ENGLISH VERSION - Bulletin Nº 46 August 01, 2021
why not discuss small issues in the church
by Rev. Renato Souza Prates
It took me a long time to discover that there are some issues that are not worth discussing, especially in the House of God or with the brothers in Christ, and I have some reasons for expressing my personal opinion. After 45 years of intensely experiencing the routine of the church, in several different Christian communities, I can say that I have witnessed a lot of discussion that went nowhere. Most of them revolved around the “sex of the angels” with endless questions about an undisclosed theology in Scripture; others concerned football, politics or personal preferences. Result: None of them led to edification, but in many cases to discord and vain disputes in the Body of Christ, even resulting in enmities that last until today.
I firmly believe, even after participating in the many discussions listed above, that a church that wishes to maintain its inner peace and even relative peace with the world, as far as possible, needs to avoid frivolous discussions like those listed here and others that may arise. When the Apostle Paul wrote to young pastor Titus, he declared: “But avoid foolish questions, genealogies, contentions and debates about the law; because they are useless and vain things.” (Tt 3.9). The text in question does not speak of politics, religion or football, but speaks of doctrinal and cultural issues that would not lead to any spiritual growth in the flock shepherded by Tito. While we must talk candidly about dubious issues of faith and culture, which are widely and clearly set out in Scripture, like many points in our doctrine and usages and customs, we also need to avoid tempting discussion traps that will lead to hours of debates without biblical answers, but expressing only personal opinions, which must be respected by each one of us.
I have learned that when someone, Christian or not, expresses their personal preference for a football team, a cuisine, a style of clothing, and even a political flag, it is often better to keep quiet than to start a silly discussion. , especially in a country as polarized as ours. I won't stop loving my brother less just because he thinks differently from me. I need to respect his freedom of opinion, just as I hope he respects mine. Now if my brother is facing doctrinal or cultural doubts that are brighter than the noonday sun in the Scriptures and in our church's Symbols of Faith, then I will need to sit down with him and lovingly present the truths contained in our one rule of faith and practice, especially if he is a member of the same church. This of course can take a long time, but it is a necessary work, as we need to have the same thought: “complete my joy, so that you think the same thing, have the same love, be united in soul, having the same feeling .” (Fp 2.2)
The temptation to discuss frivolous subjects becomes more attractive when there is more controversy surrounding the topic. We are on the eve of an important election year and we will certainly still be very tempted to discuss politics not only in our personal conversations but also in our Bible studies and church meetings.
I think the role of the church is not to discuss political preferences but to study biblical standards for national politics, which is quite different. As a pastor I have never shied away from the responsibility of presenting the church with great biblical examples of public management and the profile that God desires for a ruler, but thank God I have never expressed my personal opinion or preferences in the church pulpit. I remember when I finished a Sunday School election ministry, a sister approached me and asked me: Pastor, who should I vote for? My answer was as follows: My dear, everything you need to know has already been said in today's study. Go and vote consciously!
May the Lord always give us the necessary insight to avoid such discussions and focus on what will really build the Church of Christ and evangelize the world!
From this Sunday on, you will enjoy a Revelation Series with Dr. Joel Beeke. It is amazing studies from which we can learn more about this instigating book.
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