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Not Afraid of Controversy

Preaching the gospel means dealing with controversy. Jesus warned that the truth would separate people and cause division (Matthew 10:34-36). It cannot be helped — it is the nature of truth. Christians must abide in the spirit of Christ and “contend earnestly for the faith” (Jude 3).

Paul himself gave us a good example. In Galatians 2:11-14, he recollects a time when he came to Antioch and found Peter playing the hypocrite: “But when Peter came to Antioch, I withstood him to the face because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?” He did not run from controversy — he met it head-on, resolved the issue, and saved Peter and Barnabas from sin.

Too much of religion today is easy, fun, and non-offensive, but this is not the religion of Christ. As one can see with Paul, good can come from conflict. In the face of falsehood, it is time to “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth” (Ephesians 6:14). Please do not run from disagreement. Listen to the word of God. You may be saved because of your response to someone’s defense of the gospel.

Kyle Campbell

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