Christian Disagreements

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Leading A Church

There are some things that the Bible is clear on that some Christians and many deluded non-Christians will argue against

  • Women aren’t permitted to be pastors or in any position that rules over men (1 Timothy 2:9-15)
    • Some people make the claim that it’s sexist, but it’s not if gender distinctions are real and created by God
    • Many women in “pastor” roles are actually simply preachers, so that can be conceded, but it’s still straddling the line
  • Women should exercise a strong modesty while in church and cover their heads (1 Corinthians 11)
    • The reason could be because a woman’s hair is her glory and a man’s glory is his woman, which effectively places a veil on a believer’s glory until the unveiling (Revelation 21:1-3)
    • In most modern societies, women should work on other elements of modesty first, such as their tongues
  • Homosexuality is a sin (Romans 1:26-27)
    • As much as it is a sin, it’s just as much a sin as any other sexual sins like fornication or adultery (1 Corinthians 6:18)
    • One reason Christians have a hard time with it is because it goes against the natural male-female dynamic, and they will often attack the person instead of addressing the sin
    • This is a fine line to cross, and applying the truth is a subject of never-ending debate in most Christian communities
  • Hell is eternal, and was reserved for Satan and his angels (Matthew 25:41, Jude 1:7)
    • Some people claim that hell isn’t eternal or it’s a figurative state of mind, but that doesn’t match the descriptions
    • Other people don’t imagine how an all-loving God could handle
  • There are people who have heard God’s message very clearly and are worse off from it (Deuteronomy 13:6-11, Hebrews 6:4-8, 2 Peter 2:20-22)
    • These people have followed Jesus in some way, and now have absolutely no redemption available to them
    • Many people believe they were never following Jesus, but these people have literally no excuse of ignorance, so it’s hard to tell
    • This one is extremely uncomfortable, but shows clearly how much God hates sin and how huge Jesus’ sacrifice really was
    • Some people try to argue whether this person was a Christian at all, but they clearly were in some clear way following Jesus

Some things aren’t as blatantly clear, but the Bible can still be used to defend the correct stance

