Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Controversy: Dissonance to Harmony

Here are a few things I wrote about controversy in a paper from about a year ago…

Controversy is a result of sin. Sin depraves the minds of men in their approach to the loving, glorious, jealous, angry, and merciful God. One must engage in controversy sinlessly similarly to how the Psalmist discussed engaging in battle sinlessly in Psalm 91:7-8:
“A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked.”

The controversy in itself is not bad but it grows out of the depraved views of men. A man retreating from battle is the most obvious sign of cowardice; similarly a man who engages in battle for the enjoyment of killing is monstrous. Facing controversy is necessary but deep entanglements of emotions must be avoided to stay focused on Christ’s purpose for the controversy. One must use it to develop convictions based on Scripture through the power of the Holy Spirit. Learning what God loves and hates must be a priority. Christians must express God’s desires in their lives to their neighbors so that they may know the One who loves them. We have to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ.

Controversy is necessary as one examines the Scriptures… The need for controversy can be seen in Acts 17:2-3. In this passage, Paul “reasoned,” “explained,” and “proved” the Scriptures to the Thessalonians. In the midst of controversy Paul showed that Christ needed to suffer and rise from the dead. Paul’s approach gives Christians today a model of how to approach a controversial circumstance.

Controversy can draw one to the truth, but it can also push one away from the truth. All of Christ’s teachings were controversial. An natural example of controversy is dissonance in music. Beautiful and resolute conclusions in music are often prepared by tense and dissonant chords. In the same way, God uses controversy to develop resolute conclusions or convictions within His elect… Controversy exists to strengthen Christians in their faith. Strengthened faith in Christ results in the assurance of salvation. When assurance of salvation exists in a community of believers God’s church will grow, because people’s assurance is genuine in the rock of Christ. Through God’s two books, nature and Scripture, He will bring the elect to a saving knowledge of Christ. He is who He claimed to be as God within the trinity!

However, it is important for believers to have the attitude of Jesus Christ (Eph 2:5) when approaching difficult issues. Christ faced controversy without using weapons of this world (Eph 6:12; Col 1:13). Rather, He was a long-suffering servant (Ro 15:8; Phil 2:7; Matt 20:28; Mk 10:45; 1 Tim 1:16; 2 Pet 3:15) who denied Himself at great expense so that we might have unity and fellowship with God (Phil 2:1; 1 Cor 1:9; 2 Cor 13:14; Phil 2:1; 1 Jn 1:3, 6). Christ’s attitude should be seen as believers approach disagreements. Christians are called to speak the truth in love and to pursue unity within the church. Christians can minimize their effectiveness to reach the lost as they focus on controversy instead of Christ.

Mankind creating controversy is not always profitable. Man, in his sin, has the tendency to arrive at an opposing viewpoint to that of God (Romans 3). Controversy exists in creation because God has willed it. Fallen creation is the best way to reveal His glory to humanity because this is what He has actually willed!

After writing this I have found myself in the middle of quite a few situations of working through controversy. I know it is because of my depravity...pray it is not because I enjoy it. Trust me I don't! I pray that the our Lord Jesus Christ will bring me through to see the resolution of a beautiful harmony from some of this dissonance.

In Christ

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