Over the past month I have been involved in quite a few apologetic discussions. One thing I have heard a few times is people calling those that they disagree with idiots. In one such discussion, I challenged the other person on their authority call people stupid for thinking other things or having differing opinions. Then I looked at my self.
Think about the last few times you have discussed things of God with non-believers. Have you considered them stupid? Called them an idiot while talking to your friends about them? Thought less of them for having another viewpoint? Well, stop. Seriously, we need to cut that out. Consider what Paul says in Romans 3.27-28 (right after he declares that we are all equally sinful):
Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.
Name calling is a form of pride. We have no basis on which to stand in calling people stupid for not believing in Christ. None. Because, in all reality (since salvation is not by works) we are all too stupid to figure this out. We need help and more than that, we need a savior. Thankfully, we can echo what Paul later writes (Romans 7.24-25):
Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
The problem is, however, that in order to believe in Christ, we need enlightenment from the Holy Spirit (John 1.12-13; 3.5-8). And to claim this truth is to appear to be putting our intelligence over that of others. So what do we do? Remain humble. Point to the cross. Preach Jesus, and not good works. Show grace. Don’t force your word over others. Let the Spirit move.
But what about the truth?
The truth is that we wouldn’t know the truth apart from God proclaiming it to us, so we must never put our wisdom over that of God’s or try to show of our skills at debate just for argument’s sake. There is one truth, his name is Jesus. His Word is truth (John 17.17) and we are here to bear witness to that truth.
So do we boast in what we have figured out? Or do we point to Jesus? You better believe it’s the latter, we have no basis for showing our stuff as it’s only Christ that we must look to.
If you have thoughts on what this looks like, or anything to add, please do so below.