030: Conflict Resolution in Doctrinal Differences


What You'll Discover in this Episode:

There are central doctrinal truths that every believer must believe in to be saved. The divinity of Christ, a trinitarian God ( The Father, Son and Holy Spirit), the death and resurrection of Christ, just to name a few. However, there are doctrines that believers can disagree upon. As believers we must discern by wisdom from God in dealing with doctrinal differences. There is power and authority in the Word of God that we must study the Scriptures to know what God is trying to communicate to us. But we must be slow to read to much into scripture with our human thought and reasoning. When these doctrinal issues arise, we must be able to deal with the conflicts that come out of them. Remembering that Christ has united us with the Gospel. 


When these conflicts do arise we must remember that we don't need to start verbal fights, but we can have God honoring debates with one another. Often we are strongly rooted in our thoughts and beliefs that we don't allow another brother or sister to explain their theological thoughts. There also has to be a separation of our traditions and what the Bible says. There must be an understanding that every brother and sister in Christ is in a different walk in their faith. 


In this episode pastor and Dr. Joel Dover have an open discussion with Pastor Jeff about conflict resolution when it comes to doctrinal issues. This episode is meant to equip you with practical applications to handle these conflicts as they come up in your Christian walk. it is not a matter of if they will arise, but when they will arise. Be prepared to have great dialogue with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, because doctrinal issues will come to pass. 


 "Conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional." As Pastor Joel says.  We must handle these conflicts with humility treating one another with respect and the love of Christ. We must have a high view of God's word over human traditions. And we must seek to resolve these conflicts as they come up. 



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Highlights from Pastor Jeff and Pastor Joel

  • We all have strong convictions of our theological beliefs and we must remember. We will not always agree in these convictions.  
  • Search the Word when dealing with these conflicts and remember to check your own heart to make sure you are not arguing for the sake of having to be right. 
  • We must not allow our flesh to subdue the work of the Spirit in our walk. Don't allow anger or pride stand tall in these conversations.  
  • Treat your fellow brother or sister in Christ with respect. Be patient with one another and bear one anothers burdens in a way that both are able to voice their belief. 
  • There must be a high view placed on God's Word. There is no room to allow human traditions to trump what the Word of God says. 
  • The conflict must be resolved. There is no need to remain so stubborn that believers cannot agree to disagree. At the end of the day we are all united in Christ and conflicts should not divide us. 
  • Conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional. Search the Word of God and seek out the proper interpretation with scriptural support.
  •  All believers are at different walks in their faith. We must remain considerate of each others as we may be further along in our walk or maybe we are still seeking to know what we believer. 

Resources:

  • Romans 14: 1 Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. 
  • Romans 14:13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.
  • Romans 14:19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.
  • Romans 15:1-3 We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.  For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.”  
  • Romans 15:17 Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.
  •  Romans 12:16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.  

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  • Tom Zimbelman says:

    This is another timely podcast. I will admit fatigue in some doctrinal discussions I have had in recent times, one with my brother who has become strongly Calvinistic in his perspectives of the Christian Faith, and with some others who are quite demanding I yield to their reformed and cessationist perspective. Thankfully my older brother and I both consider one another brothers in Christ and maintain our fellowship. It’s important to respectfully disagree – stand firm and strong, be bold – don’t be brash.

    My struggle in this particular dialogue with some is the accusation that if I disagree with the 5-points of Calvinism that I am somehow works-oriented and not dependent on grace, which is not at all true. For some this doctrine HAS become an essential of the faith to them. How do we maintain unity in that? “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”
    ‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:18‬ ‭NKJV

    • Eric Mendoza says:

      There will still be conflicts because your convictions and someone else’s convictions strongly differ. The end of the disagreement needs to be a mutual understanding that we are all saved by the grace of God and salvation is given to us as a free gift. We cannot earn salvation, whether you are a Calvinist or Arminian it does not change the fact that grace came from God through Jesus Christ. When you are faced with another believer that continues to belittle you because of your stance or just won’t let it go, you must take the high road. Don’t allow the conversation to escalate, but with grace share with the person that you don’t feel like this conversation is going to produce fruit. By doing this and seeking wisdom from God through prayer, you will be able to live peaceably with all men.

