I’m sure we’ve all been told at some point in our lives to “Never discuss religion and politics.” And while one may lead to the other, my concern right now is with the religious part.
I fear that while the concept sounds good on the surface, it has become a barrier to Christians living a spiritually healthy life. Instead of being like Philip teaching the eunuch in Acts 8, we’ve become like Peter when he denied Jesus. Now maybe that’s a bit of hyperbole, but you get the point. In an effort to appear more socially acceptable, we have learned to discuss sports or some other hobby and sometimes even politics before we’ll even broach the subject of biblical purity.
For Christians, though, we should be just as eager to talk about the bible as we are about football or video games.
As I said in my introduction, one of the main ideas behind this blog is to help encourage myself to more regularly study the bible. Another of the ideas is that in doing so, I might use my studies as a part of following the great commission:
…“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature…” (Mark 16:15).
It is my sincerest desire that people come to know Christ and His salvation. If I can help teach that with what I write, well, Praise God!
Anyway, back to what I was saying before: “Never discuss religion…”
The singular reason this phrase exists is because religion and politics both are often a matter of argument and divisiveness. People often become very polarized about their beliefs and will fight tooth and nail to hang onto them, right or wrong.
Jesus even predicted this when he said:
“Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:51-53 ESV)
Basically, some are going to accept the truth, and some are not, and this is going to divide them.
However, unity and peace can be found if we are all out to seek the truth in what God has directed us.
I’ve come up with a few guidelines for how we can do that in our discussions here, and this is what I mean by The DiscipleGeek Promise. It’s a promise that I’m making to you, and that I’d like you to make to me and everyone else here if you choose to join in on the discussion.
I promise to:
1. Quote scripture. “I think” “I feel” “I believe” are all trumped by scripture. If what we think, feel, or believe cannot be backed up by scripture, it is most likely that it is unscriptual and something that should be reconsidered.
2. Use scripture to interpret scripture. I often hear in religious discussions the phrase: “That’s not how I interpret it…” How we interpret things is not really in consideration when studying the bible:
“And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:19-21 KJV emphasis mine)
3. Consider the context. Contextual meaning is very important, and we must consider the context of the passage in relation to not just the few sentences or paragraphs surrounding it, but the whole message that God has given us. That kinda goes back to #2 I suppose.
4. Avoid Arguments on Semantics. It’s going to happen. I say potato, you say pot-ah-to, and we start butting heads because we’re comparing apples and oranges. The best way to avoid this is to begin by defining exactly what is meant by the terms we use. (Or have steak instead of fruit and veggies… 😀 )
I know that inevitably we will argue. I just pray that with all this in mind, we can approach the matter with reverence and treat each other with kindness and love and by doing so have some civil bible studies. I’m looking forward to learning more about His word with all of you.