Constructive dialogue, anyone?

What is perhaps most frustrating… is that differences regarding things like Calvinism and Arminianism, baptism, heaven and hell, gender roles, homosexuality, and atonement theories often disintegrate into harsh accusations in which we question one another’s commitment to Scripture…   Instead of a lively, impassioned debate about the text, we engage in lively, impassioned debates about one another’s commitment to the faith. 

For constructive dialog to happen, Christians must stop conflating differences in interpretation of Scripture with differences in commitment to Scripture.  We must respond to one another’s questions, arguments, and ideas in kind, with more questions, arguments, and ideas, rather than avoiding the conversation altogether by dismissing one another as unfaithful.  

Full discussion at:


4 Responses to “Constructive dialogue, anyone?”

  1. The problem identified by this blog entry highlights a particular issue in evangelical that has really irritated me to no end. I have just finished a book by Michael Bird addressing some issues pertaining to the debate over the ‘new perspective’ on Paul. What disturbs me is that Michael has felt the need to offer a mediating view in the debate over the new perspective as the antagonoists in the debate have not exactly demonstrated the love of Christ in the way they have dealt with their ‘opponents.’ This is utterly regrettable and makes me question why this happens. One thought I have is that we evangelicals have learned to take differences in interpretations as peronal challenges to our own belief systems. The repsonse we make from this footing often lead to a response of fear(?) due to the feeling that our own ‘world-view’ is being undermined. Since our world-view provides us with a certain feeling of stability the challange to the world-view is taken as a challenge to the person and a defensive response ensues. I have long recognised this and now focus on the issues in a given debate/discussion without interpreting the sometimes radical arguments of another as a personal attack. I any respect I am so comfortable now with my own world-view that I can allow another person to express his/her views without any problem. I have even learned a to see some things in a new light, enhancing my learning experience. Amen.

  2. Great article. I’m experiencing many of these issues as well..

  3. I think that is one of the important, basic things. The comfort with our own world view, therefore not feeling the need to defend it, without becoming so closed to differing points of view that we dismiss any deviation.

  4. Keep this going please, great job!

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