Arguments that can create divisions amongst us
There are so many times, we can be small-minded and arrogant people who argue with our fellow Christians over such small things. I ask myself during these times, that really does the argument matter as compared to God's eternal glory and sacrifice for us?
As a Church, we are all members of the same body, and we are all baptised by the same Holy Spirit, that together we form the body of Christ, which is the Church. This is all for God's eternal glory and purpose. When we come together in one church, as one holy body of Christ, arguments and disagreements are sure to arise, as we are all imperfect, falling short of the glory of God. But when we have arguments, are we speaking to edify a person or to bring them down?
Do we start creating divisions in the church or are we forsaking God's eternal glory for our own sake? Paul says in 1 Timothy 6 verses 4-5, that people who argue with others over knowledge of the Bible or doctrine are puffed up with pride, not understanding anything. He goes on to say that from pride and debate spring envy, strife, abusive speeches, wicked suspicions and violent disputes.
These trifles are on the part of men corrupted in mind and despoiled of the truth. This shows that internal debate only makes us more arrogant and self-righteous, which does nothing to glorify God and our Salvation. As quoted in "Imitation of Christ", "All the talk in the world won't satisfy the soul's needs; nothing but a good conscience will help you face God unashamed".
My personal encounters with arguments
As a Christian and a scientist, I have come across the same arguments over and over again. One such example is the mysteries of the universe and the evolution / creationism debate. People argue with me saying that, because we do not know everything about the universe and cannot prove that God exists, that means God does not exist. The truth is that if we knew everything about God he wouldn't be God! This is because we as finite beings cannot understand Him, who is infinite. It is precisely the fact, that because we do not know everything about the universe and cannot prove that God exists, only goes to show how great and superior God really is and points even more to a higher entity that does exist.
People always ask me, "How can you be a Christian and be a scientist at the same time? Do you then believe in evolution and not creationism?" This classic debate alone sparks such incredulous dispute, strife and divisions amongst Christians. While this debate has been used as a tool for evangelism, I believe it is a dangerous topic, whichever side you take.
Not only is this a danger to our fellow Christians by creating unnecessary division, but also isolates many non-believers. It distracts from the central theme of Christianity, which is the salvation through Christ. Not only this, those who have different beliefs can feel ridiculed, when they should feel loved and accepted. All that matters is that God created us whether it was in done in one week or by evolution!
Some non-Christians state that if you are a scientist, then you must be logical and analytical, and that this is incompatible with faith. This suggests that people think that we Christians have blind faith. This is not true! It is precisely that because I am a scientist that I have more faith and belief that God exists. The fact that the human body and all it's mechanics is so awesome and so intricate. Our intricate design must point to a higher God, which is the only reason our human bodies are so perfect. We as Christians have plenty of evidence for our faith!
We cannot try to put God in a little box and subject Him to what we think we know. It reminds me of the story of how the Babylonians wanted to build a tower high enough to reach Heaven, thinking that they can make a name for themselves. Instead God came down, made them all speak different languages so then they could not understand each other and so could not build the tower to reach Heaven (Genesis chapter 11).
For the sake of God's eternal glory
When we argue over such trivial matters, I feel we become no different than that of the world, bickering about minor things that don't really matter as compared to God's eternal glory. God has chosen us to be the holy people he loves, we must clothe ourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Colossians chapter 3 verse 12).
We should avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will (2 Timothy chapter 2 verses 23-26).
And lastly, to remind each other of these things, charging each other before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babbling, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer (2 Timothy chapter 2 verses 14-17).
Let us remain humble, and gain wisdom from God and His Holy Spirit, that we may fight the good fight, to not give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification, which is in faith.
Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith (1 Timothy chapter 1 verses 4-5). May we not strive to argue over the small things that do not matter as compared to God's eternal glory and God's superiority over all of us and everything in this world.
Clarissa Yates is from Singapore but moved to live in Perth, Western Australia in 2008. Clarissa married in 2012 and obtained an International Scholarship to do her Doctorate at the Australian Neuromuscular Research Institute from 2013-2015 on Therapies for Spinal Muscular Atrophy.
Clarissa Yates previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/clarissa-yates.html