  • Many Christians, especially new ones, ask if certain things are permissible to do
    • Because of grace, any Christian can literally practice anything when they first convert and for a short time afterwards (Ephesians 2:8-9)
      • Sins you’ll discover in a new Christian can include drug/alcohol abuse, bad language, sexual immorality/porn and gateway occult activities
      • Permissible things can include drinking alcohol at all, dancing, watching horror movies, romance before marriage
    • Because of Christ’s sacrifice, everything is permissible in Christ, though not everything has a benefit (1 Corinthians 6:12,10:23)
      • Your body is a temple to the Lord, and therefore you should do it out of love for Him (1 Corinthians 6:13-19)
      • You need to pay attention to others around you and their spiritual walk (1 Corinthians 10:24)
      • For the sake of love you should watch every action you perform for others’ benefit (Romans 14)
        • Others with a problem about something under grace have a weak faith that you might not have
        • However, they are serving God by standing strong against it, and you bringing it up could cause them to sin
        • You need to love them and bear with them with their reservations in mind
      • This burden of choosing to walk in faith while respecting others’ faithlessness can apply to unexpected life circumstances
        • Some people have faith problems with medical care decisions, observing certain days and following God’s lead
    • For the sake of your spiritual walk, watch for what kind of media you consume, especially fiction stories
      • Look at the protagonist and antagonist and what values they represent
        • Pay attention to inversions of roles with plot twists, since an ending can change the entire message of the story
      • Look at the hero’s needs, weaknesses or faults and how they are being fulfilled or played with through the story
      • Pay attention to the redemption of the story through the hero’s conclusion near the end to see what the storyteller wants you to believe
        • Look at the factors that brought the characters to their conclusions, such as the events that start the story
      • Also look at the opponent’s rationale to see what the storyteller wants you to decide against
      • Look at who wins, who loses, who dies and why
        • Whoever wins is reflecting the storyteller’s model of how we should act, and great writing will closely reflect a real-life example
          • Anyone who loses is showing an opposite value of what the storyteller wants us to behave by
          • If both sides win, ask what “third option” is being shown by the story
        • Whoever dies represents one that cannot exist in the world the storyteller made because of values
          • The context may imply that the one who died is extremely weak or a symbol of greatness
      • Observe the consequences to different behaviors, good and bad
      • Try to catch any repeated phrases or statements spoken throughout the film
      • Finally, look at how it ends and what final idea is being expressed
  • Some Christians believe in a “second work” that is the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38)
    • The belief holds that Jesus died for our sins as a first work, and then the Holy Spirit’s baptism is a second work that gives bold spiritual gifts
      • The culture usually advocates an additional component of extra-biblical revelation that non-second-work Christians don’t believe
      • The extra-biblical revelation and other spiritual gifts are often emphasized to the point of dismissing other strong spiritual doctrine to the contrary
    • However, the Church in Corinth was talked to as universally having accepted the Holy Spirit’s baptism (1 Corinthians 12:1)
      • As well, there is very little emphasis in Scripture to the effect of “repent and then receive the baptism of the Spirit”
  • Some believe that speaking in tongues is still active (1 Corinthians 12-14)
    • They should also believe that extra-biblical prophecies and spiritual words of knowledge still happen if they believe this (1 Corinthians 13:8)
    • There are two sides to this debate that both have validity
      • Cessationists claim that these gifts ended after the Bible was canonized:
        • The gifts were only needed to authenticate the initial establishment of the Gospel and the Church
        • Prophecy, tongues and knowledge ceased when the perfect came, which was the completion of the Bible (1 Corinthians 13:8-10)
        • Sign gifts like tongues and prophecy undermine the Bible’s full authority and ability to be fully sufficient for everything (2 Timothy 3:16)
        • The gifts we see miraculously are not the same as the ones the Apostles received
      • Continuationists believe that all the gifts of the Apostles are available today:
        • The gifts are still in effect for anyone who earnestly desires them, since nothing clearly contradicts this (1 Corinthians 14:1)
        • The perfect coming in Scripture is referring to Christ’s second coming (1 Corinthians 13:8-10)
        • The gifts of revelation don’t have the same authority as Scripture, and must always be tested (1 John 4:1)
      • Both sides agree on many of the same points:
        • Every proclamation should be tested against Scripture (1 John 4:1)
        • Nothing can be added to Scripture (Revelation 22:18)
        • It’s not wise to claim personal words from the Lord that were for someone else
        • We should be open to the Holy Spirit working in unexpected ways, whether we call it prophecy or insight
      • Because of the similarities, this is usually not a huge cause of contention for Christians
    • Tongues and prophecy, assuming a belief in their reality, should be handled in a specific way
      • Tongues were made for unbelievers and prophecy was made for believers (1 Corinthians 14:22)
      • Tongues always had a recipient who understood it when it was publicly spoken (Acts 2)
      • If an entire church is speaking in tongues together, they are doing church wrong (1 Corinthians 14:40)
      • People who speak in tongues should also desire for more useful gifts (1 Corinthians 14:19)
    • Many Christians confuse spiritual motivational gifts, situational gifts and sign gifts, which all have different purposes
  • There are many Christians that believe in a “prosperity doctrine”, the belief that the application of faith will resolve all physical problems
    • They make many audacious claims that are either clearly correct or clearly wrong
      • They claim that the covenant God made with Abraham applies to all Christians for material gain (Genesis 12, 15, 17, 22)
      • One prevailing idea is that giving will bring future material gain, a bit like a spiritual form of investing
      • Faith is looked at as a prevailing spiritual force of willpower and desire
      • There is an emphasis that sin, sickness, disease, sorrow, grief and poverty were placed on the Cross
      • Some have gone as far as believing that all Christians with enough belief can have spiritual sign gifts given to them like the Apostles
    • There are a number of logical errors that contradict their views
      • Most of their justifications use verses that are taken without context and ignore the surrounding verses
      • Jesus and the Apostles were not only homeless, almost all of them suffered brutal and shameful deaths with nothing to their name but a reputation
        • In fact, the only one who cared about money was Judas, who betrayed Jesus in the end
      • Faith is a refined force given directly by God, meaning we can’t add to it ourselves (Romans 12:3, 1 Peter 1:7)
      • Jesus commands His followers to carry their torture device and follow Him (Matthew 16:24)
        • He also says that nobody can serve both God and money (Matthew 6:24)
      • The promises of physical gain with a spiritual label are inaccurate to Scripture’s indication of a changed desire (Galatians 2:20)
  • Some people insist on a specific translation of the Bible being more correct than other ones
    • Outside of the original Greek (Majority and Minority Texts), Hebrew and Aramaic the Bible obviously had to lose some of its emphasis on ideas
      • If you have faith that God was able to translate the Bible through men to English, then it’s a small leap of faith to trust that Scripture’s language can adapt with language changes
      • Most of the advocates of one translation either use the King James Version,  written in Shakespeare’s time, or New World Translation, written by a cult called Jehovah’s Witnesses
        • Most of the reason these people say this is because there are ideas that they can more readily defend with obtuse language
    • Many other people will discredit some Bible translations based on their choice of wording (e.g. New International Version, The Living Bible)
      • These Bibles were written to capture the spirit of Scripture, not the letter, so its use is intentionally meant for more casual consumption
    • One variation of this is to indicate Jesus’ words in red lettering as more important than the rest of the Bible
      • Though this isn’t an inherent problem, it can lead to undermining how authoritative the rest of Scripture is
  • Some people will say that some of the Bible is no longer applicable
    • More often than not, it’s because there’s something uncomfortable and offensive in it they don’t want to accept
      • People who highly value speaking in tongues discredit 1 Corinthians as not applying to a church that is spiritual enough to speak in tongues
      • Some people consider Revelation to not be applicable because it can’t be verified or only applies to the trials of the time, but it’s hard to accurately connect it to anything that has already happened in history
    • Some people consider Hebrews and Job as not part of the Bible because they can’t verify who wrote it, but many of those ideas are echoed fully in other Scripture passages

