What is the Difference between Debate and Reasoning? Is Debate Christian?


The Debater

Christian debate is an oxymoron. A debater seeks to win an argument by posting as much as he can without really hearing what the other person is saying nor responding to thechristian debate other persons comments. They usually try to stack up a bunch of quotes or scriptures against you in an attempt to be the WINNER in their STRIVING.  They feel that after ignoring what you’ve said and pasting their quotes they have TRUMPED you and EUCHRED you and WON.

The debater is always ready to speak and he is waiting for his opportunity to pounce his opponent into the ground and normally is ready to bring up something different and usually when the person trying to reason with him is trying to bring something to his attention, his attention is focused on what he is going to say next rather than hearing what this person is saying.

Isa 58:4  Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.

The Reasoner

The person who is reasoning will listen to the other persons comments and he will hear what that person is saying and rather than trying to WIN an argument he seeks to understand that person and to answer that person according to what they are sharing with them rather than putting out a ton of information in an effort to confound everyone and show everyone how GREAT he is.

Php 2:3  Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

In other words a debater is in a competition which is of the devil, they seek vainglory in their strivings they seek to be like the most high, they seek to WIN.   A reasoner is someone who listens and serves and seeks to be a lowly servant like Jesus Christ. There is a BIG DIFFERENCE and every Christian needs to understand it.  Let’s look at some scriptures.

Was Paul a Debater or a reasoner?

Act 17:2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days REASONED with them out of the scriptures,

Some today would accuse Paul of being a debater if they saw him go unto them and REASONED with them. They would think Jesus was DEBATING because they don’t know the difference. They think that debate and reasoning are the same thing. Debate is completely evil.

Here is what Jesus did…Some today not knowing the difference might call this debate.

Jesus heard and asked Questions

Luk 2:46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
Luk 2:47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.

The debater doesn’t hear and ask questions, he only seeks to put out his opinion, and he does not reach the heart of the hearer by these means. He seeks to WIN the argument, and the means used sometimes involve dishonesty and willful ignorance of what others have brought to his attention.  A quote or scripture may have been brought to his attention and a question with it.  The debater will normally ignore the question which was meant to help reason the issue out.

If we see a debater, what is our counsel? 

2Ti 2:14  Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.
2Ti 2:15  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2Ti 2:16  But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

What Paul is saying in other words is don’t try to WIN the debate.   If the person is not going to REASON, and will not hear anyone, then let them be.  Otherwise it just leads to more ungodliness.   We have to be careful however not to go to the other extreme and say that the person who is trying to reason with you is striving and using profane and vain babblings.

If there is open-mindedness and that person is seeking to understand where you are coming from, then you should be willing to give an answer with HUMILITY and RESPECT. 

1Pe 3:15  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
1Pe 3:16  Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

Some might falsely accuse your good conversation and answering, as well as your reason with another brother of being debate.  However, if we understand these principles we can explain how God has called us to give an answer to others in humility and respect without striving to win, or for vain glory.

We are called to be lowly servants. 

2Ti 2:23  But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
2Ti 2:24  And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
2Ti 2:25  In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

Again, instructing others in meekness or humility, or lowliness, rather than trying to be like the most high.   Are we patient with others who are unlearned but yet not asking foolish questions, but good questions?  We are to give an answer, avoiding foolish questions such as joking questions or strife and fighting regarding the law.  It’s not saying we cannot reason together.  It’s saying “don’t be a joker, or a fool”.

Eph 4:29  Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Eph 5:4  Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

Debaters also have many other characteristics contrary to the Holy Spirit.  Debaters don’t hear others.

Rom 1:29  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

Fruit of the Spirit

You’ll notice the fruit of the Spirit in contrast to the lusts of the flesh.

Gal 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Gal 5:23  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

God is longsuffering with us, he hears us.  He is merciful to us, he doesn’t seek to condemn us, but to save us.  He is patient with us, teaching us by his word, hearing us then answering us. He wants to save us from ourselves and has done all that he can to do so.  Is this our Spirit? Are we humble?  Are we gentle?  Are we longsuffering?  Are we patient with our erring brother?  Would we die for that person we are talking to?  He did.  Is this Spirit in you?

Gal 5:25  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Gal 5:26  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Are you seeking to WIN?  Are you looking for vain glory?  Are you someone who says “I don’t really care who I offend?”  Is your goal to win a debate about the law, or whatever doctrine you feel you are right on?  Are you trying to show others that you know more then them, trying to EXALT yourself rather than show the character of God and his Spirit and the gospel of God’s love in giving his only begotten Son?

Strife a fruit of the Flesh

Gal 5:19  Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

Gal 5:20  Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

Gal 5:21  Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Are you WINNING?  Not if you don’t have Christ in you.  Not if you don’t inherit the Kingdom of God.    THEREFORE:

Php 2:3  Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

Php 2:4  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Php 2:5  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Php 2:6  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

Php 2:7  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

Php 2:8  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

There was no STRIVING to WIN in this man.  This man who was in the form of the most high, took upon himself the form of the most low.   How about you?  Is this mind in you?  Are you willing to go to the cross for the sinner?  We’re not here to be the WINNER.  Competition is the devil’s tool.

Or is this mind in you?

Isa 14:12  How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

Isa 14:13  For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

Isa 14:14  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

Seeking to be like the most high, striving to win or for vainglory in debating, you will end up like the most low.

Mat 23:11  But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.

Mat 23:12  And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

Isa 1:18  Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Faith and Law

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