-Adapted from article by Ron Daly, Gospel Truths
(Scripture: Luke 12:49-53)
WHEN RELIGIOUS CONTROVERSY COMES
1. Don't know many who enjoy controversy (strife, conflict, dispute):
a. To promote it is sin - Prov. 6:16, 19.
b. To run from it when truth & souls are involved is also sin - Gal. 2:11.
2. Religious controversy exists: Worship & work of church, Plan of salv., MDR & fellowship; Deity of Christ, etc.
3. Religious controversy will come. Christians must know how to deal with it - Phil. 1:16; Jude 3.
4. When it comes, must keep those goals: Glorify God, secure the saints, save lost, expose error -- Can occur w/o rancor!
I. CONTROVERSY OVER TRUTH WILL COME (cf. Acts 28:22)
A. Life Of Jesus - Lk. 12:49-53 (Jno. 15:18-21).
B. The Apostles - cf. Acts 17:5-8.
C. It Can Serve Godly Purposes:
1. Expose sin & error - Eph. 5:11.
2. Identify false brethren - 1 Cor. 11:19; 1 Jno. 2:18-22.
3. Increase faith & knowledge (By those who love truth) - Acts 17:11.
4. Protect innocent - Rom. 16:17-18; Gal. 2:5.
II. WHAT MAKES RELIGIOUS CONTROVERSY NECESSARY?
A. False Teaching - Matt. 7:15; 2 Pet. 2:1-3.
1. Must be challenged & opposed - Jude 3-4.
2. To ignore/run away from it hurts many!
B. Love For & Loyalty To God Above Those In Sin - Gal. 2:11-14.
1. 2:9 - Paul loved Peter, but truth more!
2. 2 Pet. 3:15 - Peter loved Paul, too!
3. Friendships, family, reputations, etc. do not come before defending & urging truth!
C. Love For Lost Souls - Acts 13:6-12.
1. v. 9-10 - Paul's conduct not hatred for false teacher, but hatred for false teaching & love for lost!
2. Some would apologize to Elymas for Paul & make excuses, characterizing him as rude, harsh & undiplomatic! (2 Cor. 2:4)
3. Love for lost compels defense of truth!
III. THE PROBLEMS WHICH ACCOMPANY CONTROVERSY MUST BE OVERCOME.
A. Carnal Attacks.
1. Ad hominem - Attacking the man (his motives / character / credentials) rather than his arguments, using ridicule, scorn, humor, name calling, etc. 2 Cor. 10:1-3, 10 - Attacked motives (coward, duplicity, self-serving) - (11:6-7)
2. Likewise, when we oppose error, be careful to address the error, not man!
B. Twisting Scriptures To Uphold Truth.
1. In heat of controversy, can misapply scripture while trying to uphold truth!
2. Truth, corrected interpreted & used is sufficient to oppose error!
3. Must handle it properly - 2 Tim. 2:14-19 (2 Pet. 3:16, 18).
C. Emotional Prejudices & Sinful Attitudes Which Blind Us To Truth.
1. Truth must be our standard, not our relation to the teacher! - Lk. 12:51-53.
2. Psa. 119:104 - Hate every false way!
3. Gal. 1:10 - Please God rather than man!
D. The Danger Of Delay - Jude 3-4; 1 Cor. 5:6-7; Rom. 16:17-18.
1. Error / sin left unopposed festers & fosters more sin!
2. Gal. 2:5 - Not for an hour! We often fret, wring our hands and worry, when we should respond w/ "truth in love!"
1. We must engage the battle against evil - 2 Cor. 10:3-5.
2. By keeping godly motives, we can serve godly purposes when controversy arises.
3. Must overcome the pitfalls which turn controversy over truth into sin upon sin ("war the good warfare" - 1 Tim. 1:18)!