Responding to ‘Silly Questions’

Healthy discussion of Scripture has value that should lead us to praise, worship, and joy. Trying to convince others of something that is not Scripturally clear or is twisted to make the Bible agree with what you want it to say no longer leads to praise and joy but frustration, anger, and sin.

The challenge before us:

I Corinthians 11:1 — imitate me, as I imitate Christ. How many of us can mentor or serve others with the statement: imitate me, as I imitate Christ?

Discussions, questions, and arguments between believers:

Philippians 2:3 — “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”

I Timothy 6:20 — “O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” (ESV)

Titus 3:9 — But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.

It amazes me that “theologians” can spew opinion as fact and in their egocentric minds, dare to trounce on those who do not believe or follow their opinions. That is a true sign of spiritual immaturity in Christ and possibly aligned with the Bible’s warnings about false teachers.

For example, NO ONE can reveal the identity of the Anti-Christ. Every generation has “revealed” one, to no avail, just as NO ONE can “predict” Christ’s return. We know He will — that is a clear promise of God and that is what we should teach. To engage in such “silly” discussions for which there is no answer can lead to division and potentially makes one a false teacher or, at least, shows one’s immaturity in Christ.

The same is true when twisting Scripture. As a real Christian, there is no debate over the sanctity of life or what God defines as sin and perverted lifestyles. Any debate of Christians over these clear and sure topics is purely senseless and anti-Christ, opening the door to Satan’s tactics.

What matters is proclaiming the Gospel — Jesus and Him crucified, and to make disciples by teaching them to observe all that Jesus taught. In other words, stay faithful to the Gospel and don’t get caught in vain teachings. Jesus says it this way:

Matthew 23:23–24 — “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices — mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.”

James 3:1 — “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.”

Bible teachers are warned to teach what is actually in Scripture — not tradition, not opinion — as they will be held to a higher standard. When studying Scripture, it is ok to state, “in my opinion,” or “this leads me to believe”, prefacing statements that from Scripture, you believe could be correct. If it is not Scripturally clear, you cannot present it as Scriptural fact.

Romans 12:3 — For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. It is our ego and pride that often create division as we attempt to show others how much we know or to even suggest we have all the answers when we do not.

Our behavior toward others includes keeping our pride or ego in check. Wherever possible, as it is in your power to do so, live peaceably among all (Romans 12:18 — still in context with Romans 12:3).

The fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23) is the single fruit that the Spirit places within each believer to grow the traits or characteristics of Jesus so that He can accomplish His ministry to point us to and help us become more like Jesus, to reflect His image and glory. That includes the display of God’s love, His joy, His peace, His longsuffering, His kindness, etc… John tells us that if we do not demonstrate love to other believers within whom the Spirit dwells and who are also children of God, that we are none of His.

We do have the authority to address false teachings and put false teachers out, as their false teaching leads others astray to sin and to death. It reminds me of the Gnostics or Nicolaitans — beliefs that Jesus says He hates — not the person but the deeds (Revelation 2:6). But each of us as unique designs of God Himself, are taught by the Spirit in unique ways to help change us to be conformed to the image of Jesus. This is why James says, “he who knows to do good and doesn’t do it, sins (James 4:17).

Paul exhorted the Corinthians (I Corinthians 8:8–13) about their argument of eating meat sacrificed to idols. It may have started as a healthy debate, but it became divisive. Paul says whether you eat it or not, it doesn’t matter in regard to your salvation. It does, however, matter as to whether it is eaten in the liberty Christ gives or not eaten for thinking it would be sin. Though you have liberty in Christ to decide to eat it or not eat it, if your actions cause a weaker or younger Christian to stumble (thinking you are sinning by doing so), you should refrain from eating it in their presence so as not to cause them to stumble see I Corinthians 8:1–3)

In other words, if you wanted to eat it with the understanding it wasn’t wrong to do so based on your spiritual maturity — not based on “should we sin more so that more grace may abound” (Romans 6:1–2; Galatians 5:13) — don’t invite the weaker brother for dinner and then serve them meat that had been offered to idols. It doesn’t teach that brother that it is ok but rather, makes them believe they are sinning (Romans 14:2–3).

For the profit of that weaker brother as he learns, grows, and matures in Christ, refrain from the liberty you may have and “prefer the brethren” (Romans 12:10; I Corinthians 11:33).

Discussions, questions, and arguments with non-believers:

First, remember a non-believer does not have the Spirit of God in his/her life so the Gospel is foolishness to him (I Corinthians 1:18, 23; 2:14).

Second, the Bible defines a fool as one who believes there is no God (Psalm 14:1; Psalm 53:1) and one who does not fear God — he has no moral compass and follows his own way, resisting correction (Proverbs 1:7). Engaging such a person in any form of Biblical discussion has no value, which is why we are told to stay away from fools (Proverbs 14:7). Instruction continues to not even speak to a fool because he will scorn you (Proverbs 23:9).

Titus 3:9 — But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.

Titus 3:9, also quoted above concerning discussions with believers, applies also to non-believers. They will always lead the conversation into a rabbit hole of zero value, baiting a Christian into “casting pearls before swine” (Matthew 7:6).

Consider your practices with social media. Is your time spent attempting to refute a sinner, a fool, a person who regards you as foolish and will never change his/her thoughts while making you angrier (not the “anger, and sin not”), resorting to personal attacks? We cannot change their position or mindset; we simply look as foolish as they do. Rather, pray for them and treat them as the Bible instructs — as enemies, treating them with kindness (Romans 12:20; Proverbs 25:21), loving your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31).

This applies to believers and non-believers as Jesus defines neighbors as those who are near you, regardless of their relationship with God. In other words — no respecter of persons (James 2:9; Romans 2:11; Ephesians 6:9; Matthew 5:45). God wants believers to treat everyone the same — with respect, kindness, gentleness, longsuffering (back to the fruit of the Spirit).

Conclusion

God has better things for us to do with our time than arguing over “stupid things” for which there is no Biblical clarity or command, or arguing with those who don’t believe in Him, at all. If we are not careful, our social media accounts can entangle us in foolish discussions. We can waste time trying to convince fools Instead of focusing on being the person God called us to be. Obeying the things that God wants us to think on (those things that are pure… Philippians 4:8) and do (Titus 2:7; 3:1) leaves little time to getting caught up in Satan’s trap of worthless conversation that leads us to sin.

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