Debating Like Jesus: Keeping the Gospel Central

10 May

DebatingDebate today

With so many errors from believers, false believers and unbelievers debate is unfortunately an essential part of being a Christian.

Debate for Christ

Debate was also essential for Jesus. Pharisees constantly tried to undermine his ministry with references to the law.

Consider Mark 2:23-28. Jesus is criticised for letting his disciples pluck grain on the Sabbath. Jesus defended from Scripture his decision to allow this and proved the Pharisees didn’t understand the law correctly.

Christ’s Aim in Debate

Yet Jesus didn’t lose his focus in such debates. He always brought his hearers back to himself. In this argument he demonstrates his authority over the Sabbath and his graciousness in handling the law, doing what is best for man.

Christ-Centred Debating

This convicted me in my discussions to keep this Christ-centred focus. Often I lay out a stellar argument, yet leave don’t draw back to Christ.

Let me exemplify. I will often want to argue for male headship in the home and in the Church. I know the texts on this issue back to front and inside out. Yet I often fail to convey some very important points:

  1. Marriage is an illustration of the relationship between Christ and the Church. Egalitarianism obscures the Gospel.
  2. Male headship should be like Christ’s headship, caring and sacrificial.
  3. Christ laid down this requirement because it’s for our benefit. Male headship is for the good of both men and women.

Keep me accountable and watch your own hearts. Never let debating move off Christ’s centre.

(Picture by WhatCouldGoWrong under the Creative Commons Licence)


2 Responses to “Debating Like Jesus: Keeping the Gospel Central”

  1. Clark Bunch May 10, 2008 at 10:42 pm #

    I ran across you site just now for the first time, and I love it! The sub-text under my own blog title reads “God honoring, Christ centered.” I believe the gospel message is the central theme running throughout the entire Bible, and I’m right onboard with your notions about debate. I feel some Chrsitians have lost their purpose, and try to debate in such a way that the opponent is totally annihalated. My blog is found at and I look forward to reading more of yours.

  2. Tim Wilson May 11, 2008 at 7:40 am #

    Thanks for your link Clark.

    It is a worrying state of affairs. I always remember a speaker at a missions conference telling us how a student ran up to him with delight saying:

    “I’ve had an argument with a friend”
    “Oh dear,” the speaker replied.
    “Oh don’t worry I won the argument!” the student assured.
    “But have you lost the friend?”

    Unfortunately that argumentative attitude isn’t just in immature students like me! The blogosphere is full of it.

    I’ll be keeping an eye on your blog and look forward to hearing your comments in the future.

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