      Blessings,

      Pastor Eric

      • Tom Zimbelman says:

        Amen, Eric. I agree that come off well we will have some disagreements, we need to end the discussions on a solid footing on the grace of the Lord and that salvation is through faith in Christ alone. I do respect the Hygeia of scripture that my brother and others have, to me that is covering. We have obviously some disagreements on interpretation, but we are in full agreement on the essentials.

        Your advice is to not allow the disagreement to escalate is great and wise. Thank you.
        Tom

    • Ulyana says:

      Tom, I completely understand, my cousin became a strong 5 point Calvinist and was so exhausted to be honest, all conversations is Judy was turning to the debate and which point is right…I remember those days. But the good news is the Lord is convicted me to focus on the unity and grown in Christlikeness…

    • Erin Knorr says:

      Great post and I really liked your perspective on this. I think that is a really important factor is to stand firm and to be strong, be bold but not brash. We still are called to love one another with a Christlike love, which doesn’t mean that we let everyone walk all over us but we love them. I think Calvinism is a one that is going to be heavily debated. I would agree with you though.

  • Ulyana says:

    Thank you Pastor Jeff and Joel for this amazing podcast. And I’m absolutely agree that we do need to treat each other with love and patiently. I remember I heard this quote and just stuck with me “Just agree with God” It spoke to me so much to realize, no matter what agree with God and pursue unity. I also like how Pastor Joel mention about that some issue need to be addressed as they little and not just wait for the problem disappears it won’t be happening. I can also testify to that and in my early baby Christian steps, I did gone to the debating rounds and to be honest was super exhausted. When, I had a conversation with my cousin five point Calvinist and she was tried to just win her point so hard that brought such compassion toward her, the Lord just convicted me about it’s not about who is right it’s about unity in the Body. Still today, it speaks so much value to me about conflict and have discern God truth and seek His heart. Unlimitedly, He is only can bring conviction.

    • Melissa Hermosillo says:

      Thank you for sharing Ulyana. Asking God to convict us is so important! I think as humans we always want to think we are right in our thinking but also as humans, so many times we fall short and mess up and we must know that God is always right and know what is best for us! And we should be okay with not always being right as long as we are obeying Him and His law.

  • alejandro anchondo says:

    Dr. Joel mentioned how sometimes what we “know” can impede what God wants us to “learn.” There is a great temptation to read into the bible what we already think or what we’ve been taught. In fact, even if you aren’t tempted to do it consciously we may do it ignorantly.

    This is especially hazardous when we are dealing with secondary issues that cause many Christians to break fellowship. I was just last week teaching through Matthew 24 where the Lord prophesies about the Tribulation and the 2nd Coming. On my first day of studying I read 4 commentaries to prepare and had 4 different outlines and interpretations. These aren’t things to break fellowship over or worth causing conflict. Moreover, I had to really think through the options presented to me because I knew which one I had previously been taught myself. We can’t let what we “know” impede learning from the Lord.

    Pastor Jeff mentioned how over time and study his mind was changed on a certain topic. I have to think that if this doesn’t happen to all of us sometimes then we aren’t really being open to God’s Word and the Spirit. No one ever gets everything correct right off the bat.

    • Eric Mendoza says:

      Wonderful insight. I am curious to hear about what interpretation you went with for Matthew 24. Did you happen to share your findings with anyone, this could be an excellent opportunity to practice your faith by speaking to someone who believes in a different interpretation. I am not saying to go off and seek to argue with someone, but maybe ask for their take on the Scriptures.

      Blessings,

      Pastor Eric

    • Autumn Duncan says:

      Really agree with your comment where you mention that we can’t allow what we know to hinder our learning. I have found that when somebody else has a different viewpoint on a verse or something that happened in the Bible, it makes me pause and read it again and seek the Lord’s guidance to fully understand even more.

    • Melissa Hermosillo says:

      I agree Alejandro! The worst thing and most dangerous thing we could do when we read Scripture is think that we know it all just because it is something we have read before. God is always showing different truths in scripture and we also keep changing as people and christians and we should always be ready to listen anything new He is trying to teach us and we must be ready to obey.

    • Tom Zimbelman says:

      Good thoughts Alejandro.
      We often find ourselves easily influenced by others’ opinions on doctrine without fully realizing it. I have found my own predispositions to be challenged by so many differing opinions in areas such as: eternal security, pre-tribulationalism, unlimited atonement, election, etc. – but the good news is that it drives me back to a deeper search into the Scriptures where we all can solidify our faith (by being willing to yield to what Scripture teaches). Context! And then kindness in our discussions with other believers.

