A couple of weeks ago I received an email from a fellow staff member who was distressed at watching a video that not only proclaimed a different way to do the ministry he oversaw but said the current way he was doing ministry was unbiblical. After watching the video I could see why he would be upset. However, instead of simply telling him what I thought of said video, I encouraged him to work through the following questions in order to truly interact well with what he’d seen and heard because how do you know if you’re right or wrong if you really don’t know why you’re right or wrong?
Here are the questions:
- What claims are they making?
- How do they defend those claims?
- Is their thinking sound – logically, biblically, etc.?
- How does their position interact with mine?
- How do I defend my claims?
- Is my thinking sound – logically, biblically, etc.? (for example, Does it grieve me because I know they’re wrong or because it contradicts what I currently do?)
- Where do I stand after interacting with all of this?
Far too often we merely get angry at a contrary opinion because it confronts all we’ve ever known about something. But that is not a good enough reason for our displeasure. Opposing ideas may expose our lack of discernment, shallow doctrinal depth, or (heaven forbid) our lemming-esque attachment to wrong ideas. That’s when facing a contradictory view is a good thing.
Working through these questions helps us think critically about what we’ve heard, what we know and what we need to do about it. I’m confident there are better questions to ask when confronted with contrary opinions/teachings, but I’m also confident not working through any will only leave many stunted and disadvantaged when it comes to engaging ideas of every shade.