This Article contains religiously explicit material, including scripture, which may offend or bless, enrage or enlighten, harden or soften, condemn or set free.
I'd Rather Not Talk About That Right Now.
Stephen C. Smith
Many times in the past I have attempted to share biblical truth and doctrinal issues with another believer, only for them to say, "I would rather not talk about that right now, maybe another time." What is really meant by that statement is, "I don't particularly agree with and have very little understanding of the subject, so let's remain friends and not discuss anything controversial."
This is especially true with the Overseers of the Church, those that call themselves pastors and have some kind of authority over the assembly, mainly Charismatic and Pentecostal types.
These people are very much opposed to controversial issues. To them, disagreement, debate, and division over doctrinal issues is even quite deplorable, and in their judgement, contrary to the spirit of Christ, and detrimental to His cause. They tend to avoid matters of discussion which would bring into focus matters likely to cause controversy. Many times I have heard unbiblical statements, or most likely extra biblical expressions, disguised as truth, coming from the pulpit. When approached on the subject, the teacher, often the Pastor, will overlook the interruption with the comment, "I'd rather not talk about that right now, maybe at another time." And of course another time never does come. Rather then confront the issue at hand they delegate most of the spiritual issues to subordinates, men not at all scripturally sound, and not mature enough biblically to handle the burden. When confronted with a doctrinal issue that is controversial, the subordinate fails the test because of the lack of correct Biblical knowledge, and will never discuss matters of truth unless of a trivial nature. Instead they tend to avoid tough issues by claiming the role of peacemaker.
But one noted Christian educator has put his finger on the error often present here:
"There are many pleas made these days for tolerance, peace and "love." But tolerance is not the right word for that which is demanded. What is meant is compromise. Tolerance and compromise are not the same thing. This is tolerance, to grant to another the same rights which I claim for myself. This is compromise, to sacrifice heart felt conviction in order that someone else may be pleased or in order to avoid a breach of peace."
To compromise with false teaching, or any untruth concerning God, especially doctrine, in the name of tolerance is to dishonor God and His Word.
By properly studying the most controversial person to have ever walked this earth, the Lord Jesus Christ, we find that practically every day of His life found Him opposing error and sin. He had many conflicts with Parasitical untruths. (Matt.12:24)
He even opposed His own disciples. (Matt 16:21) He taught His disciples that they would face many controversies, especially concerning things pertaining to truth. (Matt.10:35) He taught His followers that they would have trouble, opposition and controversy.
Robert Haldane, a renown expositor of Biblical truth, had this to say about this false belief system, "Many religious persons have a dread of controversy, and think that truth can be stated without any reference to those who hold the opposite errors. Controversy and a bad spirit are, in their estimation, synonymous terms, and to strenuously oppose what is considered biblical untruth is contrary to Christian meekness. Those who hold this opinion overlook what every page of the New Testament lays before us. In all the history of our Lord Jesus Christ we never find Him out of controversy."
Whole books of the Bible are given over to polemics. The epistle of Jude is an outstanding example. The entire letter is a rebuke to false teachers, a warning to believers, and a battle-cry against error. No doubt many people, Christian or not, would feel that Jude ought to have been more "positive." But God the Holy Spirit thought otherwise. Over the years I have had many discussions with "positive thinking Christians." When I would try and point to the negativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, or to that of the great Apostle, they would usually end the conversation abruptly. Recently, while attempting to discuss an issue with a Pastor of a local Calvary Chapel church, he explained to me that he does not read or discuss anything negative, claiming that negative issues only lead to controversy and do not express "love." Of course the love he mentions is always conditional and is of a sentimental nature. His understanding of scripture is strictly worldly, humanistic, always mixing scripture with humor and fleshly comments. The only positive thing about people like this is that they dislike distinctiveness and think extreme and decided views are very wrong. They see nothing clearly, they live in a kind of mist or fog. They have a dread of controversy and an abundance of pietistic objections for discussions of truth.
Prominently featured throughout the epistles of the New Testament is controversy over doctrine. Yet, sincere Christian people sometimes say that they do not feel there should be any controversy, we should just "preach the gospel" and not be concerned with doctrine because it causes division. I hope so, it is meant to separate truth from error. Doctrine Divides, that is its main purpose, the very reason that the Apostle Paul was so insistent concerning the proper teaching of doctrine in his New Testament letters. While all would agree that purely carnal argument should be avoided, at the same time the New Testament epistles are clear that the Church will be engaged in doctrinal conflict until Jesus comes back for His bride.
The truth of God is constantly subject to attack, misrepresentation, exaggeration and especially dilution. If the revealed truth is mixed with error, it is no longer biblical truth. The great Apostle exhorts believers to "fight the good fight of faith" (1 Tim. 6:12), and through the years of his controversial ministry he declares that he has, "kept the faith" (2 Tim. 4:7). Believers that go astray doctrinally are to be rebuked "sharply, that they may be sound in the faith" (Titus 1:13).
I can say without doubt that every great Christian truth is controversial. God is the controversial Figure in the universe, His people ought to be controversial as well. There are churches in the Calvary Chapel Movement where it is not possible to be controversial, as a matter of fact, it is either their way or the highway. They conform to some sort of silly statement of "Agape Love", but in practice the exact opposite of agape love exists.
The truth stings, burns, and angers the hearts of men, especially religious and ecumenical types. With mainly extra biblical half truths and downright falsities coming from the pulpit, our so called charismatic churches, including Calvary Chapels, which are charismatic to the core, although they try and hide the fact, are filled to the brim with people that have very little, if any, knowledge of the truth. And no wonder, the supposed shepherds, "the overseers of the souls" of these people have replaced relationships with numbers a little flock for a herd, caring not who they are or what they believe. As a matter of fact, not even knowing who they are. God's overseers become over lookers. Their understanding is always dominated by their flesh, numbers, quantity, and never quality. They spend the majority of their time traveling the globe seeking converts, pouring energy and resources into the goats of the world while their family members are spiritually starving a spiritual death.
The Good Shepherd, by contrast, lays down His life for His sheep. Not for whosoeverwills, but for the whosoeveralreadyhaves, the chosen members of the family of God. The unfaithful shepherd, the one dominated by the flesh, spends more time evangelizing reprobates, then he does feeding the sheep. The nonsensical rational is always, "if only one person gets saved, the effort and expense is worth it." As if God's Holy Spirit would fail in His work of atonement if they were not involved. All the while, the one straying sheep perishes apart from the loving pursuit of a faithful shepherd. God has chosen and equipped certain individuals to shepherd His Church, may we ever remain faithful to the cause of truth!