“But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.” – Titus 3:9-11
We’ve all been there, either in a bible study, on Facebook, public forums, blogs, at work, or even among friends. We’re having a conversation, discussion, or sharing something that is in our heart and in comes “a debater”. They have no interest in learning or cooperate sharing, after all they already think they know everything and they are going to ask stupid questions to evoke anticipated answers, make pointless statements, and raise fruitless issues trying to prove it. Their reflections, rejections, and interjections only goal is to take control of the conversation for the sake of drawing attention to themselves and away from truth. They’re points are nearly always ignorant, poorly researched, backless twistings of the truth, yet they are convinced that it makes them seem smart and important when it is actually doing exactly the opposite. It is doing nothing but proving them, and those that choose to fall for their ploys and join in, to be weak minded, petty, and foolish. They care not how many people they lead astray, confuse, or discourage if they can get a moments notoriety out of it. They love to debate, and God hates it.
In our opening passage we read some pretty strong words about these kinds of people. Though God loves for us to study His word, even commanding us to do so, He rejects those that love to debate it, saying that they are “subversed” which means: “twisted, perverted, corrupt”. It also says that he is a heretic, meaning “one who spreads false doctrine, does not obey scripture, and does not submit to God’s word.”
You can not prove the word of God while disobeying it, this is why debating the bible is never fruitful and never glorifies God. Never let the devil bait you or provoke you into a debate, he is only trying to get you to start responding in the flesh so he can cause you to corrupt your testimony and message with what looks to the world like…well, like them.
The devil will always use those with a debative spirit to try to draw you into their sin and get you debating back. Don’t take the bait! When people start debating on my public forums I find the quickest and most effective way to shut them down is the same way Jesus silenced satan’s provocations in the wilderness. I simply quote scripture. I say, “guys we are not going to debate because God says that debaters, and even those that enjoy watching or reading those debates or worthy of death. In his eyes their sin is equated to murder.” I then quote the following passage and watch the arguing cease and return to humble discussion as the debaters are either convicted or depart.
“Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” – Romans 1:29-32
So now that we see how severely God views debate and how much the devil wants to draw us into it, you might ask… “Where does sharing or even defending your faith or beliefs cross the line into being debative? When pride is involved, when it’s confrontational, when it’s arrogant or argumentative, when you desire to make it a one-sided conversation establishing your dominance and superiority in the given situation or on the given topic. Know that anytime humility ceases and pride takes over, you are debating. When you feel that you need to come out on top of the discussion or disagreement. In essence, it is when making your point becomes more important then the soul you are trying to make it too.
We must never hesitate to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others, yet we must understand that it has to be done in the right spirit or else we are doing more harm then good and giving the devil access to discredit our words by our actions. When we speak of the things of God with others, even in the face of ridicule, attacks, persecution, or provocations, let us always do so with love, humility, and selflessness. When we carry the message and Name of Christ before others, let it always be with sincerity and reverence, fearing even the possibility of tarnishing or misrepresenting that Name by word or action.
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.” – 1 Peter 3:15-16