So you just heard some say “Put your faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sin.” without invoking the Five Points of Calvinism. Just heard someone else say that you are “lucky”? Maybe you heard someone announce their weekend plans without uttering the words “God willing.” What to do? Here are a few pointers:
1.) Don’t be hasty. Get to know a person before you make broad assumptions about their theology.
2.) Don’t over-analyze. True, their language may betray a lack of understanding of the sovereignty of God in their theology, but don’t correct them simply for NOT saying something.
3.) Be gracious. Understand that you do not have perfect theology. Every day we, ourselves, may be holding beliefs that don’t fit together but we just don’t see it yet. We may never see our own errors until we get to heaven. The same goes for others.
4.) Seek to teach, not just correct.
5.) Give a little. Does the sun rise? Or does the Earth rotate in it’s orbit? What I call “the language of appearance” is acceptable when we speak of Biblical matters to. Jesus did not qualify every invitation to salvation with a statements about the sovereignty of God. Sometimes He sure DID, but not always. Don’t demand that everyone always show both sides of a coin.
6.) Be loving. Ask yourself “How would I want to be approached if I was in error?” In most cases just asking this question will lead you away from embarrassing, angering, or alienating someone else.
Make no bones about it, doctrine is the glue that holds the church together, and the saints should always want to contend for the faith. Sometimes we just need to cool our jets a little. Honestly, I find that those people that are most overbearing about correcting others are those who don’t really know what they, themselves, believe. They just know what’s wrong and they are quick to point it out. Unfortunately, there are those who Do know there stuff and will divide over the smallest difference. This is the product of arrogance and a complete lack of humility. It is a spirit that seeks to exalt itself by using knowledge rather than using that knowledge to advance the kingdom.
In the meantime, contend for the faith, but do it in love: quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger (James 1:19). (Why didn’t I just wite that in the first place?)