Neutrality Versus Division

One of the most difficult things to learn how to navigate, as a Christian who earnestly and seriously studies God’s Holy Word; is to determine what one can rightfully or correctly be neutral or non-confrontational about, and what one may or should take exception to.

There are obviously extremes to be avoided on both sides of this equation. There are those who seldom; if never, take exception to a Biblical teaching that does not agree with the whole counsel of God’s Holy Word, and there are others who seem to literally take exception to just about everything. I could provide terms for both of these extremes, but by doing so, that in itself could cause an unnecessary source of irritation to some.

The initial deciding factor of course, for each of us, is to determine what constitutes an issue that does need to be addressed; or what can be overlooked. Note that I am not discussing in this post, how one addresses the issue.

All of us, and that includes me in particular, have a tendency to think that our reasoning is the correct reasoning. I shudder to tell you how many times in the past I have been wrong. My reasoning about a number of Christian issues today, is in a good number of cases, not necessarily what I reasoned as a young man in my twenties. It is amazing how life lessons and spending more time in God’s Holy Word, can change our perspective.

The Apostle Paul deals with the issue of our responding to our conscience in addressing an issue with another brother or sister in Romans 14, as it relates to food issues, yet the principle remains the same in essence for a number of issues, namely that we are not to unnecessarily put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s or sister’s way. One of the favourite things Christians like to do is to try to change the reasoning of each other. In Romans 14 Paul says we should not endeavour to change one another to suit our preferences, but instead we should change our conduct so as not to offend the weaker brother. Verses 1-12 deal with our responsibility to respect the convictions of one another rather than to revise them. Verses 13-23 instruct us to refrain from exercising our own liberties when they will harm another Christian. To be candid with you, this is a practice that we do not always submit to.

The key consideration of course is to determine what is necessary and what is not necessary, or in other words, what we can overlook and what we cannot overlook. When it comes to issues of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and deviations which detract from the true Gospel, there is no room for compromise. The Apostle Paul makes this abundantly clear in Galatians 1:8.

So then the question is, what constitutes or is incorporated or contained within the Gospel of Jesus Christ? I would submit that the following Scriptures and a summary of the Gospel, as articulated by Paul Washer, plus an overview as provided by got, be considered as a partial answer to that question.

1 Cor 15:1-6, Rom 1:1-6, Rom 1:16-17

Quoted from Paul Washer’s book “The Gospel Call and True Conversion”, page viii:

In accordance with the Father’s good pleasure, the eternal Son, who is equal with the Father and is the exact representation of His nature, willingly left the glory of heaven, was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin, and was born the God-man: Jesus of Nazareth.  As a man, He walked on this earth in perfect obedience to the law of God. In the fullness of time, man rejected and crucified Him. On the cross, He bore man’s sin, suffered God’s wrath, and died in man’s place. On the third day, God raised Him from the dead. This resurrection is the divine declaration that the Father has accepted His Son’s death, as a sacrifice for sin. Jesus paid the penalty for man’s disobedience, satisfied the demands of justice, and appeased the wrath of God.  Forty days after the resurrection, the Son of God ascended into the heavens, sat down at the right hand of the Father, and was given glory, honor, and dominion over all. There, in the presence of God, He represents His people and makes requests to God on their behalf. All who acknowledge their sinful, helpless state and throw themselves upon Christ, God will fully pardon, declare righteous, and reconcile unto Himself.  This is the gospel of God and of Jesus Christ, His Son.

I acknowledge that I still haven’t finely tuned what I would include within the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but I would strongly suspect it would, of necessity, have to include the vast majority of the above.

Doctrines that call into question the divinity and sufficiency of Jesus Christ, would of necessity, have to be addressed.
Doctrines that call into question the articles of faith as articulated within the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which would include the five solas, would of necessity, have to be addressed.

These necessities; are in my mind, the basic requirements that we all have as Christians. To advocate the teachings of any individual or organization which violates these basic requirements; is to foster their false teachings, rather than correct them. Will it cause division? Most assuredly, but it is necessary division versus unnecessary division, and there is a difference.

I look forward to receiving your thoughts.

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!


  1. I also used to have a tendency to think that my reasoning was the correct reasoning, end of story, nothing else to discuss here. And I unfortunately used to blog with that firm belief in the past. But as I’ve read over Scripture repeatedly, verses such as the ones you’ve shared, I’ve become less combative. I would like to believe I’m a bit wiser about what topics are worth bringing up with a Christian sister (or brother) and which topics can be “let go,” and also what influence my behavior has on others. Thanks for sharing about the five solas. I never knew there was a name for that 🙂 Hope you and yours have a great week!

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    • My pleasure, Yari. There’s definitely a bit of a learning curve involved with voicing disagreements. When, what and how we say something, if required, gets refined over time. I’ve learned the hard way that how we say what we wish to convey, a lot of times, directly affects how it is received. Think as non-offensive as possible and it usually works out much better. Blessings!

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  2. This is an important subject, Bruce. Thanks for addressing it.
    Discerning what’s vital and what isn’t takes great wisdom. Fortunately, we are promised wisdom if we ask for it (James 1:5), and I believe that includes wisdom regarding the right time to confront the issue and the right words to use.


  3. Bruce, as one who also blogs quite a bit on discernment and apologetics questions, I enjoyed the ponderings. I have seen some Christians draw deep lines in the sand over what are no better than tertiary beliefs/practices while on the other hand and I have seen many Christians (including leaders) who easily accept teachers/institutions that propagate beliefs contradicting all five of the solas. Shining a light on heresy and compromise with heresy (discernment ministry) is a difficult endeavor that requires God’s grace and wisdom and the use of different approaches depending upon the circumstances.

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  4. There are so many false teachings floating around today that it’s hard to know which ones to take a stand on. What do you think about listening prayer or contemplative prayer? I think this is clearly a New Age mystical practice, but would you consider it something to remain neutral on when it may open a door to occult practices?


    • Haven’t really looked at it, Cindy but what I normally do is check the background on the individuals who provide the content. I noticed that Francis Chan is there and he works with NAR, so that would not be a good indication from my perspective. Like Tim Challis advocates, test everything, but not many can be bothered. Hope that helps!

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