The lost art of biblical argument.

Discussion in 'Doctrinal Discussions' started by geralduk, Aug 17, 2015.

  1. I suppose this subject might be thought as a misnomer.
    But I fear that its use so long neglected needs to be rediscovered .
    The finest exponent of it can be found in the letters of Paul. Who desired above all else that his readers might come to the same conclusion as he had or as scripture has it "come to a knowledge of the truth"
    In Ephesians he spoke of those ministers of God who were to perfect the church and prepare the bride for the coming of the Lord and present to Him as "chaste virgins" .Till we all come to a unity of the faith" if faith (in God)cometh by hearing and that by understanding the word of God " Then it follows that to have a unity of faith ,there needs must be a unity of understanding also .That is to say that we all come to the same conclusions or "see" the same thing .
    One example being "that the eyes of our understanding being opened that we might see and comprehend with all the saints........................"
    To "have the same mind" be of one mind" "let this mind be in you as was in Christ"
    To THAT end then he wrote his epistles that we might follow his argument and with each step walk with him down the road of truth to the truth that he was expressly seeking we would come to or arrive at.
    You would be surprised how hard it is to do so .
    When two people walk together and are talking of some serious matter to them both . They walk alongside each other ,not looking at each other but perhaps lookign only at the space in front of their feet deep in thought and considering what the other has just said or listening to it .
    If at some point there is a disagreement or misunderstanding over what has been said .Both stop and look at each other and face each other and discuss what has been disagreed with or misunderstood and stay so till the mater is resolved and then they continue as before progressing in their discussion. If they do not either resolve the disagreement or misunderstanding.The subject is dropped and they part their ways or change the subject entirely .
    In some more serious newspapers in the UK .The results of an appeal courts judgment is printed.
    The law stated and the appeal. The appeal court then argues it case as to why the appeal is upheld or denied. The argument then can be followed each step as it unfolds and if the argument is sound then the same conclusion is reached and justice is seen or understood to be done .
    If on the other hand there are some flaws in the argument then some counter argument can be produced and a further appeal might be possible.
    Either way justice is seen or understood to be done .
    A careful reading of Pauls letters will show he uses the same framework of an argument .
    A Biblical argument where by he uses those scriptures that give the foundation to his argument and are relevant to the subject in their right context and thus leads us to certain conclusions as we go with him.
    Like climbing a mountain every so often he stops on a plateau and invites us to look back and consider the path we have come by and says for instance "therefore count yourselves dead to sin"
    it is not said in isolation . But as a stop on the way of an argument that is a place to consider the truth that we are to count ourselves dead to sin in the light of all that he has said before it.
    Then he goes on ...................

    In Christ
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  2. What has in part replaced it is the idea of a 'proof text' .I do no see anywhere in scripture to encourage us to think that that is sufficient to prove our case or of a "sound doctrine"
    For no man ever arrives at the truth in a vacum as it were . But as "one sows another reaps ......"but it is God that always gives the increase. One verse may clinch the matter for someone but it may not for another .
    A verse may indeed clearly state a sound doctrine .But even as one swallow does not make a summer .So too one verse does not prove a doctrine though it may state it .
    A list of scriptures also does not prove or test a doctrine .
    For the word must be "broken" even as a loaf of bread must be broken for no one can eat a loaf in one go .
    Jesus broke the bread before passing it to His disciples and when he broke it he was then recognised by the two who he met on the road to Emaus .
    They had no understanding of why Jesus was crucified and all their hope was gone with the burial and "it was now three days " For Corruption sets in after three days and it was believed there was still hope before the three days were up they can be raised again from the dead. Which is why they said to Jesus "he yet stinketh" before he raised Lazerus form the dead. They thought also it was too late .
    But Jesus "starting at Moses ......." broke the bread of the Word of God to them concerning Himself through out the scriptures .
    To the extent they exclaimed later "did not our hearts burn within us!?"
    When Jesus was crucified none of His bones were broken .But it is written that "all his bones were out of joint" Truth disjointed .
    Out of shape and order ,not working together in the way they ought .
    For all the "sound doctrines " are as the bones of a body as it were that hold it up and give it strength . Each in their course and function working with all the others in harmony for a fully functioning body .
    Some take one doctrine and try and fit all scripture to fit that one doctrine .This is impossible and is the cause of all the ISM's that literally bedevil the church . Because if you do so or attempt to do so then sooner or later you will have to take scripture out of context and its clear meaning to 'fit' your particular ISM .
    The Dispensations of God are beyond dispute . The ISM of it have clear and should be self evident errors in them that others see clearly but the ISM's do not . The trouble then is that the doctrine of the dispensations of God are then rejected by those who see the errors of the ISM. and the Isms then reject the truth that is 'outside' the box of their ISM .
    each then starts throwing great boulders at each other of 'proof texts ' and get no where.
    and lives and time is wasted each defending their own 'position' or school of theology to the death and leave off "contending for THE faith that was once and for all delivered unto the saints "

