I read the book of Jude for the first time this morning… It’s about dealing with people who use the church to fraud, fake, and manipulate the church for their own glory and selfish desires– the greedy bishops, the perverse popes, the fred phelps’ (the God hates Gays guy), etc. I really like my Bible because it has sections on the right and left that thoughtfully answer and take on difficult questions in the Word. For example, at one point in Psalms it just comes out and answers the question, “Is David complaining?” Anyway, sometimes it answers big questions at the bottom of the page. Today as I read Jude, it had a really good answer to the question of approaching inter-church spiritual warfare. I thought I’d share it with my readers, because it’s good stuff… the question was “How contentious should we be?” Here is the answer they gave:
“The word contend implies that Christians have something worth fighting for. The rest of this book (Jude) reveals that our battles for the faith sometimes occur even inside the church. When we have a deep love for the truth, our thoughtful convictions must be defended. We cannot afford to settle for an imitation and lose the real thing.
People are not always comfortable with the rigors of firm convictions. But the world and Satan will continualy confront our faith, leaving us no choice but to take a stand. If we do not contend for truth in such situations, all that is left is to retreat.
Tragically, the enemy sometimes dupes people within the church or sends counterfeit believers. At such times we must contend for the faith within the church itself. Thankfully, we fight these battles with the help of God.
The other side of the coin, however, is that some have elevated matters of personal preference or opinion to the level of an essential doctrine. When believers rigorously defend styles, decorating tastes or cultural distinctives, then they’ve become too contentious. In these instances, we must contend for the message, not the method.“