How not to be contentious but to hold…

How not to be contentious, but to hold up the truth while following Eph 5 in exposing the works of darkness and Titus 1 in silencing “rebellious people, idle talkers, and deceivers”? Here are my suggestions, slightly edited, given to a friend who asked, as we discussed the issue by email.

1. Don’t give them room or space to speak. If somebody’s teaching false doctrine, don’t let them speak at all, on any subject, for they’ll get their point of view in somehow.
2. Don’t sound mad or irritated. Make sure love for truth and people come across.
3. Don’t make it personal. It’s not who, but what is being taught.
4. Be direct about it. We (speaking generically) tend to beat around the bush.
5. Nip it in the bud. It’s easier to do when there’s a few. When it’s the majority or a large number, it’s harder.

What ideas might you share?

  • Randal, I don’t have any additions or edits to your suggestions for your friend. Looks like you covered it all from every angle. If I think of anything I will get back to you. Is this reply just to YOU or to a group? Or to your friend as well? Oran

    • Thanks, Oran. It’s just a reply to me, but it’s public so anybody can read it. Best not to cite names. 🙂

  • There is a place for Gal. 2.11ff and 2 Tim. 2.24ff. Knowing how to apply each is important. Otherwise, can’t improve inn what you said.

  • Different contexts may warrant different approaches. Regarding private conversations, it is my understanding that in many third world cultures stories/ parables are shared that can be direct in making a point, yet avoid becoming personal or combative. Since the listener will determine whether or not we are contentious (regardless of our intentions), knowing who we are talking to and how he or she tends to interpret communication would be very helpful. People from some cultures would regard typical Americans as being rude, while a fellow American would consider the same conversation as being efficient and getting down to business.

What say you?