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Engage exists to provide perspective on culture through the eyes of a Biblical worldview, showing how that worldview intersects with culture and engages it.

We are a team of 20-somethings brought together by a common faith in Jesus Christ and employment in our parent organization American Family Association

Balancing conviction and love

09/05/2018

Every Christian has experienced conflict with another Christian over some of the finer points of doctrine found in the Scripture. This has been an issue in the Church since the New Testament, as Paul addressed in 1 Corinthians 8. While these points many times bear discussing, these discussions can too soon turn into dogmatic arguments devoid of the grace of God.

Convictions are necessary, but we have to decide what hills are worth dying on. If standing for a certain conviction will cost us love for another brother or sister, then maybe it isn’t worth standing for.

A Christ-like pattern

Look at the Gospels. What did Christ die for? He didn’t die to defend His favorite viewpoints or doctrines. He died for love. Love for those who disagreed with and opposed Him. He died to bring them out of death and into the kingdom of life. 

A good question to ask ourselves next time we encounter an argument over convictions is this: Did Jesus die for this matter? If the answer is no, then neither should we. If the matter serves not to build up a fellow Christian but rather to offend him or her then we should leave it alone. It is better to let the Lord deal with whatever is wrong with his or her viewpoint, or with ours for that matter. 

The only exception to this is if our brother or sister is in obvious sin and refuses to repent of it.

A very Narrow Way

Those who have visited caves will know about narrow paths. These tight squeezes are so narrow you barely have room to put one foot in front of the other. Sometimes you have to turn sideways to keep from getting stuck. Imagine trying to walk through one of these with a large backpack full of unnecessary supplies. We’d learn soon enough that either we must stay put or else strip ourselves of the useless luggage to carry on.

In the same way, there is no room on the Narrow Path for us to lug along our favorite topics to debate. For example, whether or not to call Resurrection Day “Easter.” This is definitely worth discussing, but if it becomes such a big issue that it crowds out the joy of Christ’s resurrection then it is best to drop the whole argument altogether. Christ didn’t die for that matter, so give it no more than its due attention.

In the end, there is only one hill to die on. As we follow Christ we die where He died, and that is only at Calvary. Yes, we have convictions but let us hold them in open hands before the Lord. The love of Christ must be our model.

 

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