    in Christ
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  3. I grew up on a bible college campus where this was the status quo, so I can empathise with your frustration.

    What would you say is life and time spent well?
  4. For a number of years I worked in a good Bible book shop . Three young men from a theoligical seminar came in and we had a productive conversation. But was both shocked and saddened by the fact that it taught them all the 'isms' and each prevailing idea/opinion etc about the last days .But never taught them the truth or which if any was true .
    What good is it then to fill our pulpits with people who know not the truth? but will each in turn teach/preach what one particular 'opinion' has made more of an impression than another or else teach what they also have learnt that; in effect , no one can know what the truth is and all must be of an opinion.
    In answer to your question.

    "Seeking first the kingdom of God and HIS righteousness"

    in Christ
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  5. I won't disagree. Tell me a bit about what that looks like.
  6. Unless you are born again you cannot see the kingdom of God . and unless you are born of the water (the Word)and the Spirit you cannot enter the kingdom of God .
    The righteousness and the wisdom of God is Jesus Christ .
    There are two types of citizen of any kingdom.
    Those who obey the laws for fear of the consequences .and the best sort of citizen who love the law and uphold it .
    To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? You will have to read the parables .
    Gods primary means by which the kingdom of God is to be manifested is by prayer . "Thy kingdom come ,thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
    Think of three countries make them different and that you have some knowledge of.
    Then consider this :
    If what rules and governs that country ,was found to rule ans govern this country .Then what you now find in that country you will come to find in this country.
    If then what ruled and governed a person in that country was still found to be ruled and governed by the same in this country .Then what they had and manifested in that country .They will have and manifest in this country .
    If then what rules ands governs heaven was found to rule and govern earth .Then what you now found in heaven you will come to find on earth .
    if then what ruled and governed a person in heaven was still ruled and governed by the same on earth .Then what they had and manifested in heaven they will have and manifest on earth.
    Thy kingdom come then and my kingdom go.

    The world is not going to see the kingdom of God on earth till the Lord sits on the the throne on earth .
    But all the sons of God will or should manifest the laws and the principles of the kingdom of God in their lives and progresively so from the moment they are BORNagain.
    For even as in the naturak birth we learn how to function and 'prosper' in this world.
    So also then and how much the more should we also progresively learn to function in the kingdom of God ?

    in Christ
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  7. gerald.........what do you think is more important, unity or truth?
  8. Unity at the expense of truth is high treason.

    One reason ,its not the only reason why we have an unalected Monarch in the UK is because the truth is not democratic ;and it is neither upheld,undermined or established by how many people 'vote' for it .
    The Queen then is not some wooden headed figurehead as it has generally been taught for the last 60 years .But if she is a symbol of anything or rather a foreshadow it is that the truth must reign and sit upon the throne and not another .
    Those who seek to unify Europe into a European union are not only doomed to failure but will also involve high treachery to every Sovereign state as well as to the truth .
    Those who seek ecumenical unity without regard to the truth as it is in Christ and according to scripture .Will find themselves on the wrong side of the coming battle and will kill Gods people "and think they do Gods will"

    You can get a unity of the white against the black so called or vice versa.
    You can get a unity of the so called poor against the so called rich.
    The east against the west .
    The north against the south .
    The left against the right .
    But it is every hard to get a unity on the truth and righteousness.
    The answer then to your question then is the truth is more important. and if the truth reigns you will get a true unity .
    Jesus said "I came not to bring peace but a sword ....."
    The truth divides and will between families ,friends and country.

