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Monday, September 21, 2015

It's Hard Not to Debate or Teach

Pocket Full of Quarters Journey 2015
It's Hard Not to Debate or Teach

Written In: Mount Shasta, California
By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

Remind others about these things, and warn them before God not to argue over words. Arguing does not do any good but only destroys those who are listening. 2 Timothy 2:14

"If you debate with or teach the pre-saved, you're done," I say at every Gospel Conversation Workshop I lead. "You can't debate with or teach theology to someone who is pre-saved. The Bible says it is foolishness to them. Besides, your argument isn't with them, it's with the enemy. If you argue with the enemy, you've already lost."

I say it repeatedly because I know personally how hard it is not to argue or debate. No matter how many times I say it, I'll take a group out to observe Gospel Conversations and invariably, someone brings along a spirit of debate or a teacher voice. Trust me, in my flesh, I can have both.

Twice this week, in separate encounters, I had women tell me that they grew up in church and believed in Jesus. They even believed in the resurrection. And yet, when I asked where they were going in the next life, both women told me they believed in reincarnation. Both woman preferred to return as an animal - one didn't care what kind and the other preferred being a pampered house cat. When I suggested that they pretend for a moment that they were standing at heaven's gate and got asked why God should let them into heaven, they both said that they would tell God they had been good.

The spirit of debate tried to use me to say, "If you believe in the resurrection of Jesus, how can you believe in reincarnation? What would be the point of Jesus being crucified for you and coming back from the dead if he was just going to send you back to earth as a dog or cat?" There is nothing to do with that spirit except to rebuke it. We are not to fight with weapons of the world and debate is a weapon of the world.

The teacher in me wanted to explain that being good would not get them into heaven and that only the grace of Jesus could get them into heaven. I bit my tongue. No one likes to be told they are wrong and the encounter would have ended badly.

In both cases, I reminded myself of the only point of asking the two important questions:
1. Where do you think you are going in the next life?
2. If God asks why He should let you into His heaven, how will you answer?

The point of asking those 2 questions is to find out if they are saved - not to correct their theology or debate their opinions. Neither of these women had met Jesus personally. They had grown up in church, learned about Jesus, but had never entered into a relationship with Jesus. The absence of the Holy Spirit testifying to Truth had allowed their active imaginations to run with the popular opinions of the culture.

Instead of debating or teaching, I joked with them for a minute and said that I hoped they got to come back as one of my pets because we spoiled them rotten. They laughed. Then, I turned serious and stuck to my training. "God loved you so much that He sent His only son that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. We've all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The cost of that sin is death. However, the gift of God is eternal life. My favorite line in the entire Bible is that all who call on the name of the Lord Jesus will be saved. May I lead you in a prayer calling on Jesus?"

I was surprised in both cases when they eagerly said yes. Afterward, I told them that all of heaven was throwing a party and that there 'ain't no party like an angel party.' I broke the news to them that they wouldn't be coming back as an animal and neither woman argued or seemed disappointed. In fact, both seemed thrilled.

What is interesting is that after they were saved, they seemed to lean into my teaching voice. They listened intently when I explained that what they were feeling was the Holy Spirit and that I wanted them to memorize that feeling and walk towards it all of their life. They nodded at the suggestion of church and the Bible. Both women gave their email for future correspondence (teaching).

The spirit of debate is just that, an evil spirit. It never solves anything. I've never seen anyone win a debate with the person they are debating with. There is a time for a gentle loving teacher voice - just not with the pre-saved.

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