This month’s Tabletalk magazine focuses on something I’m good at: controversy. What I fail at however, is controversy to God’s glory, not so much my right answers.
First, Al Mohler notes that we need to call out heresy sometimes. “The only way to avoid all controversy would be to consider nothing we believe important enough to defend and no truth too costly to compromise.” At some point, we do need to defend our faith and the risk of losing friends.
The next four articles focus on a letter written by the hymn-writer, John Newton, called On Controversy. Keith Mathison remarks how new Calvinists should be in a “cage stage” or simply locked in a cage until he stops being argumentative, when his conversations no longer degenerate into the “moral equivalent of the World Wrestling Federation.” What mature believers should do is to consider whether the person in need of correcting is a believer or not. Then we start by simply praying for him and to give him God’s teaching from Scripture, not your own opinion.
Robert Rothwell then advises to consider the people who will see your differences with the world. Will they confuse meekness, humility, and love with never standing up for oneself? We need to argue from God’s Word and not our own authority.
Then, Burk Parsons exhorts us to consider ourselves. Are you engaging in controversy to be right, or are you trying to preserve the peace and unity of the church?
Ultimately, Sinclair Ferguson asks if we are arguing for God’s glory. For myself, I need to pray at least one day before I decide to post some controversy on Facebook, and many times I don’t need to say anything. I just need to share what God teaches in the Bible.