I love to argue. As a child I argued with my teacher about whether Alaska was frozen twelve months of the year. I knew vegetation grew in Alaska but my teacher also knew there were parts of Alaska that were frozen all year. I also argued with my Sunday School teacher that if Christ died for the sins of the world, all sins were forgiven. In my defense, when I was a child I thought as a child and I spoke as a child, (I Corinthians 13:11) but that verse also assumes that I grew up…wait a minute, is that verse suggesting that arguing is a childish thing? Busted!
When you finish reading this post you might hate me, you might never want to talk to me again but I guarantee some of you will want to argue with me. So I will tell you right now that there are some things I won’t argue about.
Many years ago I took a job as full time camp cook at a camp in Alberta. The previous cook was locally born and raised and I was an outsider. It didn’t take long to realize that no one could bake buns like the previous cook (PC) and no one could make taco sauce like the PC’s original sauce. That was all right with me, I wasn’t in the running for best bun-maker on earth. In fact, I am not in competition to be the best at anything and it pains me when people compete with me. It often takes a long time for them to realize I am not in the running.
So what is this issue about contending for the faith? At one time I was part of an inter-church prayer group. We prayed against strongholds in our city and we prayed protection for the spiritual gates of the city. Our main objective was to work together with God on behalf of His will for our city. I was surprised when the Lord gave me a vision. I was even more surprised when I shared the vision but it didn’t make any difference.
The vision: God was knocking on the door of our city, wanting to come in and pour out the blessings we had been praying for. In my visions, all the churches were like little children, excited to hear Him knocking, and like little children we rushed to the door, each one wanting to be the one to open the door. The result was, we held the door shut as we wrestled with one another. End of vision!
We continued on contending for the Christians who moved from church to church but is that really contending for the faith? Meanwhile, there were spiritually hungry people who didn’t know the Lord yet.
What does it actually mean to contend for the faith? Contend means to strive, struggle, argue, maintain. There are a lot of areas of contention in the church: the resurrection of the dead (a huge issue years ago); healing in the atonement; speaking in tongues to mention a few. This blog will give you my view of each issue. It pains me to think of all the days, months and years of debate, the hundreds of books and articles that have been written about these issues while the lost still wait for salvation.
I settled the issue of the resurrection of the dead years ago. If you are pre-millennium, I love you. If you are post-millennium, I love you too. Exactly what is the issue here? Who gets to heaven first? Be my guest. Sorry, I won’t be looking for you because I want to see my Saviour first of all. I am not pre-millennium, nor am I post-millennium, I am pan-millennium – it will all pan out in the end.
Titus 3:9 tells us to avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. Paul told Timothy in I Timothy 6:20 to keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings and in II Timothy 2:23, avoid foolish and unlearned questions that generate strife. I am sure there are people who have been gifted by God to maintain certain doctrinal issues but if the church as a whole gets pulled away from our ultimate goal of reaching the lost, then it has been taken too far.
We have five kids and when they were young it was sometimes difficult to know ‘what hill to die on’. We came up with this: Does it make any difference to your salvation? Ask yourself that when you begin to debate.
As I was writing this I realized the subject of contending couldn’t be dealt with in one post. So watch for Contending – part 2 where I will deal with healing and the tongues issue.
My main ministry is in prayer. You know what it means to be in cahoots with someone. Spelled kahootz – it is an internet term for ideas stored in ‘the cloud’ which is like a vault in cyber space to keep things safe for you. I thought it was a great application of the fact that I am in kahoots with you in prayer in heavenly realms, for whatever is on your heart. Send me your prayer requests via e-mail or fb message. Meanwhile – kahootz/w/u