Today's letter is titled, "A Guide to Godly Disputation."
There is a principle of SELF, which disposes us to despise those who differ from us; and we are often under its influence, when we think we are only showing a fitting zeal in the cause of God.
Whatever it is that makes us trust in ourselves, that we are comparatively wise or good, so as to treat those with contempt who do not subscribe to our doctrines, or follow our party—is a proof and fruit of a self-righteous spirit!
Self-righteousness can feed upon doctrines—as well as upon works! A man may have the heart of a Pharisee, while his head is stored with orthodox notions of the unworthiness of the creature, and the riches of free grace!
Controversies, for the most part, are so managed as to indulge—rather than to repress this sinful disposition; and therefore, generally speaking, they are productive of little good. They provoke those whom they should convince—and puff up those whom they should edify!
If our zeal is embittered by expressions of anger, invective, or scorn—we may think we are doing service of the cause of truth, when in reality we shall only bring it into discredit! The weapons of our warfare, and which alone are powerful to break down the strongholds of error, are not carnal, but spiritual. They are arguments fairly drawn from Scripture and experience, and enforced by such a mild address, as may persuade our readers, that, whether we can convince them or not—we wish well to their souls, and contend only for the truth's sake. If we can satisfy them that we act upon these motives, our point is half gained; they will be more disposed to consider calmly what we offer; and if they should still dissent from our opinions, they will be constrained to approve our intentions.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible