Rejecting What We Do Not Understand
by Christopher N. Croom, M.BEx.
3 Minute Read
It seems evident that the fight Christianity is up against right now is a fight against meanings and concepts. Christianity struggles because it takes the approach of rejecting what it has not thoroughly defined. That is not to say that the rejection of a word or concept is not justified at times. This statement is only to say that if we are to be intellectually virtuous in our Christianity or if we want to be moral in our assessment of current culture, we must first thoroughly understand what we reject.
Consider 2 Tim 2:14-15. In these verses, it is argued what “things” Timothy is to remind them of, but it seems fair to me, though disagreed by others, that Paul continues the discussion about passing along sound doctrine to faithful men, from verse two. If so, Timothy is reminded to maintain the exposition of sound doctrine, pass it down, and ensure that he does not enter disputes about words that do not bring about growth. This statement is not an injunction from arguments about words with significant meaning to the sound doctrine he was taught. If it were an injunction, the previous verses about passing sound doctrine would not make sense. Rather, Paul tells Timothy to make sure that he chooses his battles carefully and that anything he decided to battle for should lead to real edification. Moreover, Paul then charges Timothy to be diligent in his study—in the style of a true workman—who accurately handles the truth.
With that in mind, I ask the question: How well do Christians understand truth and error? You might be thinking of an overused cliché that tells us, “FBI agents do not train to identify fake money; they train with real money so well they can discern false tender.” If you are thinking of that or some similar cliché, I will remind you that we are speaking of the Word of God and not money, so try to keep up.
Christians have an indelible attitude of rejecting certain doctrines because they were taught they were wrong or heretical. However, Christian, what do you know about that heresy? First hand, from your own studies? What is the reason for your convictions? It need not be a top-flight scholarly lesson, but it should be something that shows a basic understanding of the position and then a categorical refutation of those accurately articulated foundations. This discernment is what is missing in the Church today from the laity.
In today’s world, if we want to be authentic witnesses for the truth, disciple others, and help edify the Church, it will require more than our emotional dogmatics. Being an actual witness will require a fundamental understanding of error and accurate handling of the truth. We are not Apostles as are the ones who come before us and whose Scripture writings we read. Paul’s words to Timothy to be a solid workman required that he also understand the day’s issues to refute them efficiently. Paul tells the Church at Corinth that we are “destroying speculations and everything lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor 10:5). The battle we face is against false speculations, arrogance, and erroneous, fallacious thought. In other words, we battle definitions and concepts.
Christian, do you see the connection? Having faith is terrific, but as the days move forward, if you want to disciple and edify those within the Church, you must be equipped to understand what you want to reject, not just a shoddy notion of the error. You must understand the error so that you can efficiently pinpoint the remedy. This duty is much like counseling, my brothers and sisters. You cannot walk into a session, sit down and tell them what the Lord says that they ought to do unless you understand thoroughly what it is they are not doing or are doing incorrectly. You must understand the illness before prescribing the medicine. And whatever that error may be, ranging from error in the Church, CRT, sex and gender, evolution, etc., you must work to know the problem to provide the right solution.
I call out to you today: will you strive to be intellectually virtuous in your battle with the world, or continue to reject that which you do not understand because someone told you it was the right thing to do?