Theological Weaponry and Words

901898_95139400I read this the other day and it really struck me. “I don’t think God is glorified by tightly crafted argument wielded as weaponry.” Sarah Bessey 

Sarah was commenting on how we seek to craft our theological arguments into weapons that win the argument, break the defense of others, and cause harm. I think this is both sad and true.

So often when God enters into the conversation, rather than discussion and sharing, we debate and argue.

Now don’t get me wrong I love theology, I love debating, and wrestling with God and theological issues. The point is that there is often a point in a conversation where it becomes less about wrestling with an idea or with God, and more about wrecking another person’s views.

I’m not saying that I believe everyone has a right or correct view. But so often rather than trying to help one another grow, we try to show through our intellectual prowess, mastery of theological language, or biblical understanding that our position is not only better – that your position is stupid, small, and clearly wrong. That you, as a person, are clearly stupid, small, and wrong for believing…whatever.

The point is that we argue not to grow in theological understanding; so often we argue to prove we are better than someone else. And I agree with Sarah, God is not pleased when we try to prove our worth by proving someone else’s deficiency whether that is in relation to morals, actions, or theological belief.

So I’m all for wrestling, discussion, and growing. I just want there to be grace and love in the midst of dialogue and debate. Because the truth is I hold my beliefs strongly, and I think you should too. Let’s just make sure that our strongly held beliefs don’t slide over from being strongly held to violently pushed, coercively driven, and hatefully argued.

4 thoughts on “Theological Weaponry and Words

  1. This is great.

    I have found that you can have a strong, coherent and Scripturally supported argument, and yet still be ‘wrong’.

    We should argue (debate, converse, discuss…) to grow. Both in our understanding of the issue at hand as well as our understanding of each other.

    We study the Bible, not to know the Bible, but to encounter the author.

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    1. Very true and poignant. I love what you said about studying the Bible not to know the Bible, but to encounter that author. That’s so true. The point isn’t just to know lots, but to come to know God in a deeper way. Thanks!

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  2. I think we need to look at it in the same way as Jesus said to “love your enemy”. I’m not saying everyone with an opposing opinion is your enemy, but we can apply the same response. To love our enemy is to “want what’s best for them”. When you face opposition with an attitude of “Jesus would want what’s best for both of us”, you tend to be more open minded, respectful and graceful in your discussion, rather than argumenative.

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    1. That’s brilliant Byron. You’re absolutely right that we need to have the same attitude of Jesus (love your enemies) while discussing Jesus. And I especially think your point of having an attitude of “Jesus would want what’s best for both of us” is not only true, but also very wise!

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