Disputable Matters

Whether it was the question of buying a steak at the local butcher shop that had come from a side of beef first offered in ritual sacrifice to a pagan god or whether a woman can pass an offering tray standing up as opposed to sitting down- disputable matters have always been around.

Thankfully, we have the Spirit’s wisdom to guide us through these frequent troubled waters. Here are some of what He shares:

First and foremost- do not pass judgment on each other– Romans 2:1; 14:1,13

The mature should never purposefully hurt the immature- Romans 14:13-23; 1st Corinthians 8:1;9-11; 10:32

It is better to give up a Christian freedom than to “destroy the work of the Lord” over it– Romans 14:20-21

Always seek peace and mutual understanding– Romans 14:19

Do everything with honor to God in mind– 1st Corinthians 10:31

Always put the issue in the proper spiritual context– Galatians 5:7

If all involved approached disputable matters this way then the Spirit would rule and not our emotions. We would be able to- through love and mutual respect- handle the disputes God’s way. And while we may still end up with different viewpoints the work of the Lord will not be hurt.

Motives, of course, are extremely important to consider here also. While we always must be sensitive to not create “stumbling blocks” we must also be mature enough to not be a “grumbling block”. Along this line there are questions we must ask ourselves.

* If we oppose something on the grounds it causes us to stumble- is that a genuine expression of our heart and a genuine threat to our faith or do we just not like it, are not comfortable with it, are wary of it because it is not our tradition and are basically prepared to go to war over it?

* If we are promoting something- is it because we truly feel like it will bless the church, cause us and others to grow and mature and is really needed- or is it just something we like, we want and feel like others who aren’t as excited about it as we are just do not get it, and are prepared to push it to the point of breaking?

Paul said it best, “The only thing that matters is faith expressing itself in love” (Galatians 5:7)

If we could only just grasp this and the rest of the Spirit’s wisdom maybe disputable matters would not be so disputable.

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7 Responses to Disputable Matters

  1. JD says:

    Nice job, Danny. We do have to avoid over-simplifying this subject, though. One can be compliant to the needs of others to the point that the most negative, critical member gets to be the tail that wags the dog. Churches often make decisions based upon who grumbles the most, and trying to keep them quiet. Most people do not enjoy conflict, and we work all kinds of angles to avoid such.

    And yes, on the other hand, there are those who just want to keep going forward and ignore those they are hurting.

    Hebrews offers a great lesson for us as well, as there are those who ought to be leading the way who are still sucking on the baby bottle. Longevity in the Kingdom does not equal maturity.

    We cannot afford to be elitists, and think we are better than anyone else.

    So the balance in all of this is difficult to find and more difficult to maintain.

    I think if we would all stop looking up each other’s noses, we might see that there are a world of hurting people around us who need Jesus.

    An evangelistic soul-winning heart is the cure for church squabbles and disputable matters.

    Who serves me communion (male or female) is not nearly so important as the lost soul sitting next to me … or across the street.

  2. Royce Ogle says:

    Isn’t it interesting that squabbles in the brotherhood are most likely over how something was done or not done inside a building?

    Comparatively, there are few problems the other six days outside “the building”.

    As I see it, most “disputable” matters arise for at least two reasons.

    1. Far too much emphasis has been put on wood, steel, bricks, and mortar. It is funny that people who refuse to refer to “the building” as a church as the rest of the known world does, treat is as if it was the O T temple. Is God really more concerned about what we do on Sunday for 45 minutes to an hour than He is about our living the rest of the week? We are the temple of God, “the church”.
    2. Disputable matters are often raised by “the weaker brother”, who is sometimes an elder or preacher. Immature, or carnal brothers and sisters find comfort and security in what they can “do” and tend to measure the spirituality of others by what they “do” and how they “do” it. In most congregations a person is considered a good Christian if he attends all the services at the “building” and sings, prays, gives, etc. If he doesn’t give God a thought the other 6 days he is still “faithful” and a good Christian. To that sort of mentality I will use a little known theological term, Hogwash!

    I for one am weary of men who ought to be mature brothers behaving like 6th grade school girls. And, some of the 6th graders arguements are just as biblically sound.

    Grace and Peace
    Royce Ogle

  3. preacherman says:

    Danny,

    Excellent post.
    I believe on matters that really don’t matter is what Christians and churches fight over the most.
    We must in all things consider others. We must strive for unity. We must look to what God says and decide our oppions, beliefs, and what we do according what God wants from us as disciples.
    What really matters is love. Love for God, Christ, and His church.
    Thanks for this excellent post.
    I enjoy your blog.
    God bless you brother.

  4. tlew says:

    This posting finally pushed me over the “commenting” fence.

    It seems to me that so often it is long-time church members who claim to be “offended” by these disputable matters. I can’t help but wonder if your FAITH is shaken by something like a woman passing a tray, if your faith was very solid to begin with! Sometimes we just miss the boat on grace and mercy!

    Preach on, Brother Dodd!

  5. Stoned-Campbell Disciple says:

    I thought I would drop in and dispute your disputable matters,
    🙂

    Good Post Danny.

    Shalom,
    Bobby Valentine

  6. rurscmhcea says:

    You can agree to disagree all you want, but if this is what is choosen then it must be with respect, so many times i have seen this and no change is made but each brother carries the grudge, IF it is not written in black , red and white ,if it is a grey matter then maybe we should ask the questions will the end result push people futher or closer to the Church, this constant bickering is what keeps alot of people away from us , and other religons are no different in the fact that they bicker why swap when you can stay put and divide.
    Grace, and Faith avail much

  7. Stoned-Campbell Disciple says:

    Danny just checking in to see how things are going for you.

    Shalom,
    Bobby Valentine

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