disputable matters or tragic tolerance…

On the backburner right now is a question I want to answer but have not been able to give it my attention.  The question is simply “what are disputable matters?”  If two people disagree on something, is it a ‘disputable matter’?  As a person who is more likely to be characterized as black and white in my thinking I want to be careful not to go beyond what Scripture teaches; I’m also well-schooled in the tragedy of not believing (ignoring, rejecting, dismissing) what Scripture does clearly say. 

More likely, the challenge of discerning what disputable matters are lies in what we have learned from God’s word and how teachable we remain in our pursuit of knowing God as revealed in His word and through the Holy Spirit.  It is difficult to believe something with conviction and have someone else trample on it and brush it aside as a ‘disputable matter’.  Maybe it is disputable; but maybe we are just being really spit-polished sinners when we dismiss truth and relegate it to the ‘disputable matter’ bin so that we can go on believing what we want without biblical scrutiny. 

“Let’s just agree to disagree”.  I heard that so often I think I developed a physical reaction… a cringe… to it.  Seriously… and humorously.  Seriously, because its not always right to leave two positions on the table; not all things are disputable.  And humorous, because we do it all the time in big and small ways.  I do… and sometimes it may be humorous because of the inconsequential nature of what it is, but there are also times where I do it with sin and wrong thinking and self-righteous judging and …; these things are not so humorous.

I recently came across this quote by John MacArthur and it caught in my net… maybe it will catch in your net too.

“If anybody comes along espousing some message and asking for tolerance, you can be sure it’s error because error demands tolerance, whereas truth demands scrutiny.”

We need to be careful about what we allow to remain unscrutinized… especially in our own lives, because the enemy of God has a vested interest in stealing, killing and destroying any and all seeds of righteousness that are sown and growing.  And we need to be careful about being careless about what comes into the church and remains unscrutinized, because the enemy of God is at work there too.  “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Cor 15:58)

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2 Responses to disputable matters or tragic tolerance…

  1. Amen and amen! So important to discern. It calls for vigilance doesn’t it? I can’t believe the silly and crazy things that come floating to the surface in our congregation. Crazy stuff people believe – misunderstandings of the Trinity, “gold dust” phenomena, taking theology from “Christian” movies and books such as the “Prince of Egypt” and the “Left Behind” series. Some things you just can’t be tolerant about! 🙂

  2. cavman says:

    I need examples. But if we can’t study the Scriptures, like the Bereans, the person is probably blowing smoke and has no exegetical leg to stand on.
    I guess I see a disputable matter as one in which each person/party has a defend-able interpretation that fits w/in the boundaries of orthodoxy. Often we never examine the assumptions that lie underneath the interpretations, but this is where our disagreement lies.

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