Drinking Deeply

Saturday, June 04, 2005 at 4:10 PM

Reflections on Argumentation

I guess this is a reflection upon what I've written earlier. This is what I've believed from the beginning, but lest my readers be confused I will clarify.

A few weeks ago I sent off an email to some friends about abortion. One of them responded and I really took issue with here.

I will and do stand by all that I've written thus far on it. I do believe that some of the views expressed in her email are untenable from a Biblical standpoint. I've expressed my concern about her views and laid them out and asked her to clarify them, not for my sake but for the third party's. Additionally, I realize that from a brief reading of what I've written, it sounds like I am angry that someone has put forth such views.

To an extent that is true, I cry because God's Word isn't honored. I cry because His law isn't revered. I cry because His people don't honor Him, but my duty is to proclaim the truth and defend it, but I on my own cannot convince anyone of it. To claim to do so (or to feel disappointed when I fail) is to deny God His providence over all. It is ultimately not the consistency of an argument that convinces anyone but God's grace. I do believe this, and it's something I've been reminded of over and over again.

Of course, this must be qualified by the fact that, as a Christian, it is possible to present arguments as that are invincible. This is true when one grounds an argument on Scripture. This is why I believe that appealing to secular authorities, emotions, and feelings to the exclusion of Scripture undermines an argument rather than bolsters it. An argument is only as strong as it's weakest premise. An argument founded completely upon God's Word is invincible. (For why this is true, read some Vincent Cheung)

Thus it brings me to a summary of what I've been going through. Someone I talked to mentioned to me that as fallen human beings, our first instinct when confronted with truth is to run away, reject it, or if we do accept it, qualify it. It is completely up to God to convict us of our wrongdoings and bring us to repentance. I think he has an excellent point. With all things, we do need time, and we do need patience and softness. Our callings must be filled with salt and we must always strive to heed Paul when he writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:14-15

And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle,[a] encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.
Thus it's a constant struggle for me. On one hand I do see someone falling into error that I feel needs to be spoken to. Not only because of their own personal position, but additionally because they are in a position of authority, one whom others look up to. Because of this I am open about what I believe and feel it is something that needs to be spoken to. At the same time, I feel oftentimes that because I am so open about it, I get accused of being "impatient" and "unloving" and questioned as to why I do not pursue the church discipline route that Christ maps out in Matthew 18:15-17. I in all honestly feel like my conscience is clear on this. Unfortunately, I feel this belief against me leads the people I'm trying to talk with to disregard my words. What can I do but to lament with the prophets and cry out as David does in Psalm 119:136: My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.

If you do indeed know the people involved (and if you know me, you probably do) I ask that you would not step in unless directly asked to. This is something we're both wrestling with and going through third parties right now can only serve to alienate us even more.

Either way though, I would appreciate prayers.

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