Debate the Issues, but Keep Things in Perspective

Theological debate is good. However, we must keep things in perspective and always keep the gospel message in the forefront.

It seems I can’t go a day without coming across an article, video, or sermon like one of these:

  • Is _______ worship music biblical?
  • The problem with _______ism.
  • It’s a sin for Christians to use/do/watch/read _______.

I used blanks because they could be filled with multiple things depending on the presupposition of the one making the argument.

After a while when I see these articles all I can do is sigh.

Maybe it’s just me.  Maybe not.  Regardless, these articles bother me a bit.

Two Reasons These Articles Bother Me

First, when you look at their core, they are little more than glorified, theologized, biblicized op-ed pieces disguised as theological studies.  They often take the author’s personal tastes, elevate those tastes to the level of righteousness, then use the Bible or theology to justify why their tastes, preferences, and opinions are the only biblically correct ones.


Second, these articles create a distraction.  Christians have one mission: reach the lost.

That’s why Jesus came (Luke 19:10).

That’s what Jesus commissioned, nay, commanded (Matt 28:19-20).

That’s what determines the timing of Jesus’ return (Matt 24:14).

Missions is our mission.  Evangelism is our calling.  The gospel is what defines us.

[bctt tweet=”Theological debate is good, but keep it in perspective & keep gospel msg in forefront.” username=”jrothra”]

Nevertheless, Christians continue to debate small issues as if they are major, gospel-changing topics.  Believers keep imposing rules and regulations on each other as if doing right equates to being saved.  We argue over which comparatively insignificant rules to follow and not to follow while lost people die and go to hell because we’re too busy fighting with each other to share the gospel.

Keeping the Issues in Perspective

There is great value in debating and discussing things over which we disagree.  Conversation is healthy.  However, we must always keep things in perspective, and sadly, many small issues have been blown way out of proportion.

The gospel message transcends musical style.  In fact, people get saved every day regardless of whether the church uses hymns and an organ, contemporary worship and acoustic guitars, Christian rock, or Christian polka.  It’s not the musical preference that matters, but the worshiper’s heart.

The gospel message transcends theological dogma.  Calvinists, Arminians, and others generally all agree that all those who put their faith in Jesus will be saved (John 3:16; Rom 10:9, 13).  Yes, there are extremists in every camp, but they are the exception and not representative of the whole camp.  Truth is, people get saved every day after hearing the gospel from Methodists, Reformed Baptists, Presbyterians, and Assemblies of God members.  It’s not the –ism one follows that matters, but one’s relationship with God.

The gospel message transcends social topics.  Every Christian agrees getting drunk is a sin.  Every believer affirms that something may be right, but not everything is prudent.  People get saved every day after sharing a glass of wine, soda, or Starbucks with a believer.  It’s not the rules we follow to look good that matter, but our love of God that makes us good.

People disagree whether it’s permissible to read certain books, hold certain religious convictions, or listen to various types of music.

It’s alright right to disagree.

It’s healthy to discuss those disagreements.

It’s not good to turn those disagreements into major points of contention and division.  It’s not healthy to attack, condemn, or refuse to associate with those who have a different opinion (something I’ve personally experienced).  To do so is the height of religious arrogance and pride.

Disagree.  Debate.  But keep things in perspective and always keep the gospel message in the forefront.

About John L. Rothra
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