We obviously engage in theological debates here at Caffeinated Theology. I believe having a discussion about different theological positions is good and healthy, provided it is done in love and with a desire to sharpen one another. Far too often, however, debate can turn into two parties trying to bludgeon one another. I don’t know about you, but I’ve encountered this a number of times on Facebook.
Russell Moore brings up some great points in a post he wrote on Monday:
It’s just that, all too often, it seems to me that these debates are so intense for reasons other than just fidelity to Scripture.
The Dungeons and Dragons clubs came to mind because those guys, at least in my junior high school, seemed to be obsessed with something that seemed to have no relevance at all to their lives, or to anyone else’s. But D&D became their identity. Because it mattered, they mattered. This was by no means restricted to these folk, and to their video-gaming or skateboarding cousins. It’s the same phenomenon in the people for whom a sports team became a personal obsession. The win or loss of my team is a personal victory, because it is totemic of who I am.
I fear that, all too often, our theological debates fall precisely into this category. We fight them so fiercely because there’s so little at stake in the way we view them. The professional Calvinist in his Internet forum sees a reluctance to embrace effectual calling as a personal attack, as a rejection of him. The anonymous-letter writing anti-Calvinist sees in the Calvinist a repudiation of his own background, of the kinds of churches and methods that led him to Christ. Rather than seeking to understand each other, and love one another with a convictional empathy, we claw and bite one another. That’s because, all too often, what we want is to be right, rather than to build up one another in the faith.
And that is the crux, we as followers of Christ should seek to build one another up. I know I’ve been guilty of not doing this, so perhaps this post was written more for me than any of you.
Thoughts? How can we engage in meaningful debate here while at the same time build one another up?