Some issues have very little Scripture to defend or deny them, so it’s up to endless debate

  • Philosophically, we are all under the conviction that we have free will
    • There are Bible verses that indicate that God has set up everything into a plan, even evil people who will go to hell (Proverbs 16:4, Romans 9:11)
      • There are also Bible verses that say that God has an elect He’s called (Romans 8:28-30)
    • At the same time, God loved the world so much He sent His Son (John 3:16)
    • There is literally no way to reconcile this in Scripture outside of philosophy
      • The concept of a free will is its own philosophical debate, and everyone swings back and forth on it
        • Only observation can shed any light the free will debate:
          • People who believe in humans having no free will usually have a groveling and miserable sense of self-worth
          • People who believe in free will without God planning it all out are clearly against Scripture
        • Effective Christians tend to avoid this endless argument, since it doesn’t really serve any practical benefit
  • Many Christians will argue back and forth about how long the “days” were that God created the universe in (Genesis 1)
    • New Earth creationists say that the 6 days are literal 24-hour days
      • If they want to make that claim, they also have to explain how a man names all the animals, gets lonely, falls asleep and wakes up to meet a woman in one day (Genesis 2:4-25)
    • Old Earth creationists say that the time period could easily have been billions of years, therefore fulfilling creationism and evolutionary theory
      • This belief compromises itself to conform to atheistic evolutionary theory, which has an entire conspiracy behind it to hide a literal flood account and explain a relationship between humans and animals that is contrary to Scripture
    • To believe God created the universe makes literally anything else possible, and it doesn’t add much value to the day-to-day life of a Christian with either belief (Genesis 1:1)
  • In general, unless it has some long-term spiritual gain by affecting how people rightly handle Scripture and walk with the Lord, it’s a waste of time (Titus 3:9)

