RC Sproul On Controversy

Theology breeds controversy, no question about it. Whenever theology is studied,arguments inevitably follow.

…Yet Controversy accompanies theological commitment. John Stott, in a book titled Christ the Controversialist, stated what should be obvious to anyone who reads the Bible-Jesus’ life was a storm of controversy. The apostles, like the prophets before them, could hardly go a day without controversy. Paul said that he debated daily in the marketplace. To avoid controversy is to avoid Christ. We can have peace, but it is a servile and carnal peace where truth is slain in the streets.

We are called to avoid godless controversies. We are called to godly controversies. One positive aspect of Christian controversy is that Christians tend to argue with each other about theology because they understand that truth, especially theological truth, is of eternal consequence. Passions rise because the stakes are so high.

Often godless controversies arise, not because the combatants know too much theology, but because they know too little. They fail to discern the difference between weighty matters of dispute and minor points that should never serve to divide us. We have another maxim: “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” It is the immature student of theology who is the nit picker. It is the half-trained theologian who is brittle and quarrelsome. The more one masters the study of theology, the more on is able to discern what issues are negotiable and tolerable and what issues demand that we contend with all our might.*

RC Sproul, Essential Truths Of The Christian Faith (Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers, 1992), p.xvii-xviii

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