Friday, October 09, 2009

John Newton on Controversy

Bible teachers are always called to stand for truth, and help people grow in their understanding of complex subjects. That means you will be embroiled in conflicts and disagreements over theological views on occasion.

I believe God uses controversies to draw His people to Himself, because they cannot be resolved or properly dealt with apart from God's power and grace. We allow Satan far too much when we do not turn to God for help!

John Newton wrote much, much more than the hymn "Amazing Grace." I recently came across this short letter he wrote to a friend, which people have titled "On Controversy."

In this letter Newton counsels a minister friend who wants to publish an article criticizing another man for his theological positions.

I recommend you read "On Controversy" for two reasons:

1. It's well written, sound, and timeless advice on handling disagreements.
2. It taps into a useful approach for thinking through our actions -- how will this affect your 'opponent,' the public, and ourselves? It's good to see the public included as second, ahead of ourselves, since we are ambassadors for Jesus Christ.

Note: though written from a Calvinist perspective, there is wise counsel here for any Christian.

HT: Between Two Worlds

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