It seems like disagreements are not going anywhere, especially in the church. It doesn’t matter what season we’re in, people are disagreeing about everything these days. Sadly, the types of disagreements taking place lack any type of civility or respect. We rarely see healthy dialogue or progress with people of differing points of view. People are getting hurt, talking past each other, and refusing to listen to one another. Rather than discussing the issue at hand, these interactions turn into a personal attack barrage, and it leads to the whole conversation going out the window.
As Christians, we can be different. We don’t have to see a disagreement as the end of the world, and we don’t have to make a disagreement all about us and our hurt feelings. How we dialogue can be just as important as what we dialogue about. God calls the Christian to have a holy attitude during disagreement, whether it’s with unbelievers or fellow Christians.
Here is a 2018 Veritas Conference breakout session called “The Glory of God in Disagreement: How to Disagree with People Biblically.” In this session, we discuss principles on disagreement and how to serve believers and unbelievers in disagreement. I’ve also attached the outline below.
A. The Current Situation
B. Understanding Disagreement
II. Principles for Biblical Disagreement
A. Exemplify God’s Truth (John 14:6-7; 17:17; Rom 3:4)
- Christians must be people of the truth, (Eph 4:15)
- Christians must be bold (Acts 4:13; 1 Cor 16:13)
- Truth trumps kindness sometimes (Matt 23; 2 John 10-11)
B. Exemplify God’s Kindness (Psalm 17:7; Eph 2:7; Titus 3:4-6)
- Learn how to be kind to all people (Prov 20:3; Gal 6:9-10; Heb 12:14; 1 Pet 2:17)
- Learn how all people work (Be an exegete of people).
C. Exemplify God’s Clarity (1 Cor 14:33, 40)
- We are prone to miscommunication (Genesis 11)
- Watch your speech (Prov 15:1; Prov 18:13; Col 4:6).
- Watch your slander (Matt 7:12).
- Watch your microphone (internet, phone, in person, etc.).
D. Exemplify God’s Wisdom (Prov 2:6-8; Rom 16:27; 1 Tim 1;:17; Jude 1:25)
- Wisdom in Correction (Prov 9:7-8; 12:15; 23:9; 28:26; 29:9 cf. 17:10)
- Wisdom in Learning: (Prov 1:5, 7; 18:2)
III. How to Serve Unbelievers in Disagreement
A. Mind Your Testimony (Colossians 4:5)
B. Mind Your Evangelism (Matt 28:19)
IV. How to Serve Believers in Disagreement
A. Preserve the Family (Gal 5:13; 1 Pet 4:7-11; 1 John 2:8-11)
B. Preserve Forgiveness (Eph 4:32; Col 3:13)
C. Preserve Unity (Eph 4:3)