Wow, two posts in one day! But now that the wireless connection at TBS has improved, I can sit at the table on my laptop instead of standing by the door.
Lately I’ve been struck with how often Christians (including myself in particular) lack in the area of humility. On Friday mornings I have an absolutely fabulous class on pastoral leadership that has really got me thinking on this. Both our readings and lectures have made the point that true leadership needs to be marked by humility. Last weekend TBS hosted the International Baptist Conference dedicated to the theme of worship. The first session had Joe Boot (Canadian Director of RZIM) address the issue of worship wars. What struck me about his session and the way he handled a person during the Q&A was that his life and ministry was characterised by humility. He emphasised the need to be humble, particularly when one differs with another Christian on the issue of congregational worship. He also handled a particularly abrasive questioner with a tremendous balance of humility and firmness.
Just now, as I was looking at Challies.com, I caught a link to the New Attitude site where Pastor Mark Lauterbach spoke to the great need of humility when disagreeing with another believer. He provided an excellent list on how to deal with others that I found to be helpful for my own thinking and thought I’d blog it:
1. Be quick to remember that this person is one with whom I will share in eternal glory around the Lamb.
2. Review with them the foundation of our salvation, and review it in detail. Review the stunning grace of God through Christ’s death to undeserving sinners. Spend time reviewing how you each appreciate grace and what new ways it has melted your heart.
3. Be quick to hear the position of those you disagree with and make sure it is understood so well that they tell us we are stating it fairly. I like to begin my rebuttal while they are speaking but that is a mark of pride. Pride also results in false stereotypes, generalizations, and extreme examples.
4. Go to Scripture. How quickly we set aside our Bibles and simply talk theology with each other. Open the text. Walk through the text.
5. Watch against uncharitable judgments of motives, education, consistency, etc.
6. Perhaps agree to disagree. But go to learn as well as to make a point.
The fifth point about uncharitable judgments was especially helpful, as I tend to do this. It’s so easy to dismiss someone’s argument by seeking out an agenda behind it. In a formal debate that would be called an ad hominem argument. That is a fallacy.
There has been much that I have learned from Dr. Haykin as I have worked for him and observed his life and scholarship. One maxim that runs around in my head that he has said on a number of occasions is very applicable to this post and should be point number seven. When disagreeing with a member of another viewpoint (say an amil disagreeing with a dispy), never refer to the worst example of the opposing viewpoint to win an argument. So, if I, as an amillennialist were to disagree with a dispensationalist brother, I shouldn’t poke holes in the Left Behind series. Rather, I should address the arguments of dispensationalism’s best adherents. This is the height of charity and truly does seek the cause of truth. Isn’t this something that we would want others to do with us? Would I, as a Calvinist, want an Arminian brother to demonise my view because Mark Carpenter (outsidethecamp.com) claims to be a Calvinist?
I pray to God that I can be more charitable towards those who differ with me and show them the love of Christ in all things.