Taking Paul A Step Further, or Invalidating Your Entire Argument With One Mistake

You have heard it said (because every Christian book references at least once) that if you do something super religious but have not love then you are a resounding gong – but I tell you, if you speak and do not show love it matters not what you are defending or saying, as that absence of love renders whatever you say untrue.

I’m amazed at the sheer enormity of the in-fighting between Christians. I mean it’s bad. In fact I plan on addressing this puzzling phenomenon in the future, fully aware no dent will be made. And I will not shift blame – as many will point out some of the near-bigotry things that come out of conservative Christians mouths, toward homosexuals or drunks for instance, while conversely the more progressive side of Christianity seems to find no problem in tearing the fundamentalists to shreds either.

One thing I’ve found is that in those instances like I mentioned above, the response given to the attack in a way can determine the truth of the allegations being made. In a debate over a theological question, if one side gets all amped up, raises their voice, uses tones and belittles the other person, it doesn’t matter how sound and logical their argument is because the lack of love invalidates everything they’re saying. The person showing the love is showing that where they stand is not simply upon a well constructed set of ideas, but the peace of God.

I know because I’ve seen it.  I’ve seen some famous Christians (most recently Doug Pagitt and Brian McLaren) get chewed out publicly, called heretics, be named evil things and yet in response they showed love and patience, returning none of what they were given. I’m not stating any kind of alignment with either of the two folk I’ve named, though honestly after seeing them respond with grace I was far more interested in their perspective rather than the other side. Even if the other side appealed to my reason and understanding of Christianity, seeing love spoken back shows me that the other guys get it, and they have it.

I was recently being told what I was doing wrong at work, but because the person used anger and fear as a means to control and manipulate I found that I had little interest in what they were trying to tell me. That anger and fear in fact took away whatever credibility their perspective had. This is why I’m adding to the infamous 1 Corinthians 13 bit about moving mountains but doing it without love gains you nothing, because I’ve seen that arguing correctly without love can undo everything that’s trying to be accomplished.

So if you’re engaged in an argument and the “opponent” is finding more and more fuel to throw on their wildfire my best advice is to remain calm and speak love. Your words and your argument will carry far more weight when its enveloped in love, and conversely their words and their argument will sink to the bottom of the lake for it has not love.

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7 Responses to Taking Paul A Step Further, or Invalidating Your Entire Argument With One Mistake

  1. David says:

    I engage Evangelicals that call Charismatics and Pentecostals deceived. I also engage some very bright folks that are atheists. I engage evolutionists, and others from time to time , that are far from God.

    I know the love of God, and I am secure in it. I believe that God moves in signs and wonders, and for me, after 30+ years, the Supernatural is natural.

    It is when we are parroting someone else’s opinion or revelations, that we will get caught. It’s a pet peeve of mine, Christians that haven’t read the Bible and start taking a stand on tough issues.

    I go to church with a guy that was many years into prescription meds. God got a hold of him 8 months ago, and rocked his world. A few months ago he told that pastor that he thought there were some folks there with neck pain. a few folks came forward, and all got healed. He didn’t even know why!

    I like that story because he simply acted on faith, not on doctrine, not on my belief, or anyone else’s.

    It’s hard to be stupid, when God uses you like that.

  2. This may have nothing to do with anything, but I’m not really a big fan of mega-churches (maybe I should just say they’re not for me), but I think the one perk is that with such a huge amount of people you get lots of healing and transformation stories. And we all need those.

    I have to admit I’m not overly familiar with the Pentecostal or Charismatic side of things, but I definitely trust that God moves and is working in this world. I’d love to keep hearing more about this world. Do you identify with one of those congregations David?

  3. David says:

    I am a big fan of Jesus. I don’t fit in anywhere folks get all religious about things, trying to put God in a box. But yes, I have been part of both of those slices of Christianity.

    So the healing and the testimonies are so important wherever they come from. I tend to migrate towards places where that stuff is happening on a regular basis.

    That is why the list of books I sent was so important for me. These folks were actually experiencing God doing something! If our God never does anything, then we are just another philosophy. It’s no wonder so many can’t tell the difference between us and the living God, and those with their founders dead in the ground.

    The church I am in now is about 100-150 members. They have a few small groups, and I look forward to what God is going to do next. They are not very predictable, that is for sure.

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