldly wisdom or a high IQ. They will overthrow the wise of the earth.

That’s the foundation of God: let those who name the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

That’s worth arguing over.

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