Nitoy

About Nitoy

Nitoy's Blog
Nitoy M. Gonzales is just an ordinary guy serving an extraordinary God. He blogs at Delighting Grace and contributes article to various blogs. He is a proud Pinoy, husband to Cristy-Ann and a father to Agatha. He worships at Faithway Community Baptist Church.

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4 Things Disagreement is Not (and 4 Ways to Have a Healthy Disagreement)

Disagreement can be misinterpreted by Christians as an unloving act specially between believers.  Some disputes can really paint an ugly picture on a Christian.

However, there are some that are really needed to be address and can be a concern for the church. As we might sway to avoid confrontations, here are some truths about disagreement that we might want to consider and change our mind about it.

4 Things Disagreement is Not

Disagreement doesn’t mean we hate each other.

If an argument is done with utmost civility with the end goal is to unite in truth, it is not about hating someone.   The only time disagreement becomes dirty is when people are attacking each other rather than focusing on the issue. Mudslinging of course will not advance a dispute, it will only side track it.

When our focus is on the ad hominems we are not creating a place for understanding but a circus. Sadly, some Christians get tangled in this web and think it’s the right way to argue. Well that is not the right way to resolve an issue. Christians are better than this. We should lay aside those personal attacks and get to the issue. Disagreement should not come with torches and clubs aimed to fellow Christians. Dispute is all about the topic at hand and not the person.

However in case we got caught up with the heat of  the disagreement, James 1: 19-20 reminds us:

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

 

Disagreement doesn’t mean we are divisive.  

Whether its doctrinal or moral standards there will be division because truth is by nature divisive. There is always a decision to make and a view to side on. It’s the light of truth that divides us to make us see the error. Disagreement in itself is not divisive. Arguments are intended to clear things up on both parties. Although in some very sensitive or heavy issue things might end up in an emotional parting of ways, if ever let us put a period in the issue but not on the fellowship of the believers.  

 

Disagreement doesn’t mean we lack humility.

The fact is, Christians should be humble even in face on an inevitable disagreement. Humbleness is a game changer in every area of the Christian life.  We are exhorted in Philippians 2: 3-4 to:

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

In actuality, we can argue and still show humility.  We can show respect for each other more in times of disagreement. What we must avoid as a believer is to sacrifice a well meaning argument on the altar of humility. We shouldn’t shun the opportunity to clear a topic for the sake of one’s humility. Don’t use humility as a trump card for the issue. Humility is not the primary topic. The issue at hand is and needs to be resolved. If in our heart we find the lack of humility, better address it first then go back to the issue.  

 

Disagreement doesn’t mean we are debate mongers.

First of all, we shouldn’t be wolves prowling around, with our mouth frothing and looking for someone one to disagree with. We are better than that. Disagreement is not a regular occasion or should it consume our time.  We should remember that there are lots of things a Christian should focus on.

However, to say that we are debate mongers just because we disagree on a issue is just unfair. When dispute arises, we need to take action not just we care for the truth but the people involved. We need to address an issue and resolve it which will benefit every believer.

Now that we cleared what disagreement is not, we now go to ways how to engage in that is not just healthy but fruitful. After all we didn’t invest in a certain discussion without benefiting our Christian life.

 

Pray first.

We cannot overstate the power of prayers among believers. It will assist us in the course of disagreement. Praying first is putting emphasis to God as the most important person in this dispute.  If our primary purpose is truth, praying will help us navigate to the goal we want to attain. Pray not just for the opposing view but for us that we would listen and seek to understand each other.

 

Consult the Bible.

The Word of God should be first not just for the answers to the issue raised by the disagreement but how to conduct the conversation.  Starting with the Bible will put both Christians having different views in the same page and wont resolve to look at their won’t wisdom. Let the Scriptures be the judge on this matter. Draw wisdom from it and be the guiding lamp it is.

 

Show civility.

We as Christians should “agree to disagree”. Showing civility presents a far beautiful picture of us than an issue at stake. It does make a difference in responding in a gentle manner than being angry. Keep also in mind that we should answer the issue not the person.   We get nowhere when we entertain logical fallicies especially ad hominem. We need to listen and understand to opposite view. After all, we are brothers and sisters in Christ and that should be more important than burning bridges because of something we don’t agree on.

 

Seek a win-win closure.

If the issue can be resolved without parting ways, we should seek a win-win closure. Let both parties agree on what the Bible had said to the matter. Repent to God on what error we try to hold onto. If we offended in anyway each other, seek forgiveness. Be ready to forgive  if someone hurt you while disagreeing.

In the spirit of disagreement among believers, may we always put God in the center. He is sovereign for allowing certain circumstances to happen and He is also there whatever the outcome will be.