    Those who founded their unity on a lie will and have always failed in the end .
    For a lie is like an inverse pyramid built on a grain of sand and the bigger it gets the more unstable it gets and the more 'support' it needs form every one for its continuance .But the more the lie is supported and the bigger the unity based upon it .The greater the fall and the destruction of all who believed it.

    in Christ
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  9. #9 Roads, Aug 19, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2015
    My experience is that what you described above is the only actually effective "art of biblical argument:" backing up what we say we believe with what we do.

    Following that, might I suggest the possibility that "Gods primary means by which the kingdom of God is to be manifested is by prayer" could be more accurate if we change "by prayer" to "by action."

    After all, to refer to one of the kingdom parables in Matthew 25,
    40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
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  10. The kingdom of God is His way of doing is how we should be walking in this life.
  11. \

    It took me a lot of years to realize that. I used to think it was about being on the correct side of doctrinal issues. Now I get it a little more. You can believe all the "right" things to believe, and still not be living as an ambassador for His kingdom, if you do nothing. So yes, I agree. His way of doing.
  12. This is a very sad feature of Christendom. I don't agree with theological schools, because they all teach a certain theology, and not the whole truth. The assembly is the place where we learn, together, not in a school, taught by professors whose credentials are awarded by men and not by God. In the assembly, where the Spirit is free, we get the truth and God's mind and the mind of man is kept out. Well, we should be exercised that should those are the conditions amongst us. I believe that would be normal Christianity.

    Amen! "But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:7)
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  13. I would agree with you and do. For the best argument is a life that cannot be refuted .
    That doe snot mean of course you will not be killed for living it .
    But I was refering to when you wish to 'prove' a doctrine or rebutt a false one.
    But to combine the two if you will we have only to look at Stephen . Who was only a deacon who served at tables . But his qualification to do so was to be full of faith and wisdom!
    Yet when he preached the gospel and people contended with him .His arguments were of such wisdom that they could not be gainsaid there was no counter argument to them in other words ,they were who opposed him stymied .
    Despite his defense before his judges where he related their own history to them which they could not deny his concluding argument was that were of the same nature as all those before them who had killed all the prophets God had sent and said in the Holy Ghost "Ye do always resist the Holy Spirit"
    Despite proving his case and despite a life that confirmed it and despite the fact that as they ;looked upon him his was lit like the face of an angel they still stoned him to death.
    But the result was that Saul of Tarsus who thought it was gods will he should be was so troubled by his last words and face and all the others he had persecuted he was lost in his own thoughts and alone when God broke in on his thinking .The rest is history .

    in Christ
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  14. We should pray as if everything depended on God .(it does)
    We should live/act as if everything depended on us .

    Plan for eternity act as if there is no tomorrow .

    If we look at the life of the Lord .he was always praying when men went off to their homes.
    He was ready for John 8 because the night before he had been praying while everybody else had gone to bed.
    Pray lest ye fall into temptation , for the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak .
    The disciples slept and the flesh ruled at the critical hour.
    The Lord prayed and the flesh was kept under and death passed from him and he was ready alive and alert at the critical hour.
    Jonah was asleep when he should have been awake .
    Elijah was asleep when he should have been eating .
    If we are speaking when we should be listening ,then we will be listening when we should be speaking.
    Gidion was meditating on God when God spoke to him. Once the communication lines had been opened and established then things began to happen for the better.

    in Christ
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  15. If there were not places of higher learning, do you not see how error would replace the truth of what God meant?

    We all can get together around a campfire and discuss the Scriptures but there are some things that only come from those who have studied deeply in the Word of God. IF men had not been to places of higher learning, would the Baptists and Church of God would be baptizing babies as the RCC said we should be doing?

