In our Online Meeting rooms, I make a great effort to see that when our faith is discussed we use scriptures to show what we mean.
However in the Facebook Groups when doctrine or our beliefs are discussed, many times I see folks making blanket claims stating that those with other viewpoints are in the wrong. Now on the face of that statement, it might seem correct yet almost invariably the reaction from the others is negative. Why? What is wrong with stating that someone’s viewpoint on doctrine is wrong, especially if it is? And why does it create such a negative backlash?
I have been a salesman and Sales Trainer for most of my career. It is a truism of human character that when you attack what a person believes to be true without that person seeing strong evidence and agreeing with that evidence first, you set up a defensive mechanism in his mind that almost assures he will not at that time be able to see the truth of the matter.
Plus many times I note that the way the statements are made can be described as pontification. Let me show you the meaning of that word and it will help you see what I mean.
English Language Learners Definition of pontificate (Entry 2 of 2)
: to speak or express your opinion about something in a way that shows that you think you are always right
1 : to speak or express opinions in a pompous or dogmatic way
to speak in an important manner as if only your opinion was correct:
When a statement is made without proof it comes across as pontificating. When attacking another person’s belief it must be done in a certain way and with proof that can be accepted ahead of the statement. That is why I insist on using scriptures to prove or disprove a topic. People say that you can use scriptures to prove anything. Well let me tell you, that is not true IF you use enough scriptures. The Bible will explain itself if you are diligent with it and of course, have God’s Spirit to guide you in the first place.
Look how Christ dealt with the wrong use of scriptures and a wrong idea about what the bible means. Read the Temptation of Christ carefully and you will see that He used scripture almost exclusively to make his points with satan:
The Temptation of Jesus
Mat 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
Mat 4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
Mat 4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
Mat 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Mat 4:5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
Mat 4:6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Mat 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
Mat 4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
Mat 4:9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
Mat 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Mat 4:11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
Christ used scripture to show satan what was wrong with his statements, He did not say to satan that he was wrong, he merely quoted to satan the scripture that showed it. It was up to satan to be able to take that and believe it. Just so when we talk to others about beliefs that are patently wrong we must show the scriptures that prove that. After that, it is between them and God as to whether they accept it or not. It is not our place to condemn rather we are to extoll and encourage only God can change the mind and heart of an individual, we should never condemn them because we do not know where God is in their lives. We are not their Judge. We judge the crime not the person committing the crime. And we are admonished to do it very carefully.
1Pe_3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
Do you see the attitude we must have? Meekness and Fear. Why? Because brethren we can literally shut down the steel Gates of that person’s mind if we are not very careful. We don’t know if that person is being called, has been called or he might even be already chosen yet not yet clear on what he needs going forward. Are you prepared to answer to Christ for damaging that persons ability to accept the truth of God. Sure I know that the Father can BLOW thru that mental cloud in a thousand different ways but do we really want to make more work for GOD? Besides the scripture above states in no uncertain terms that we are to be meek and even fearful in our approach to someone who wants to know the truth.
I don’t know if you remember this the same way I do but there is a scripture talking about the time of the Millennial reign of Christ where the peoples teachers call out behind the people saying ” This is the way Walk you in it” whenever I personally ever heard a minister ever quote that statement it was always with a certain amount of forcefulness and even angst in how it was stated. I think maybe we have picked up on that thinking this is the way we should tell people the truths of God but read the context of where that was given for a minute;
The Lord Will Be Gracious
Isa 30:18 And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.
Isa 30:19 For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee.
Isa 30:20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers:
Isa 30:21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.
Can’t you see the gracious love and concern that God is showing to His people during this time? These are NOT words to be shouted out and demanded, these are words of encouragement and instruction to help a person live their life to the fullest.
So whenever someone has a question or demonstrates by their talk that they believe something different than the truth quote the scripture or scriptures that will show them the way. Don’t Pontificate at them. Don’t close the Gates to their minds with our own pride and righteousness driving our desire to help. Show the attitudes of meekness and fear that God demands of us. Love your brother!