By | 2018-07-18T07:55:20+00:00 July 18th, 2018|

7 Short But Excellent Christian Books I Have Read

Considering that there are tons of books that come out every year it seems impossible to find that right book that will equip us as Christians. Sometimes we look for it having criteria in mind like author, price, topic, format and recommendations. Then if you have reduced the search into just a pile we may have another thing to take in consideration. Will it be long or short book? Will it take much of my time or is it a quick. In other words, we need to know the length of the book.

Given the short attention span, our busy schedule, or the urgency to learn and apply certain principles for our personal life and ministry, we should step on the breaks and think which one I will choose to read. There are advantages that a thick book can offer to readers (more grounds covered, illustrations or images might be included, helpful indexes or appendix, etc.) that will make you despise a short book.

Then again, there is a looming fear that thick books gives to a reader. It might the overwhelming number of pages or boredom may come and leave an unfinished book. Look the other way and you’ll find short books do have advantages too. If you haven’t tried short books, it might be the right time to grab one.    

7 Short But Excellent Christian Books I Have Read

So let’s us leave those thick and bulky books for a while and dive to this list of books. Here are short, 100 pages less but excellent books that I have read and you should read too.

 

1.) “Apologetics Made Simple” by Jason L. Petersen

 Petersen presents 5 keys on which apologetics works in this straight forward book. There may not have examples or illustrations but defining these keys will give a clearer understanding how powerful apologetics is in the hand of a believer. If the word “apologetics” scares you, let this brief book bare the essentials that is easy to remember and easy to apply.  

 

2.) “A Primer on Free Will” by John Gerstner

 A short book (it’s just 28 pages!) that is part of the late John Gerstner’s ”Primer” series, Grestner did an excellent treatment of free will. John Gerstner doesn’t just bombard us with biblical jargons and verses but started this book by giving a great illustration. And as you follow along his argument and finish the book, Gerstner will really stoke you out. If you want to grasp free will that is essential to the discussion of the doctrine of grace, this book is an excellent one.

 

3.) “A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Good Works and Rewards” by Mark Jones

 This latest release from Mark Jones, this book sets out the biblical view on good works and rewards which is sometimes sets confusion among Christians who don’t want to fall into legalism and antinomianism. If you find works a non essential in the issue of salvation or feel guilty of thinking of rewards for our labor in the Lord, let Jones affirm biblical truths on this topic that you’ll have a much clearer view of what God wants in your life.

 

4.)  “Church History for Modern Ministry” by Dayton Hartman

 Is church history relevant to our modern day ministry? How will it help our Christian living or apologetics from people, places and events that are so detached to our times? Will history teach us something considering Christianity has some unpleasant past? As you open this book, Dayton Hartman will show you why history matters. Beyond the people, numbers and places, church history will help you reinforce your Christian belief. Leaf though the pages of this book and get a better understanding of the importance of knowing our history. After all its our family history.  

 

5.) “Transgender” by Vaughn Roberts

 A brief introduction on a very controversial subject. The subject has been tackled in big books as part of homosexual issue.  As part of the “Talking Points” series, Vaughn Roberts delivers important points enough for a Christian to consider this issue and have a meaningful discussion that is not just relevant to the culture at large but also for the church. This book doesn’t just give us answers but tools on engaging with the transgender movement.

 

6.) “Discerning Truth” by Jason Lisle

 This maybe a companion book to “Ultimate Proof of Creation” but it’s a great read and a standalone too. Much of the debate between atheist and Christians specifically on the origins, are sometimes based on faulty logical statements. As Dr. Lisle lays the case for presuppositional apologetics in “Ultimate Proof of Creation” which I highly recommend, in this book Dr. Lisle list out logical fallacies for believers to be aware of and how can a Christian counter these statements in this short but powerful book.

 

7.)  “Why Bother with Church?” by Sam Allberry

 Church life is essential to the believer as part of his spiritual growth. Looking at the Bible we can see how Christ look at church in a special and intimate way. However we can’t help see some of its defects that turn us off. News about the latest scandals or meeting some religious nuts with outrageous claims, it seems that church only brings reproach to the world rather that share the good news of Christ. So why bother being part of a mess? Sam Allberry gives a believer reasons why church is important in this short but great book by answering common questions Christians always ask. Be sure to get this book that gives you reasons to give church a second look (or a second chance).

 

There you have it, 7 books I read that are short but gave a deep impact to me. They may be a one sitting read but books like these should be in your shelves. I hope and pray that you’ll check these books and may it make a difference in your life too. I do have 5 more books in mind but I think I’ll save it for future post. Till then happy reading and enjoy Jesus!

By | 2018-04-24T16:19:38+00:00 April 24th, 2018|

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