How to Light the Darkness
by Sarah Misch
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2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
2 Corinthians 10:4c-5 “We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ.”
James 4:15-17 “Instead, you should say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ But as it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So it is a sin for the person who knows to do what is good and doesn’t do it.”
Jude 3 “Dear friends, although I was eager to write you about the salvation we share, I found it necessary to write and exhort you to contend for the faith that was delivered to the saints once for all.” (Bolden to emphasize.) The HCSB note on this verse says that “Contending for the faith is not just a vigorous defense of the Christian faith but an advancement of the gospel as well.”
There are times when debates come up between Christians. There are professing Christians who will choose to continue in doing some things despite scripture making it clear that it is a sin. These Christians will ignore or try to nullify God’s Word in order to hide from the guilt of their sin. During these times we all desire to defend God’s Word, but we must do it in a way that builds up those we are talking with. It doesn't matter how much scriptural backing we have if we don't present it properly. People’s natural instinct is to shut down when they feel attacked, or to attack back.
So, this begs the question, how do we stand up for God’s Word in face of opposition from other Christians? In the past I've responded to these situations in three different ways. 1) I ignored it. 2) I responded with my own thoughts and words. 3) I responded with scripture. I’ll explain farther …
1) I did nothing: Let them have their opinion; thinking, what does it matter? Then I realized that someone needed to plant the seed of truth in their lives, so that eventually they could come to know the truth. Also, if Christians do nothing, then the truth is hidden allowing for this other teaching/opinion to expand to others. There is a saying, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.” I realized that something had to be said. But, what?
2) Responding with my own thoughts and words: When I tried using my own thoughts and words it seemed to make matters worse. Whoever I was talking to grew angry instead of coming to the truth of God’s Word. This clearly did not and would not bring them to line their life up with the Word of God.
3) Responding with scripture: The times I answered by quoting scripture seemed to bring most Christians to an understanding of God's Word, to accept it, and then realign their lives to be obedient to God’s Word.
The answer to my question is to allow scripture to defend scripture. Do not stand by quietly and allow people to be deceived by those who would give non-biblical opinions, but also do not reply with our own words, emotions, and opinions. Instead, give them scripture and more scripture in order to shine light into darkness. Therefore, I have decided that I will teach and write about God’s Word, but will not argue. If it upsets people, I will allow God to defend His own position on the subject.
I hope through my learning experience that you can gain a better idea on how to approach and talk to people. Elmer Towns writes in Theology for Today, "One of the unique differences between the Christians of the New Testament and those of today is their attitude toward their relation with Christ. They saw Him as a supreme ruler and themselves as slaves in comparison. Perhaps if we had a similar biblical conviction today we would see similar biblical results."
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