Religion & Philosophy

Is it Right to “Debate” on Issues of the Bible?

young man thinking

This question has been on my mind right from my University days. From home to Church to school, I have always been met by advisers who said, “Hey, this is the Bible, don’t debate on it, whenever I attempted probing them about my thoughts.

Well, the book of Proverbs (Proverbs 24:6) said in the multitude of advisers there is safety, but I wasn’t safe; for I was surrounded dangerously by questions that squeezed my thoughts.

As I pondered on this, within the week I happened upon 1 Cor. 1:22: “For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after WISDOM”.

Paul was talking from experience here. He understood the frame of mind of both Jews and Greeks and he aptly gave the summary of their ideologies.

What is important in this context is that “the Greeks seek after WISDOM”.

In other words, you cannot simply go to Harvard University now, terribly anointed and ask them to give their life to Christ. You will receive stares that you couldn’t have imagined in your wildest dreams.

There must be allowance for reason – for logic – debatable logic as it were.

So many support this notion of shying away from debates by quoting, 2 Tim.2:23: “But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes”.

They read the first part and leave the second. But the Bible makes it clear, “foolish AND unlearned”. The two must go together before you avoid those kind of questions.

What are examples of foolish and unlearned questions? Remember the question Jesus was asked in Matthew 22:23-28? That was an example of a foolish BUT Learned question.

And Jesus’ reply was “Ye do err, not KNOWING the Scriptures…”. This question did not really need debates. So after answering them, Jesus moved on to more important matters.

Compare that to verses 35-45, of the same Matthew 22. When Jesus actually DEBATED with lawyers, convincing others standing nearby.

I perceive that there is a hazy dearth in KNOWLEDGE and REASONABLENESS that is why we cannot discern when we have to “contend” for the Faith once delivered to us.

The Apostle Pauls’, the Martin Luthers’, the C.S. Lewis’,were not known for JUST their anointing but their intellectual prowess – their logic in the face of dissension.

Reading through Charles G. Finney’s biography, one of the things that hindered is salvation as he recorded, was the fact that when he was before the preaching of the local preacher nearby, he could not count how many illogicalities he actually heard.

Astonished, he thought this God must me really illogical.

It is crazy! There is so much priority on Faith without Logic in modernistic Pentecostalism that the “logic” of atheism is sweeping Christians off their feet.

They run away, their tails between their legs, when they claim to avoid “foolish” questions.

The more they avoid those evil questions, the more the devil answers it for those waiting for answers.

If it was truly foolish, for instance, “Is it right or a woman to rub powder on her face?”, we would understand. But these are questions that wage war on the very foundations of Christian values and conduct.

Now this is not far-fetched. In Acts 26:28, Agrippa answered Paul, “Almost thou PERSUADEST me to be a Christian”!

Persuasion. There is no persuasion without Logic. Remember 1 Cor. 1:22, “the Greeks see after wisdom”. If his words weren’t strung together in logic, there was no way Agrippa would have been left without words.

A friend wrote on his timeline the other day about the Church being responsible for the rise in anti-theistic and atheistic views in the world today.

I expressed deference to that line of thought. Knowledge, or the lack of it is widely responsible.

The phrase “methodological naturalism” became common in Harvard a few decades after her founding.

The phrase implied making a distinction between “faith” and “reason”. In other words, scientific processes should be carried out without the illusion of “faith”.

Some allege that the world has gone really bad, and on and on they go. How do you explain to these folks that as far back as the 15th Century, Rene Descartes had already postulated “I think, therefore, I am“, a firm root of “realism”?

How do you persuade such people? You say, God will touch them. That is your reply? Or, they will receive a revelation from God.

How do you contend for the faith once delivered to the saints when you give God all responsibility? A vessel unto dishonor?

Arm yourself to the teeth with Knowledge. A kind of knowledge that doesn’t run from arguments, carefully pummeling the very stronghold of Satan’s “wisdom”.

In Acts 18:24, a man called Apollos was mentioned. When he was described, before his knowledge of Scriptures, the word that came out first was “an eloquent man”.

It was recorded in vs. 28 that “he mightily convinced the Jews”. Wait what? But in preceding verses, Paul just left Ephesus in vs. 19, are you saying he didn’t convince the Jews? There wasn’t any record to show he did!

Beyond preachers and evangelists, we need apologists, those who will debate to the death the basis of the Christian faith without shying away on the basis of running away from foolish questions.

One of the questions making the rounds was about “eternal salvation”. Does it match the criteria for “foolish AND unlearned”? “Foolish”, maybe, but “unlearned”? Not in a moment!

In John 17:12, Jesus said, “…those that thou GAVEST me I have KEPT and none is lost, EXCEPT the son of perdition”. That means one was lost! This was before he went to Golgotha.

Before this in John 15:4, Jesus said, “ABIDE in me”. In other words, he has the power to keep you only if you choose to ABIDE! To stay!

If Jesus said “Abide”, who are you to say, “no matter what do, Jesus will keep me”?

It is logical.

“Why did Jesus not pray for Judas Iscariot the way he prayed for Peter in Luke 22:32?”. That is both a FOOLISH and UNLEARNED question and should be avoided.

In Acts 1:25, the early church recognized this when it was recorded, “that he may take part of this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell…”.

It is possible to fall away from the Grace of God.

Remember, for every debate and question you avoid, you allow the Devil answer on your behalf.

Contend, without swords but words to quench the fiery darts of the Wicked one.

Jesus is Lord of All or He is not Lord at all.

Love you all.

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About the author

Johnmark Obiefuna

A Computer Scientist by profession and a writer by hobby. A liberal, ardent reader and observer of philosophical and religious views. I play the keyboard proficiently, give public talks and I'm also involved in a chess club.

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