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Charity in Controversy August 7, 2007

Posted by larrylaz in Quotes, Random Musings.


This morning I shared a quote from John Stott that I read in the introduction to the book Beyond the Bounds: Open Theism and the Undermining of Biblical Christianity. As I mentioned, I was greatly encouraged by Justin Taylor’s introductory words. In it, he concedes that many people in our pluralistic society will regard a book such as this with disdain, thinking that to refute the teaching of other people is incompatible with Christian charity and humility. Taylor then gives five principles for engaging in such disputes about theology:

1. Controversy is required when essential truths are called into question. ‘Every significant doctrinal teaching in the church has been refined in the furnace of controversy.’

2. Truth and love are necessary companions in doctrinal disputes.

3. We must distinguish between a tolerant spirit towards persons that manifests itself in love, and a tolerant mind toward ideas that is never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. The former is to be pursued at all costs, while the latter is to be resisted at all costs.

4. We must love and pray for the good of those whom we critique. That’s convicting stuff! Far too often I have been guilty.

5. We must commune with God in the doctrines for which we contend. If I am not moved to love and delight in God’s sovereign power as I contend for the truthfulness of that doctrine, then I am not contending as I ought to. The endurance required to engage in doctrinal controversy is sustained by joy in the One whom we are defending.

Thankful for those who have contended for the truth, and in doing so have preserved the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 4),




1. ralph - August 7, 2007


Thanks for sharing this. I enjoy hearing you think aloud and am encouraged by your zeal for the truth!

I also have another book to add to my “wishlist.” :-)

2. larrylaz - August 8, 2007


You also are an encouragement to me with your passion for the truths of God’s Word. I’d be happy to loan you the book if you are interested. There is some tough sledding in it, but if you have ever spoken with people who teach or believe in ‘open theism’, it is a great resource.


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