    Just look at some of the conversation on this web site. People have come to blows over whether or not water baptism is required to be saved. If 10 or twenty Catholic believers talk it over, do you think that their understanding will change.

    If a bunch of Methodists get together with the Catholics, do you really believe that talking about it will change their mind?
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  16. This is a delicate subject, which many brethren will have strong feelings about. I don't want to stir up any more trouble than I have already, so I'm going to choose my words carefully here.

    From my reading of the New Testament scripture, I'm not aware of any mention of schools of higher learning existing or being necessary to the edification of the assembly. God, in His wisdom and grace, has set teachers and shepherds in the assembly, to instruct the brethren in the truth and to keep them straying into error. He maintains things for His pleasure, even in the midst of breakdown and departure from the truth, and He has faithful men and women who wait on His word, and depend wholly and solely upon Him.

    It could be said that the unified conditions that existed in the early Church don't exist any longer, and therefore the new conditions require a new way of operating, i.e. schools of theology, denominations formed around doctrines, and so on. I'm personally convicted that God has not given up His thoughts as to the Church as He set them out in the scriptures, and that He recognises the overcomer who cherishes those thoughts and desires to be practically true to them. I can say, wholeheartedly and from personal experience, that God richly blesses those who seek to be faithful to the truth of the one Body, and whose desire it is to gather in assembly conditions, to the Name of the Lord Jesus alone, and resting solely on the authority of scriptures.

    Having said the above, I'm not passing judgement on or criticising any other believers. I'm simply stating my own convictions and experience.
  17. I, like you, don't think that seminaries, etc should be thought of as authorities in charge of regulating standards in belief. My experience from having grown up on a bible college campus is that control over such standards is done by political maneuvering more than by spirit-led mentoring and discipleship.

    Actually, my whole experience there led me to a point where I basically abandoned fellowship altogether for a time.

    However, looking back, I now see the good that came from my experience there. I had the opportunity to be exposed to many perspectives on various issues. Although it was generally encouraged to "pick a side" on doctrinal issues, then learn how to win a debate about it, the end result for me is that I am now more comfortable with challenging my own traditions with a more open heart about what God is telling me through scripture. Facing doubt with an honest heart has been the thing that's grown me the most.

    I also got to observe various ways that the balance of power is manipulated by people in authority and by challenges and uprisings welling up from the people. These formative experiences were essential to me for learning what to look for in a church community, and learning how to challenge my own preconceptions. I believe there is a place for "places of higher learning," but the best ones focus primarily on learning by doing, not learning to debate your way into being right.

    To seek truth, discipleship and service over academics and rhetoric.

    I am grateful for what I learned through both my positive and negative experiences growing up on that campus.
    KingJ likes this.
  18. So was I:) Peace.
  19. The only things all the schools in this world can do is HELP OR AID in God training any one of us. Time in Prayer and His word will get more revealed to you most times then 6 years in school.
    Just my 2 cents. lol
    Have a very blessed week end major
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  20. Hello there,

    Paul was an Apostle, a messenger of the risen Christ. He was called of God, and chosen for this office. He was a minister of God, to whom a 'dispensation' had been given, to fulfill the word of God. (Romans 1:1; Eph.3:2; Col.1:25). Therefore his words and arguments were divinely orchestrated. He also so lived, as one who sought to honour God, working hard with his hands that he may have to give to those in need, and himself be in debt to no man in anything but love.

    His words to Timothy, in 2 Timothy 2:15, with it's context, give the answer to all who would rise about the strife of words associated with argument and disputation, and that was to study to show oneself approved unto God, rightly dividing the word of Truth. This lifts us above the words of man, with their vagaries, and grounds us in the word of Truth, in Christ Jesus.

    We have entered by grace into God's 'academy' and He is our teacher. The Holy Spirit, uses the word of God, and takes of the things of Christ and makes them ours, and so we grow in grace and truth and in the knowledge of God in Christ Jesus.

    Praise His Name!

    In Christ Jesus
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