Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants. (NLT)
In “doggy” terms there can be two types of Christians. Those who are bit like pit bull terriers trained to attack and destroy. And then there are those like big fluffy golden Labradors, content to be nice and friendly to all, much admired and causing no offense or concern.
There is no doubt that false teaching has to be opposed, but not in such a way as to cause us to hate those who embrace it or proclaim it. To be firm for biblical orthodoxy does not mean we become aggressive bullies. Our real enemy is the evil one, not the false teacher. How sad it is that some Christians are known for their strident opposition to what is false rather than for their sincere embrace of what is true.
Too many Christians who are biblically orthodox are very hard to get on with. They seem to be always interrogating you, ensuring you tick all the doctrinal boxes. They are wary of any language or thought that contains poetry or imagination. Their love of truth is outdone by their fear of error. They figure that anyone who disagrees with them is a false teacher.
When there is disagreement over matters of faith, we need to decide whether it is an issue worth debating at all. And if it is of that nature, then we decide to debate with courtesy and respect. Our aim, after all, is not to win an argument, but to win another true disciple of Jesus.