So, how do we conduct ourselves in discussions and interaction with people who hold different theological views than we do? Dustin Neeley has some simple yet effective and important pointers for those of us that need them (I'm sure I don't need them :-P ). I'll just stick to posting his introduction and four points without his added commentary, so if you want to read his entire post (I recommend you do) you'll have to hop over to The Resurgence and read the rest there. :-)
How to Fight Clean Over Doctrine: pursue humility with the same passion that you pursue clarity
Meet Tim and Ted, brand new, computer-selected freshman roommates at the local Christian college.
Tim became a Calvinist about six months ago. He reads Reformed books, listens to Reformed podcasts, talks incessantly about Reformed theology, and just got a “Soli Deo Gloria” tattoo. Tim is obnoxious.
Ted, his roommate, is not Reformed. In fact, he actually doesn’t like Reformed people very much. He listens to Southern Gospel music on tape and is against all tattoos of any kind. Tim is equally obnoxious.
It’s going to be a long semester.
Were we to listen in on their conversations (significant disagreements) throughout their short journey together, we would likely hear several things: first, we would hear two young men who are equally passionate about what they believe; second, we would hear that they actually agree on much more than they disagree on, but are usually shouting too loudly to hear it themselves; third, we would hear that they are not very different from those of us listening in.
Over the years, I have seen “intramural debates” over minor issues, such as the end times and spiritual gifts, become major problems. I have seen people get fired up over secondary issues, and all the while, the gospel was obscured, the mission was sidetracked, and the body of Christ injured in the process.
So what is the alternative? Just skip doctrinal discussions because they could be potentially divisive? Hardly. How about we just find a way to “fight clean” over doctrine? Consider these suggestions:
1. Keep the cross at the center of your theological system.
2. Ask yourself some uncomfortable questions.
3. Remember that you probably held the other position not long ago.
4. Pursue humility with the same passion that you pursue clarity.
Be sure to read the rest here!