A commenter named David posted a question awhile back. In the spirit of dialogue, I thought I’d address his question in a post for your consideration.

He wrote:

What is “Sowing seeds of discord”? as stated in Proverbs 6.

Please avoid telling me what other people may say about it. Tell me what you know of the meaning. To say it is just dissention is a copout. Paul and Barnabus had contentions as did others. To say it is only dissention, as many say, is to say; the first person to point the finger and shout “sowing seeds of discord” WINS! We still have to discern between dissention and contending. Paul had to contend for the truth with Peter as we all know; where as the contention between Paul and Barnabus was such as was seemingly respectful but issues of different opinion.

So I await your answers.

I will take a gander that verses 12-19 are what he’s referring to:

Proverbs 6:12-19 – A troublemaker and a villain, who goes about with a corrupt mouth, who winks maliciously with his eye, signals with his feet and motions with his fingers, who plots evil with deceit in his heart—he always stirs up conflict. Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant; he will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy. There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: … a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

I will add a few more verses to consider on this subject:

Romans 16:17-18 – I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

Galatians 6:1 – Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

Ephesians 5:11 – Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

Titus 3:9-11 – But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

Matthew 18:15-20 – “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

I’ll first note that a “troublemaker” is in the eyes of the beholder. To the class of teachers and preachers who literally refuse to answer objections with Biblical authority, I suppose I’m a troublemaker of sorts. But I don’t fancy myself as that, and certainly don’t aspire to it. My goal is to be a peacemaker, but when the sect leaders don’t respond to Biblical questions—in fact, their approach is to literally ignore dissent—then I’m not sure what there is to do other than speak truth in love and let the chips fall where they may.

The above verses and many others teach us to avoid intentional and unnecessary conflict. Generating conflict for the sake of conflict is evil, and I would compare it to online trolling. It has no place in Christian dialogue. If I were picking fights with Stanton with no Biblical agenda, I’d understand this concern. But I do believe we have an obligation to teach truth, albeit in a loving manner. That means any criticism needs to be handled with a measure of gentleness and patience, and always communicated in love.

In all good conscience, I have sought to do that extensively on this blog. I can’t answer for the consciences of all those commenting. By far, most have been respectful and, I can only assume, well-intentioned. But it’s still important, if you are to understand the usefulness of this blog, to distinguish between the content I write, and the conversation it generates in the comment section.

While I do my best to “call fouls” when it’s appropriate, I also want to avoid shutting down dialogue altogether simply because I don’t agree with someone else. For that reason, I allow and encourage comments in opposition to my own thinking, because I value dialogue. It’s how I might convince some of you of my approach to the world, and it’s how you might convince me. That’s the model of the church as a community of believers, all in different places in their spiritual maturity; iron sharpening iron.

But dialogue is exactly what Stanton doesn’t do. If you’ll notice, they don’t respond to anyone asking honest questions about their doctrine. Ask them to defend it Biblically, and they will just ignore you. As GP said in his talk Not ready to give an answer:

And I know how I respond. That’s the basis of this lesson. I refuse. I refuse, to the uttermost of my being to dignify the absurdity of the questions and the challenges in which it is that people will present. What I mean by that is that I will not honor, they are not worthy of my consideration.

So what does one do when an institution claiming to speak in the place of God is teaching things that are unbiblical? Do we just let it happen, or do we speak out and confront error in a loving manner when we have the opportunity? I would suggest the latter. I’ve been given an opportunity to reason together with readers, and that’s what I do.

Just remember that people are in different places in their faith (or unbelief) when they comment here. I don’t have the time or inclination to filter comments to my own standards of evidence, dialogue, or Biblical knowledge. Rather than limit all dialogue to only the those whom I agree with, the comment section of this blog is intended to give people who may have thought they were alone, and maybe rejected God because of the doctrinal abuses of the Stanton sect, a voice to connect with others with similar experiences.

I’d rather keep lines of communication open and help people reach a better understanding of God than police everyone’s comments like the Ministry of Truth. I’m more interested in persuading people than coercing or silencing them. I’m definitely not interested in controversy for the sake of controversy, and if you gathered such from something I wrote, I do apologize. Yet we must deal realistically with the fact that sometimes truth is controversial. Hence, my philosophy is to speak truth in love, always trying to honestly examine my heart and motivations in writing what I write.

I hope this helps.

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