CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

On Dealing With Argumentative and Fuzzy-Thinking Christians

Feb 18, 2019

The number of believers who think they are being biblical but actually are nowhere near it always astounds me. I come across so many who obviously know very little about what the Bible in fact teaches, and instead have soaked up from somewhere or someone some really bizarre and unbiblical teachings.

They may pride themselves in knowing their Bibles and not running with the traditions of men, but it is obvious that the reverse is true: their biblical knowledge is low while they have latched onto some really strange human teachers and their bizarre beliefs.

Sadly I get this happening to me all the time with people wanting to argue with me on my website or on the social media. It gets quite discouraging to see so many low-information Christians who seem so keen to pontificate on matters that they are clearly out of their depth on.

And it is not just biblical illiteracy or a lack of basic doctrinal teaching that these folks are steeped in. All of that can be corrected for the most part. But what almost always goes along with this theological ignorance is a very haughty spirit and an arrogant attitude. They are overbearingly proud, and they have an unteachable spirit.

They are know-it-alls who refuse to listen to others. They think they have it all down pat, and will argue till the cows come home. Their argumentative spirit is so painful to behold. When you find such arrogance and divisiveness, you are usually dealing with someone who is walking in the flesh, not the Spirit.

And of course that is so much harder to deal with and correct than a mere deficiency in basic biblical knowledge and teaching. It means the argumentative person is not just uninformed and uneducated, but is being sinful and carnal, and that requires spiritual surgery and repentance to properly deal with.

Examples of this are legion. I get this happening to me all the time sadly. If these folks are at all open and humble and teachable I will gladly spend time with them in the hopes that they are able to receive some correction and guidance on these matters.

But some are so hardened and unteachable that all I can do is give them the old ‘three strikes and you’re out’ rule. If they show no signs of wanting to learn a little and be open to counter viewpoints, but just seem to get their jollies out of arguing, I will let them go after three polite warnings.

Let me offer an example of this here. And I am not picking on this one individual. As I say, there are plenty of folks who are like this. But here is one fellow and his comments on two of my recent social media posts. The first was a quote I took from this article of mine: billmuehlenberg.com/2019/02/16/should-i-still-read-his-books-or-listen-to-his-music/

As always, reading something in context is vital (and I link to the article in my first comment under each post), but what I said in my post was this:

I have several of his books – Songs of Experience and The Strength of Weakness – and have often quoted from them in my articles and even in my old PhD thesis. I believe someone once objected to me quoting from him because he became a homosexual. This is unfortunately true as I discovered: in 1999 he left his wife and embraced a homosexual lifestyle, and he now proudly promotes “gay Christianity”.

So I get this guy with some rather odd theological understanding coming to pick a fight. He wrote:

If this man admits he is a sinner and believes Jesus died on the cross for his sins and paid his sin debt and rose from the grave to give him eternal life he is saved. Period. If he doesnt admit he is a sinner, he is not saved. If he is saved and still lives as a homosexual, that is his choice and God the father who has adopted him into the family of believers will not let this sin continue without loss of blessings, light, salt, joy, peace, love, possibly earlydeath, and rewards in the next everlasting life.. Let;s not confuse salvation with discipleship. Not ever believer becomes a disciple., and not every disciple is a believer Just look at the disciple JUDAS.

The rest of our conversation went as follows:

Me: Um no. Every Christian IS a disciple. If Christ is not Lord he is not saviour. This guy is a proud homosexual who claims to also be a Christian. No he is not. Whether he once was and now has rejected his past faith is another matter which can be debated later. But those deliberately living in known and unforsaken sin are NOT Christians as Scripture teaches.

Him: um was Judas a believer?

Me: Depends on your views of eternal security – if you believe in it, then he never was – if you think believers can lose their salvation, then he may well have been one, but he later renounced it (see the many warning passages in Scripture on this option).

Him: I am neither calvinist nor armenian Judas was not a believer, but was a disciple He is in hell because of unbelief, not because he lost his salvation,anyone who says they are without sin is a liar, scripture says so

Me: Mate, who said anything about a person not sinning here? That has NOTHING to do with this discussion. And I have never in 50 years of being a Christian come across anyone claiming that someone who is saved (present tense) can also be in hell! How bizarre is that? Scripture nowhere says anything about that either. Hell is for the unsaved only, and heaven is for the saved! Instead of coming here to argue, you might want to brush up on some biblical basics. So we might leave it at that thanks.

