Should We Be Nice Guys in Matters of Doctrine?

I saw this posting this morning and it’s short and sweet and to the point. I’m not going to link to this site but will publish it in its entirety and maybe interact with it and allow you to interact with it as well.

“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

That’s right. All you have to do to go straight to eternal punishment after a life of religion is to fail to stand for biblical doctrine. So, just be nice and make sure everybody likes you.

While the article might be true and I say might because not everyone who is nice towards others is hell bound. If that were the case than Paul’s words to Timothy were blasphemous.

2Timothy 2:23-26 (emphasis mine)

Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

 

Peter shared a similar statement below;

 1Peter 3:15-16  (emphasis mine)

but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

 Both texts share a similar word “prautus” which is used for the word “gentleness”. This word generally means the quality of not being overly impressed by a sense of one’s self-importance, gentleness, humility, courtesy, considerateness, meekness  

I don’t believe the writer of the posting in italics follows Peter and Paul’s command and defines “nice” the way they did. In fact most of us, including me have not done a very good job being “nice”. I know there were times I could have been more “nicer” to my opponents. I’m sure you can all say the same thing.

While we may not all share the same definiton of the word “nice”, at least this side of heaven, we should all pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help us all be “nice” at all time toward all men. Amen?

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5 thoughts on “Should We Be Nice Guys in Matters of Doctrine?

  1. A great topic Phil. We who are engaged in challenging controversial groups need always to be reminded of biblical balance!

    I love what John Piper writes about John Newton:

    “Patience and perception guided him between doctrinaire intellectualism on the one side and doctrinal indifference and carelessness on the other side. “I have been 30 years forming my own views and in the course of time some of my hills have sunk and valleys have risen: but, how unreasonable within me to expect all this should take place in another person; and that in the course of a year or two”

    “I am a friend of peace and being deeply convinced that no one can profitably understand the great truths and doctrines of the gospel any farther than he is taught of God, I have not a wish to obtrude my own tenets upon others , in a way of controversy; yet I do not think myself bound to conceal them”

    He loved biblical Calvinism ” essential to my peace, friendly to holiness, direct influence in maintaining gospel conversation and so I am not ashamed of them. Yet the Scripture which teaches us what we are to say, is equally explicit as to the temper and spirit in which we are to speak. Of all people who engage in controversy, we, who are called Calvinists, are most expressly bound by our own principles to exercise gentleness and moderation. If our zeal is embittered by expressions of anger, invective, or scorn, we may think we are doing service to the cause of truth when in reality we shall only bring it into discredit”

    He advised a friend regarding controversy ” before you set pen to paper, commend him (opponent) by earnest prayer to the Lord’s teaching and blessing. This practice will have a tendency to conciliate your heart to love and pity him and such a disposition will have a good influence upon every page you write. In a little while you will meet with him in heaven, anticipate that period in your thoughts.”

    We cannot agree with the advice often dished out by our opponents “Why raise these issues – just forgive and leave it to the Lord to sort out” Like Newton, we will not conceal our biblical concerns in WHAT we say but we will also strive by grace to be biblical in HOW we say it!

  2. @Bro keith,

    Great thinking and exhortation.We mustnt strive to win an argument at the detriment of a brother.We also shld refrain from branding men the moment we differ on issues.2Tm2:24-25..meekness is required all the time and gentleness.
    All belivers SHOULD NOT be calvinists!Paul wasnt at least,so if i see a non calvinist..i musnt get vulgar and rude in the name of…Christ
    blessings to u

  3. Ok, so whose “biblical doctrine” is relevant here? And what “biblical doctrine” is this chap referring to? And who is he condemning to a quick exit to hell? And surely he doesn’t arrive at this “stright to hell” stuff form the quoted scripture? (Mark 3:38)

    Methinks there are those “believers” who delight in the fact that they have a corner on truth and all of those poor misguided souls who don’t see things their way are doomed to an eternity of torment.

    Question is, if Jesus died for me, paid the price for my sins and redeemed me from a certain fiery eternity, and I have embraced Him, and He has given me His Holy Spirit, and I rejoice in fellowship with the Father, and then somehow get my “biblical doctrine” wrong, is the redemption cancelled? Is that the unforgivable sin?

    It doesn’t say that God so loved to send people to Hell that He scrutinised their every belief and doctrine so that He could find escape clauses to not have to fulfill his part in the plan of redemption.

    And what’s wrong with being nice to people? My neighbour is a great sinner, but my Lord tells me to love him.

    And even if it is a believer (could be classified as a “life of religion” by our blogger here) we are told to be nice to him. Gal 6:1 says “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”

    I will watch this space with interest.

  4. Hi Guys,

    The blogger in question is one of those people who seem to think he/she has perfect doctrine and anyone who doesn’t walk that same doctrinal tightrope as they do is dismissed as “unsaved” or a “nut” or whatever. Boyd Miller says that hyper separationists wind up in a cult or a cave and I happen to agree with this assessment.
    Jesus stated the following in regards to these types of people

    Matthew 23:2-3

    “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so practice and observe whatever they tell you–but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.

    The above text describes this blogger to a tee and as Keith has correctly exhorted we must commit this individual to prayer. Had I not I would have already blasted this blogger into cyber bits. I thought handling it this way by dealing with the issue rather than the person would be edifying and charitable (read nice) rather than bringing down the hammer.

    I can’t seem to find a scripture where doctrinal infallibility was a requirement for salvation but I’m sure the blogger in question can twist one to fit his/her agenda quite nicely as this persons misuse of Mark 8:38 clearly demonstrates. Once again cults and caves come to mind.

    Is sound doctrine important? Yes it is! Are we to correct our errant brothers and sisters in the Lord? Yes, a thousand times yes but how we go about this makes all the difference!

    Thanks,

    Phil

    • Amen Phil! While this discussion has rightly emphasised the need to season all our speech with grace, let’s not forget that it is also vitally important to “study to show ourselves approved, workmen rightly dividing the word of truth”. It’s not just about being “nice” to those we understand to be in serious doctrinal error . It’s also not just making sure they know their error. It not “either/or” its “both/and” ! “Speaking the truth in love”

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