How to Disagree

Listen, Learn, and Respect

Have you ever started talking with another Christian about a theological topic, and realized they don’t share the same views as you? Disagreements are bound to pop up among Christians, so what’s the best way to handle them? Christian leaders and pastors Michael Horton, Tim Keller, and Matt Chandler discuss best practices for Christians to observe as they talk about theology with their friends.

Dr. Michael Horton is the founder of the White Horse Inn, a multi-media catalyst for reformation, is the editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine, and co-host of the White Horse Inn radio broadcast. Timothy Keller is the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. Matt Chandler serves as Lead Pastor of Teaching at The Village Church in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  

The speakers agreed that discussions over differing theological views best occur in the context of a close relationship. Friendship provides a good foundation and sense of respect. We can listen to our friend’s opinions, consider them, and counter with our argument in a civil, loving way. 

Do you agree that theological disagreements handled in the context of a relationship? Why or why not?
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When you disagree with another believer, what is your natural response? Anger? Silence? Debate? Why do you think you respond that way?
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Matt and Tim agreed that you should restate your opponent’s opinion out of respect for your friend. Has someone ever stated your position for you to demonstrate their understanding of your thoughts? If so, how did it impact the rest of the conversation and your attitude toward that person? What might it look like for you to do the same for a friend?
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The three speakers ended their conversation by talking about the internet. What stood out to you about what they said about the internet? Why? How has the internet influenced the way you engage in theological debates?
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What steps could you take toward applying the principles Michael, Matt, and Tim recommended as you engage in theological discussions this week?
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Disagreement does not give us license to be disrespectful to our friends. As you engage in theological discussions, strive to love the person you’re speaking with. Listen to them. Learn their position. Respect them.  

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