Attitudes about Issues

(Bill Burk)

“I am sick of hearing about issues…” This declaration of weariness seems to be more commonplace than ever among brethren. False doctrine is alive and well in the church in regard to such matters as marriage, divorce and remarriage, the concept of proper worship, fellowship the work of the church and a host of other matters. At times even matters of opinion become issues of controversy and cause turmoil among God’s people. Whether we like it or not, issues are ongoing. When it comes to the issues, some practice….

  1. ISSUE AVOIDANCE: These folks believe that issues are best ignored. They say things like, “Let’s just preach the gospel and leave the issues alone.” However, part of the preaching the gospel consists of reproving and rebuking (2 Tim. 4:2), exposing (Eph. 5:11) and testing the spirits (I John 4: 1,2). The early church faced many departures from the truth (Acts 20: 28-32). Judaizing teachers were a problem (Acts 15:1-5; Gal 1:6-9; Phil 3:1-2; I Tim. 4:1-5, etc). Gnostic teaching that denied the character of Jesus had to be fought and overturned (2 John 7). Practically, the entire epistle of First Corinthians addresses the many issues that faced the church there (division, fornication, sinful litigation, misuse of liberties, worship abuses, etc) Inspired men never avoided the issues but were set for the defense of the gospel (Phil. 1:17; I Pet. 3:15). We must be as well.
  2. ISSUE OBSESSION: These folks seem to believe that the all of Christianity surrounds controversy. Every sermon preached has something to do with the latest false doctrine or the preacher most recently gone astray. As set forth in the above-mentioned point, faithful Christians must stand for truth (Jude). Evil men must be marked and avoided (Rom. 16:17). Yet, in order to preach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27), one must vary his subject matter in preaching and teaching. A constant diet of brotherhood issues confuses the new convert as to what the whole of Christianity is (Luke 9:23) and discourages the mature member who is sick and starving spiritually due to an unbalanced diet (Matt. 4:4). We must not be issue obsessed.
  3. ISSUE ANALYSIS: These brethren look at each controversy carefully (I Thess. 5:21). They seek to find out what the Bible has to say on every issue (2 Pet. 1:3). And, as problems arise, they scripturally make a stand, while at the same time keeping focus on what is truly at the heart of the New Testament Christianity (Phil 1:21). In preaching and teaching, they reprove and rebuke, yet at the same time they encourage with all longsuffering and teaching. We must face each issue with an open heart and an open Bible, then when God’s truth is seen, we must act willingly and lovingly (I Cor. 16:14).

Some would say that issues are unimportant. Yet, if false teaching is left alone, countless souls will be lost. Some are obsessed with issues, seeing nothing else as far as the religion of Christ is concerned. Such an obsessions is spiritually detrimental as well. Some face the issues head on, see what the Bible says, make a stand, and then keep on keeping on as it relates to growing in God’s grace and knowledge (2 Pet. 3:18). What’s your attitude toward the issues?