Many Christians delight in political debates. They say they don’t, but that is only because they narrowly define “a debate” as politicians arguing their respective views during voting cycles. These Christians, like everyone else, tune into their favourite personalities to have their political views either affirmed or challenged.
By contrast many Christians eschew religious debates. In this case they broadly define ‘a debate’ as preachers and/or scholars arguing their respective views, but this time in a way that they deem detrimental. They too tune into their favourite personalities to have their religious views either affirmed or challenged.
Jesus commissioned us to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15). If Christ, our example, preached the Gospel amid questions and hostilities, we should expect nothing less.
Call it ‘discussion,’ questioning,’ or ‘debate,’ it all adds up to the same thing for the Christian. Like the apostle Paul, “because we know the fear of the Lord, we persuade men” (2Corinthians 5:11).
Satan sets up strongholds in the minds of all who do not oppose him. Our natural starting point is to seek those who are seeking to breakdown those strongholds with the truth of God’s Word. We best start this process by assuming that the other person comes to God’s Word with the same spirit of honesty as we do.
But if they are dishonest and want to maintain Satan’s strongholds, we must ‘square off’ against their false teaching in what will inevitably amount to vigorous debate.
Naturally, we come with open and humble hearts, and also say with the apostle Paul:
“But we have turned away from secret and shameful ways. We don’t use trickery, and we don’t change the teaching of God. We teach the truth plainly. This is how we show people who we are. And this is how they can know in their hearts what kind of people we are before God” (2 Corinthians 4:2).
Prepare to defend the truth!