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Mud Wrestlers in the Church?

Some people will argue at the drop of a hat, and they'll drop the hat! A church committee was meeting to discuss the need for brighter lighting in the auditorium. One committee member made a motion that the church purchase chandeliers. An aged gentleman on the committee objected for three reasons: "First," he said, "no one knows how to run it. Second, we can't afford it, and third, we need lights!" Some people seem to stay in the "objecting" mood! In Titus 3: 9-11 the apostle Paul warned his preacher-friend Titus about people in the church who never seem to be happy about anything or anybody. These verses state: 'Avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. Reject a divisive man after the f irst and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self -condemned." Paul did not say for Titus or any other preacher, elder or Christian to avoid all controversy at all costs. There are some in the church who would rather switch than fight, no matter how wrong or unscriptural or wrongheaded an idea might be. Paul is not calling for preachers or Christians to roll over and play dead simply to avoid all controversy. Faith sometimes involves a fight, and Paul told Timothy at Ephesus to "Fight the good f ight of faith" ( I Timothy 6:12).

While not all controversy is banned, that which is "foolish .... unprofitable and useless (Titus 3:9) is to be avoided. And who is it that causes such foolish and useless controversy? The King James Version calls him a "heretic," but the New King James and New International Versions designate him a "divisive man" while the New American Standard Bible calls him a "factious man." The divisive person can point to no real doctrinal error or false teaching or sinful behavior on the part of others in the church. Rather, they just seem to like "stirrin' up a stink." Always down on somebody or something, seeing a false teacher or a wolf behind every pulpit. Paul's directive is for us to avoid such disputing people and to reject them if they persist in promoting foolish disputes. A poster was seen which contained this message: 'Never wrestle with a pig-you'll both get dirty, and he likes it!" The Gospel and faith of Christ are well worth wrestling for (Jude 3; Philippians 1:27). But some people in the church seem to like nothing better than getting down and dirty and wrestling in the mud, at the drop of a hat! While every child of God should continue to wrestle for the truth, we don't need mud-wrestlers or mud-slingers in the church.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