Debate

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There is a place for the reasoned analysis of ideas and views with robust interaction and exchange of perspectives, if it leads to a profitable outcome. We learn from constructive discussion while negative and critical arguing is damaging to a relationship. Worthless speculations and theological haggling sidetrack from focusing on the life-changing power of the gospel of Christ (1 Tim 1:4).

When there is a clear directive in Scripture, the only acceptable response is obedience, not discussion. The truth can stand up to being challenged, yet it is to be believed and acted on, not debated and explained away. “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (Jn 8:32). The opinions and theories of men are futile if they contradict the Word

Do I talk and walk the Christian life, or only talk it?

of God. Committees are notorious for their debating and discussing various issues, but also for their lack of resolve – there is always more talk than do.

Paul said in effect, I am not here to endlessly debate Jesus, rather I declare Jesus as the Saviour ‘who commands all people everywhere to repent’ (Act 17:16-30). He was not trying to convince the crowd of his ‘theory’ but rather through the facts ("proving from the Scriptures") and evidence to present Christ, the only solution to man's present and future spiritual needs (Act 18:28). We are told to “Always be prepared to share Christ with those who ask about your faith” and receive advice from others and the perspective of mature respected leaders (Act 5:34-39, 18:24-26; 1 Pet 3:15). Paul was an excellent debator and encouraged Timothy to faithfully and courageously share the gospel as he himself did (Act 19:8; 2 Tim 4:2).

A good policy is to agree to disagree on non-essential issues that are controversial or not clearly detailed in Scripture, if both parties are firmly convinced of their stand, while being in total unity in working together in sharing the gospel.

See also: apologetics, arguments, conflict, controversial issues, clarity, disputes, opinions, perspective, questions, viewpoint.