  • Autumn Duncan says:

    This was an important podcast for today’s believers as we live in a culture where people can’t disagree agreeably. This message was great as it explained when to stand firm on issues regarding clear doctrinal issues and when to love and respect someone on nonessential issues. I couldn’t agree more with an essential point that was made regarding God’s Word. We can’t have our human interpretation override what the Lord s telling us. This is how many churches and believers are living today and it’s really sad as they are missing the guidance from the Lord! I have also had this happen in religious conversations with my family. They believe that since it’s written by man, it is also open for interpretation. We have gone many rounds in discussion and have concluded to agree to disagree. It’s breaks my heart, but I also have learned where to pick my battles.

    • Eric Mendoza says:

      It is challenging to have to speak to our family about these issues, but the situation will arise. I would encourage you to show them the verse found in 2 Timothy 3:16. It shares that although the authors were human, the Word is divinely inspired by God. You shared some wonderful insight.

      Blessings,

      Pastor Eric

      • Autumn Duncan says:

        Thank you so much Pastor Eric! I really appreciate you sharing that verse with me to share with my family. I’m just glad that they have accepted Jesus as their Savior and continue to read the Bible as I know he will reveal His truth as they continue.

    • Ulyana says:

      I agree and like how you said, cause it’s been interpreted by man it’s a road for open discussion. I also think is how people interpret and just push own opinion and point. I also like how Dr. Joel said
      Not to use the Bible as a weapon, I agree with that so much. And most time when we have God revelation not to just push down but gentle share about.

    • Erin Knorr says:

      Great post! I really liked your point that you made saying, “This message was great as it explained when to stand firm on issues regarding clear doctrinal issues and when to love and respect someone on nonessential issues.” Sometimes I think we do get hung up on nonessential issues and make them a big deal. You are so right that we cannot let our flesh get in the way of what God is telling us. That was really convicting.

  • Tabitha Lee says:

    Do we go toe to toe with other believers who do not agree with us on an issue? Is it worth the battle? How are we bringing glory to God in our actions toward one another in the Lord? It is important to first recognize the difference between biblical standard and human tradition. We are called to be gracious with each other, forgiving and loving. Pastor Jeff, suggest that we look for the things that we do agree on, and find common ground. Are the Scriptures sufficient to answer our questions? Yes! And this can be a place where we can have common ground and come together. Pastor Joel, recognizes that we are not talking about the fundamentals of the faith, but areas where we may have non-fundamental differences in interpretation. As believers we need to search our hearts, find what we agree on, and then go to the Scriptures to see what it says regarding the issue. May we search the Scripture for our answers so that we can give an account. Having a teachable heart and walking in humility is an important place to reside.

  • Erin Knorr says:

    This was a really great Podcast! I never really heard how to deal with conflict in doctrinal differences and how to resolve it, sometimes I think when this comes up we tend to separate rather than come under the same goal of being the body of Christ. I think we put up fences when this happens. We have to address it, and to realize that it is hopefully not a big issue and strive to still be in fellowship with them. To have unity in the body of Christ. Unity in the body of Christ, do we wonder if it has to be unity in the sense of everybody believes the same things and thinks the same way or is it unity in the blood of Jesus and share the same goal of furthering God’s kingdom rather than our own.

    I worked with an nonprofit organization that was nondenominational and it was a ministry that worked with Pastors and churches who wanted to go on missionary trips and we would connect them. When working with them, I had to deal with working with churches who did not share the same doctrinal beliefs or convictions as me, women Pastors, Calvinism, etc. The Lord really spoke to me in this season, that at the end of the day do they still believe in the sufficiency of Scriptures. Do they believe in the Word of God and the gospel. And they did. Sometimes in my flesh I can get nit-picky about things.

    • Kristie Gallagher says:

      It is so encouraging to think that our doctrinal differences do not have to cause a division within our fellowship with one another. We can have different points of view but still be unified in Christ. It is really great that the Lord spoke to you regarding the people that you worked with that had different doctrinal beliefs. Jesus said, “they will know you are My disciples, if you love one another.” We can love even when we disagree.

