Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Did Jesus "Agree To Disagree" On Doctrine?

Have you ever heard someone tell you "we'll just have to agree to disagree"? I came across that notion today and remembered a blog post I read last year by S.J. Walker . I thought I'd quote it again because its good.

"If a man is one who, for any reason at all, rejects the Law,and Gospel of Grace through Christ, I would rather he do his worst to me for my adherence to it. Let him who will not surrender to God Almighty do his level best to destroy my reputation, to make me appear the fool, and if time and circumstance allow, let him even seek my life. But I will not have a man who refuses to surrender to God in faith, attempt to tell me that he "disagrees, but respects my opinion", for such a man is a smiling liar. It is not respect! Not respect, but cowardice. Respect of this opinion would render this man broken. He is a man who cannot find the nerve to kill me or harm my reputation, so he claims a peaceful respect.

I would rather, above all else, to see that man saved! But if not saved, I
would prefer to see him honest for once at his death.

There would be no greater failure of mine than to "agree to disagree" while the very gate of Hell closes between a poor lost sinner and myself--a sinner too, but saved by Grace."

On minor issues of conscience we can "agree to disagree" but in matters of biblical doctrine, we must stand for the Truth and not cave. If two people disagree on doctrine, someone is wrong. This rightly assumes that Truth IS knowable, too, by the way. Often "agreeing to disagree" is merely a conversation stopper because the topic is too close to home or its getting a little heated. Most "Christians" today rather dump all talk and search for God's Truth than wade knee-deep into a discussion. Its as if there's no passion for truth at all. But certainly there's a passion for self-preservation.

I think that "agree to disagree" tries to shut down the Truth as mere opinion and ejecting the knowability of Truth.

Here's a question: Did Jesus ever use that phrase, "We'll just have to agree to disagree"? If not, then why do so many professing Christians do so on doctrinal issues?

Certainly in the chapter of the "Woes" Jesus gives to the Pharises He says:

Mat 23:13 "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.

Mat 23:15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

Mat 23:16 "Woe to you, blind guides, who say, 'If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.'

Mat 23:17 You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred?

This doesn't sound like agreeing to disagree on Jesus' part. For that matter, the Pharisees didn't seem to want to agree to disagree with Him either.

Here's more Scripture:

Joh 8:31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

Isa 45:19 I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, 'Seek me in vain.' I the LORD speak the truth; I declare what is right.

Eph 5:17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.


Bevy said...

I love it when peeps say things like Jesus was so loving - well yesh - He was - BUT when others were wrong HE was strikingly truthful with them.
I think some agree to disagree with some who are NOT ready to make a decision b'c they are trying to be all things to all peeps and think that by not leaving they may win them to Jesus.
it's a person by person case. Most who are non-believers want NOTHING to do with me.

Guy said...

Yes there is objective and absolute truth. And it changes not. Even the early church came together in Jerusalem to establish one answer for all with respect to circumcision. Yet we also are taught humility in taking the plank out of our own eye first. And Paul derides a few of the early churches for internal divisions, and calls them to focus on Christ instead. Calvin and Luther disagreed on LORD'S SUPPER, and they appear to have been unable to resolve their differences. Yet they co-existed. Personally I never take the position that to "agree to disagree" implies both are right; rather, it is a mechanism to put the issue on hold and not lose sight of the great commission and our service to God.

Denise said...

Disagreeing with matters of conscience is allowed, of course, as Romans 14 and 1Cor. 8 talk about. However, we have no room to disagree with the commands of Scripture or any of its teaching. I think most really do see "agree to disagree" as a way of assuming both sides have some truth, so let's move on type of thing--either that or, its too uncomfortable to wade through and figure out from Scripture what the issue is--confrontation is easily avoided with such conversation stoppers. That cannot be if we are talking about biblical doctrine though. Scripture is clear about the Lord's Table and baptism: both are for believers only and both are symbols only. To disagree with God is to be mutinous toward HIM. To disagree on a personal preference with a believer and still have some sort of unity is what Scripture calls us to. There is no unity among believers when one (or both) parties are at odds with Scripture. Biblical doctrine is never ever put into the category of Romans 14's Personal Preferences.