"Nothing more impressive than an intellectual and spiritual approach to seeking truth and a willingness to embrace it unconditionally."

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Value of Debate

The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him. 
Proverbs 18:17 ESV

My last blog I discussed three reasons why I think Apostolics should engage in intramural debates. At the conclusion of that blog I stated my intention to blog about why I think that Apostolics do not debate. I still intend to do that. However, while listening to a debate, one of the speakers used this verse to demonstrate the value of debate. 

It is likely that the context—strictly speaking—is referring to taking a matter before a judge. The lawyer that presents their case first seems like they have an air-tight case. That is until the other lawyer presents their case and answers the first lawyer's arguments. The truth in such cases can only be discerned after both sides have presented their cases. A strong case does not mind questioning. When a strong case is questioned it only becomes stronger for it.

One ought to be aware of the person who refuses to have his argument questioned. This means that person is fearful that their argument will not hold up to intellectual scrutiny. Truth is never afraid of questions. Few things frustrate me as much as someone who launches a public, personal or theological attack against someone and refuses to answer any one's objections. If you are going to argue for something publicly, then be man enough to field the questions that come along with it. Don't hide behind moderated comments and pulpits!

Why?

Because if truth is what you are really after, then you won't mind both sides of the argument being heard. People who refuse to field questions are only interested in "seeming right;" they are not interested in "being right." There is a way to have healthy and productive debate on any issue. It's not divisive; it is unifying if done properly.

The early church and the Jerusalem council in Acts 15 are an awesome example how coming together to discuss issues that are controversial can lead to consensus. Avoiding controversial issues does not produce unity, it only hides the conflict beneath the surface where it festers and grows. 


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