  • Melissa Hermosillo says:

    I love how they were talking about forgiveness. To be honest I think it is easier for someone who believes in grace over all, to be graceful with others and be forgiving. So whatever we may believe with our doctrine, we must remember that grace is over all and the most important thing that we should remember and study about. The only way to see past differences is grace, the only way to forgive is with grace, the only way to really love someone in the midst of an argument is with grace. So yes, it is important to study and see where the Bible stand on certain issues but even before all of that, let’s make sure we ask God to show us what grace looks like in our day to day life and that before anything else, we can love others, understand others, forgive others and have grace towards others.

    • Tabitha Lee says:

      HI Melissa!
      Thank you for sharing! I would add to your statements about grace, that God gives us grace, we can show grace and that really boils down to showing love. It is undeserved love that we are called and gifted to show others because God first loved us. Because of God’s great love towards us and our love for Him we are able to show love and grace to those around us. In times of great despair or conflict, as believers we should act differently because of God the Holy Spirit working in and through us.

    • Kristie Gallagher says:

      It is so true that grace should be the lead in our lives. If we do not have grace and love in our lives for others we are in no position to address differences in our beliefs.

  • Kristie Gallagher says:

    Dealing with conflict can be a complicated and an emotional process. I loved this conversation with Pastor Joel and pastor Jeff. We need to make a distinction between what the Bible teaches and what our own opinion is. The key to any conversation is to have love for the other person. We need to have respect for them and to be patient. Just this week on social media there has been a “Christian fight” regarding women teaching. First of all this is a terrible witness to the world around us. This is not going to bring one person into a right relationship with Christ. Secondly, it was not done in love. As Christians we need to make sure that the conversations we have are not done publicly against a person. This is never going to bring about the godly results we desire.
    We need to always check our hearts and motives. Then if it is something that God is showing us needs to be addressed it needs to be done privately in love with humility.

    • Tabitha Lee says:

      Hello Kristie!
      It is humbling to recognize that when a debate arises I may be wanting my own way or standing up for my own opinion on a subject and in turn causing discord and hurt within the body. I should rather, be sure as you stated that I am standing firm for something clearly taught in the Bible, but doing so with patience and grace. Remember to follow Matthew 18 no matter the issue. #checkyourheart

  • Steve Greenberg says:

    I Like what pastor Jeff said about conflicts and having the right kind of attitude with secondary issues, not talking about Heretical issues.
    Have a unfolding maturing biblical theology, as I walk and experience God we have to be careful, to know our frailty and to walk humbly, God is growing me and maturing me and some of my views have changed for the better as I mature. Jeff said to make sure to respect, be patient, look from their perspective remember conflict is inevitable. We are not dividing over essentials, but liberties within the circle of evangelical truths. We need to be teachable, James 1:5 reminds us to ask for wisdom.

    Joel addresses these issues head-on? He will go quickly to that person in love and Talk with person over issue? sometimes they didn’t know and other times they disagree completely. Joel said as a senior pastor it is very important for those who teach on his staff to know our beliefs on secondary issues and support them. If they do not support them they should not be contentious if they are going to be, go work someplace else.

  • Alyssa says:

    “We agree to disagree”

    I think this statement stuck out to me because it is simple but is most often hard to do. The truth is we do not have to agree with everyone, and we never will agree with everyone. This is harder for me to deal with when it comes to people who are also believers of Jesus Christ because I feel like we are all one body. I hate seeing people get torn up and angry about things, and at the same time I wish that we could all just agree. But that is perfect world thinking and as we all know we do not live in a perfect world.

    I once found out one of my friends who had done a lot of ministry was leaving our church, and later found out was because she converted to Calvinism. She pleaded with me to question the “traditions” of our church and doctrine. At first I did not quite understand, I believe anyone anywhere can fall into traditions of “Religion”, but no point at my time at my church had I ever felt like I was stuck in my traditions. This encounter made me go to the bible first. Yes, She did have scriptural references for predestination, but after talking to my dad and doing some research, I was reminded that the bible has argument for both. In the end, while she did not like my answer, I had to agree to disagree with her. It was hard because she was my friend, and seeing her go was especially hard. But that was something that I was not able to control or help. I can point her to the Lord and pray for her, and in the end I know she is just doing all she can to seek the Lord as I am, even if we do not agree.

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