There are many inaccurate statements and ideas that are falsely attributed to the Bible

  • All men are created equal (United States Declaration of Independence)
    • We are definitely created in God’s image, which gives us an inherent value (Galatians 3:28)
  • Bad things happen to good people (American Proverb)
    • Nobody is actually good (Romans 3:10)
  • Cleanliness is next to godliness (Ancient Proverb)
    • The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, but it’s not connected to godliness in any way (1 Corinthians 6:19)
  • God helps those who help themselves (Benjamin Franklin)
    • All Christians are called to deny themselves and put themselves to death and are helpless before salvation (Matthew 16:24, Romans 5:6)
  • God wants me to be happy/God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life (American Saying/The Four Spiritual Laws)
    • God will work everything for good for those that love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28)
  • God won’t give you more than you can handle (Christian Proverb)
    • For the sake of strengthening faith, God constantly gives Christians things they can’t handle (2 Corinthians 1:8)
  • Judge not, that ye be not judged (Matthew 7:1)
    • It’s not about never talking badly about anything, it’s about only doing after first examining our own lives for hypocrisy (John 7:24)
  • We all worship the same God (American Proverb)
  • We are all God’s children (Religious Saying)
    • Only Christians become adopted children of God (Romans 8:15-16, Galatians 3:26-29)
  • We are all going to the same place when we die (American Proverb)
    • We technically are going to the Great White Throne Judgment together, but all Christians and non-believers will part ways afterwards (Revelation 20:11-15)
  • When you die, God gains another angel (American Proverb)
    • The angels actually long to understand the relationship humans have with God (1 Peter 1:12)

There are many elements of Christian culture that can seclude Christianity from the world

  • Because of the prevalence of Christianity in the West, many Christians will fulfill a number of stereotypes
    • Music genres, especially contemporary-style, with extreme consumerism and vague references to either romantic partners or Jesus
    • Lame and preachy movies made on low-quality equipment that give sermon illustrations more than stories
    • Clothing brands that identify a Christian long before they can prove it to anyone
    • Church sayings and figures of speech that either aren’t biblical or are theologically confusing to any non-Christian
    • Using “Christian” as an easy marketing term without any need for evidence
    • Weekly observance of a church ritual that doesn’t translate to the rest of life at all
  • The prevalence of this is simply a byproduct of a non-persecuted Church over time
    • Many people who claim Christianity aren’t actually following Christ
      • Measure their behavior against their actions:
        • They confess that Jesus is God’s Son (Romans 10:9, 1 Corinthians 12:3)
        • They should have lifestyle that they consistently change as they discover new truths
        • There should be a love for others that comes out of them through the Holy Spirit working on them
          • This doesn’t always show itself as intimacy, but it’s a genuine concern for others’ well-being over self-interest
        • They are growing in solid spiritual doctrine
          • Even if they believe false teachings they are growing towards the truth
      • There are some things that are labeled as “Christian” actions, but aren’t really Christian at all:
        • A recollected past time of deciding to follow Jesus, making a prayer or being baptized
        • A visible sense of morality and a moral conviction of sin (Acts 24:24-26)
        • Intellectual knowledge of what a Christian is and who Jesus is
        • Church involvement, religious affiliation or an active ministry
      • It can be tempting to try to alleviate the church’s integration of Christian and non-Christian
        • Some Christians have rejected the labels of “evangelical” and “Christian”, but this doesn’t really fix anything
        • Many Christians are focused heavily on unifying the churches, but it has to be done under Christ for it to matter
        • Other Christians will aspire for some form of extra holiness, but it’s a waste of time (Colossians 2:20-22)
        • God wants it this way for now, so it’s best to not obsess too much about it (Matthew 13:24-30)
    • There is a more spiritual problem at work that directly ties to the Church’s never-ending fight with Satan
Next: Spiritual Warfare