While this debate was going on, this guy also weighed in on another new post of mine. It was a meme I shared which said: “If you’re a Christian, you cannot vote for a person or a party that slays babies in the womb -John MacArthur.” To it I added these qualifying words: “Yep. Yet we have millions of ‘Christians’ who do vote this way. If the two premises are true, then the conclusion follows: those who vote pro-death are NOT Christians.”

But this guy was quick to pick a fight about that one as well. This is how that discussion went:

Him: So MacArthur gets a pass on not being a sinner? The guy is becoming quite the Ecumenical leader lately sharing the stage with those preaching another gospel Not good to put this Man on a pedestal or idolize him too much

Me: Don’t be foolish – who said he is not a sinner? And who is putting him on a pedestal? I simply quote one thing from him which happens to be true and you get all bent out of shape – both here and on my other posts. Mate, time to take a breather instead of wanting to pick a fight everywhere thanks.

Him: So your saying anyone who is a believer can’t possibly in their right mind vote Democrat? and if they do their not saved? Well, i am not in favor of abortion, I don’t vote left, and believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ as God in the flesh, so I am a child of God, adopted into the family, but some of my friends vote left, but believe the same as I do even abortion is wrong, MacArthurs logic is pretty flawed, he is basing One voting record on whether their saved instead of Gods promise of everlasting life if you believe, A christian is a person who believes that Jesus is God in the flesh, who shed his blood on the cross for the forgivness of your sin personally, who rose from the grave to give you life personally That is a Christian, not whether your democrat or republican, Yes slaying babies in the womb is horrific and should not be done,

Me: Um, do you also have problems in actually reading what a person has said? Where did I say a Democrat is not a Christian? What is being said here is pretty clear: if a person fully supports the slaughter of unborn babies, we have every reason to question whether they are actually biblical Christians. And as I also said, taking just ONE quote out of millions of words written by a guy is really quite silly and unreasonable. But you seem to be on the warpath at the moment, so my last warning here thanks: give it a rest. When folks keep saying silly, false and unhelpful things it seems they just want to argue instead of contribute something useful to a discussion.

Him: You have every right to ban me from this page, I myself DO NOT have every reason to question whether a person is actually a biblical Christian I leave it to God who judges the heart, not the outward signs of the fruit,

Me: Then you have called God a liar – While only God ultimately only knows who are really his, Jesus said we ARE to judge a person by the outward fruit, as does all of the New Testament. Sorry, I will run with the clear teachings of Jesus and the NT here, not your confused and unbiblical ramblings. But this is my last time with you here thanks. I will pray that you can chill and actually study things closer instead of going on the attack in such a silly fashion. Adios.

Thankfully he finally stopped at that point. But he is another one of those folks who really bother me to be honest. He and so many others come to my social media page out of the blue and want to befriend me. I do a quick look at their page, and if it looks all right, I will accept their request.

But then I usually never hear a peep out of them for months or maybe even years. Then all of a sudden they come to my page, but only with the desire to pick a fight or argue with me about something. Um, as I keep saying: those sorts of folks are not exactly my idea of a friend, or a brother or sister in Christ.

So we will see how this particular fellow goes in the future. As I say, those showing a bit of humility and teachability will always get a sympathetic ear from me. But those who come and appear to be arrogant and argumentative I really do not have a lot of time for, sorry.

As always, I covet your prayers that I can have patience, wisdom, love and discernment as I deal with all these folks. I do not always get it right in my responses, so I need your prayer support to be where the Lord wants me to be in this very public and often contentious ministry I am called to.

Update

Oh dear, as if right on cue: On another social media site I posted my article on the need for church leaders to speak out on the vital issues of the day. For that seemingly innocuous yet biblical remark, I just got some guy sending this comment in by way of response:

“No! The church must preach the gospel first and foremost! Then this problem would take care of itself. Social justice is Jesuitical. Are you a Freemason by chance? Your post is pushing the UN platform. The “true” church has no business being involved in that. The UN is controlled by the Jesuits of Rome and the agenda is world control!”

