When an Argument is a Sideshow

“Therefore I say: Listen to me;
    I too will tell you what I know.
I waited while you spoke,
    I listened to your reasoning;
while you were searching for words,
    I gave you my full attention.
But not one of you has proved Job wrong;
    none of you has answered his arguments.
Do not say, ‘We have found wisdom;
    let God, not a man, refute him.’
But Job has not marshaled his words against me,
    and I will not answer him with your arguments.

  • Job 32:10-14

Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

  • 2 Timothy 2:23-26

But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.

  • Titus 3:9-11

My wife and I have attended a variety of churches over the years.  Some pastors preached the Truth. Some pastors were Biblical, but you could never quite figure out where they were coming from.  Some were so far off from Biblical values and the teaching of Jesus that you simply could not listen to them.  And then there was one…

That last one bragged from the pulpit that he was not called into the ministry.  He simply liked working for an hour on Sunday and goofing off the rest of the week.  He followed up this sermon about goofing off by telling the church secretary each day of the week that he was going out to do pastoral care.  Instead, he went to a fast-food restaurant that has since changed its coffee policy – mainly due to people like him.  He would take a racy mystery novel into the restaurant and get free refills of his coffee for the next eight hours.

Besides his goofing off sermon, he spoke all sorts of heresy and insane garbage, as in the sermon where he told the congregation that he believed in reincarnation and in a previous life, he was a black female.  For that reason, he felt drawn to the causes of African Americans.  No, the denomination does not provide any allowance for reincarnation.  You have this one life and then you are judged.

Many educated liberal Christians* like to argue with someone that they deem as worthy.

*I like what R. C. Sproul said about liberal Christians.  He said that the term was an oxymoron.  If you picked and chose what verses you agreed with and threw away the rest, how can you call yourself a Christian?

I was selected as worthy to argue with him.  I had more education than anyone in the congregation, according to the preacher.  I will not call him a pastor as he proved to never do pastoral care.  I had a reasonable intellect.  He chose me to be his sparring partner.

One Sunday I tried to avoid him, but he stepped away from those shaking his hand to demand an argument.  “How did you like my sermon?” he asked.  I gave him a half dozen reasons why the sermon was either blasphemy or heresy.  I gave Bible references for most of those points.  He laughed, but I also noticed that others were laughing.  I looked around and I saw a small gathering.  I left the church without saying another word.

The next Sunday was the first Sunday of a three-part sermon on Jesus vs. Tiger Woods, back when Tiger Woods was just starting to win golf tournaments.  Again, I tried to dodge the preacher, but he ran me down and asked the same question as the week before.  I replied that his ‘sermon’ was not a sermon at all.  It was drivel at best and totally blasphemous.  I could quote Scripture, but there was no need.  Just read the entire Bible.  His entire ‘talk’ went counter to everything written in the Bible.  The crowd that gathered to hear the argument seemed to be larger than the crowd that had attended church.  There was much laughter and applause after I had spoken.  I walked past the preacher and never attended a worship service there again.  I learned that the sermon was three parts through my wife who continued for a few months to attend, since she was the chairman of the Board of Deacons at that time.  I taught my Sunday school class and then walked home, and she drove home after the service.  At the end of the three-part sermon, she said that his conclusion of Jesus vs. Tiger Woods was that Tiger was a better golfer.

Paul told Timothy and Titus to not argue with fools.  I should have listened.  The sideshow after church was grand entertainment.  No matter which side these people were on, they were there for the sparring match.  Worshipping God had nothing to do with why they were attending.  Some people were probably disappointed that the argument did not lead to blows.  They wanted to see blood.

All sideshows take interest away from the main event.  As we discussed yesterday, the focus of worship must be on Christ and Christ alone.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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