Good grief! I think he has just perfectly illustrated what I have been talking about in this article! Suffice it to say that I did not bother to respond to his nutjob comment.

[2005 words]

15 Responses to On Dealing With Argumentative and Fuzzy-Thinking Christians

  • In my view and understanding coupled with common sense, a sin is forgiven upon being and continue to be repentant which acknowledges wrong and or grave wrong which upon forgiveness the grave wrong is set aside but does not disappear. The condition for the wrong or grave wrong to remain set aside is for that wrong or grave wrong is not to be revisited. The Christ said to Mary of Magdalen ‘your sins are forgiven – sin no more.
    Only a moron would believe that God can be deceived.
    John Abbott

  • Bill,
    Thanks for your Biblical message. Today, I am thankful to God that a clinical/legal person from my professional registration is going to take seriously my concerns about “sexual orientation and gender fluidity” and the negative impacts these ideas will have throughout healthcare in Australia. This clinical/legal person is going to address my concerns to the highest level of the Professional Board. Please pray for a good outcome in order to protect men, women and children.

  • Hi Bill,
    As always, a great article.
    It is a shame that some of your biggest critics are actually Christians.
    Kyle

  • The penny dropped for me as to how high the bar is when I understood Matthew 5. Now I would not like to hazard a guess as to what the least commandment is but I would suggest that what God called an abomination and what was part of the cause of whole nations being destroyed and the great flood and what the Apostles taught would exclude people from the kingdom and Sodom and Gomorrah, is definitely a long way from it. The fact is we should not be teaching anything, not the slightest thing, that is opposed to what God has said.

    The sad fact of the first conversation is it demonstrates exactly how worldly indoctrination works. The scriptures call it a flood from the serpents mouth (Rev 12:15) and it basically works by repeating the lie so often people start to believe it, irrespective of how illogical it is. This is what Hitler did to demonize the Jews and this is what is done endlessly in the media these days. There is no balance in the conversation that most people are constantly subjected to so they never take the time to stop and think it through. They just get head up and barrel in full steam. I occasionally find that simply asking a question and attempting to make the person stop and think helps but it depends on just how deeply deceived they are and I am certainly not immune to becoming cranky with stupidity. The scriptures are clear. Continued homosexuality results in exclusion from the kingdom and we are culpably wrong to not warn people.

    De-escalating and making people stop and think is the technique Jesus used with those wanting Him to stone the woman caught in adultery but, contrary to what many say these days, Jesus was not negating nor redefining sin. He was simply reacting correctly to someone whose time of judgement had not yet come. Given the scare she had and Jesus saying “neither do I give judgement” I would not be surprised if she never committed adultery again but these people are advocating doing the opposite with homosexuals and coddling them in their sin and my reading of the scriptures tells me not only is this obviously putting the homosexual’s possible salvation in jeopardy, it is definitely putting the person who does this in jeopardy as well. The fact is Judas also didn’t think that what he was doing was that bad and by the time he found out it was too late to repent. The evil was too embedded in his nature for him to see the truth.

  • Bill,
    I loved this article! Made my birthday more happy!

    Shalom

  • Thanks Charles. Happy Birthday!

  • Though about voting for a pro-abortion party the question arises whether one should vote for the lesser of two evils. There may be no anti-abortion candidates, and if there are any they may be members of a pro-abortion party. I fear that banning abortion is not on the agenda politically in the UK.

  • Thanks John. Yes in a fallen world and with less than ideal political options often on offer, sometimes a lesser of two evils approach may be all we have to work with.

  • So many people today could do with a course on logic. Most of the fuzzy thinking that you describe Bill is due to basic logical errors such as:

    1) the inability of people to make simple category distinctions, or 2) the inability to recognize the irrelevance of their arguments to your point or 3) saying something must be either/or when it is both/and or 4) engaging in ad hominem argument or 5) if you agree with someone in one area then presuming you agree with them in everything or 6) if you hold to a truth which some heretic also holds to – then you too must be a heretic etc.

    I could go on. I’m sure you could write an article with a hundred examples under each logical error and many more. Oh for consistency in argumentation – especially when it pertains to theology. Unfortunately many people can be quite logical in other areas of life – and then lose their minds when it comes to spiritual matters. It is not pleasing to God to make logical errors (and to be proud of them). God wants us to love him with all our minds!

  • When communicating with such people Mr M, it’s difficult since they live with one foot in the world and one in Christendom, then, of course, they will make the to-and-froing between the two as easy as possible, that’s why we are warned about not conforming to the world. We do not have to like particular passages of the bible and I can well imagine homosexuals hating particular passages, however, the kind and honest thing to do when we come up against a passage we do not like is just to tell our self its not necessary we like it, its necessary we obey or respond to it in the way we would if instructed to do so by our earthly father, we may seek clarity, but we may not put ourselves above our father, either of them.

  • Dear Bill, another prayerfully thought out article and response. I am amazed at how you do it so consistently, you have my continuted prayers. And I will pray for the salvation of the other party/ies.
    God bless you and your work, Mark Bryant
    PS I watched an interview conducted by someone Browne & Padtor Andy Stanley – worth a watch, I believe, MB

  • Hokey-smokes, already… My own dear brother claims to believe that Jesus is the only way to the Father and that He died for our sins, but he also buys into Edgar Cayce and all that reincarnation heresy. I may love my bro to pieces, but that doesn’t make him correct and saved. According to my bro, it’s all about faith. I can’t get him to understand that faith is only as reliable and good as the object or person in which you place it. This heretical view is killing so many, including those whom I personally know and love. Please pray for those so deceived.

  • Greetings Bill, misery loves company! Anyone who would come against your writings is just looking for someone to draw into their misery. God bless you for being so grounded in Him and finding the beautiful balance between His Word and tough truth when speaking to people who refuse to accept Biblical logic.

    Casting pearls before swine.

  • sorry I didn’t reply earlier my back was acting up and I had to limit my time on the computer in favor of heat on my back.

    I have seen one thing used over and over by these christians it is in Matthew about pulling the plank out of your eye before helping with the speck in someone else’s. I alway encounter that when trying to help people with things. I don’t think i have had a situation where it was quoted to me where they weren’t the ones with the planks but they are the super spiritual types so they could have a whole forrest in their eye and consider their vision 20/20! many accuse me of being argumentative simply because I want accept what they say without proof. they have their pet theories and ideas and insist they it is truth but can’t point to one verse to prove it is truth and get upset when you expose that. they are so used to being surrounded by yes men type christians that they never have to explain their point by pointing to scripture.

    Too many leaders have these yes men around them (more like butt kissers) and so they get puffed up and never exposed to the truth and when someone comes along and doesn’t kiss their bottom but asks for scriptural proof they lash out and get angry at them and others that follow that leader do as well. the worst is when the subject is not concrete but open to some interpretation, the Millennial Kingdom or New Jerusalem for example, they will get mad at you even ban you for having a differing opinion and insisting it is just as legitimate as their.

    The collar goes to too many pastors heads and they are unwilling to reevaluate something they believe because they are a pastor. add to that them being in the ministry several decades and it can be very hard to reason with them. If you are never challenged even if you are right you won’t grow and will come to believe things that aren’t true because everyone just agrees with you on everything. too many christians simply aren’t challenged.

    ““No! The church must preach the gospel first and foremost! Then this problem would take care of itself.””

    this has been the churches approach since at least the turn of the 20th century. the problem has only gotten worse. but like most who refuse to admit error those who espouse this keep doubling down. while the gates of hell could not prevail against the church she could defeat herself. I believe it was Lincoln who said America could never be defeated from with out only from within and the same is true of the church satan could never take her down with a frontal assault but through the introduction of lies rumors and backbiting could render her impotent. he had to enter the back door to start with to begin his long plan but in way too many churches today he enters the front door and has a reserved pew right under the pulpit. he know he will he nothing offensive. he might even get an ovation.

  • It would definitely be irritating to have to constantly deal with people looking for a fight. I’m glad you’re up for it though, Bill! Be encouraged. I’m certain that in many circumstances, pride prevents some of these commenters from admitting that they were wrong, but I’m sure you’ve changed many a mind through your reasoned arguments when they later try to come up with fresh arguments against you but can see that they can only come up with folly.

    I’m imagining however that sometimes people do have a genuine point, but hot-headedness or a lack of writing ability prevents them from being able to express their thoughts without appearing to look for a fight when they truly just want to have an open discussion. I know I often struggle with the tone of my comments.

Leave a Reply