The Christian Dilemma of Disagreement

Do you remember your first time? I do. A bet a lot of Christians do. There’s nothing like the first time, the one where you expose everything and… share a theological stance when—worst case scenario—the ear on the other side of the table disagrees with you.

Disagrees? Can Christians do that? Should Christians do that?

My First Time

I’ve gotten better, since my first time that is. I remember it well. I was in youth group, in high school, and the hot topic of teenage dating came up. I argued for it; he argued against it. I hated him. Well no, but he was the type of Christian who always seemed to think the opposite of what I was thinking. I’ve grown to cherish people like this—because, well, it seems that everyone disagrees with me these days—but back then, I couldn’t really handle it.

I remember feeling so caught off guard, I didn’t know what to do. One of us is right, I would think, which means God is against one of us—obviously, not me. 

Processing disagreement has less to do with spirituality and more to do with maturity. At some point we become adults and our emotions dwindle down a bit. We learn to listen and smile—even when we feel like calling someone Mr. Poopy Pants.

For some reason though, spiritual arguments exist on a different level. Our beliefs are very special to us. We’re allowed to have political arguments, sports arguments, American Idol arguments, but when we disagree over spiritual arguments, we take real offense.


The reason we take great offense to spiritual disagreements is because we associate God with our beliefs. If I’m wrong then God is wrong then there is no God. I would argue that this is not healthy; however, we have all done it.

I’ve had to learn this lesson many times over. I remember singing along to the mewithoutYou classic song, “Four Part Letter Pt. 2” where the singer yells, “We don’t want our beliefs, God of peace, we want you.” I would sing along and think I knew what that meant. Then I would get into an argument over salvation and walk away with my faith shaken.

If we are one body, if there is one God, if there is one truth, why are we disagreeing so much? 

Our beliefs are not God, but we associate God with our beliefs.

A Dull Stab

Since I chose (yes chose) the route of becoming a slightly left leaning, emergent apologetic Christian—I’m only labeling myself, which I hate doing, for the sake of this blog post—I’ve signed up for my fair share of disagreements. To make things worse, I also dislike the majority of whatever the church does these days. There are other things, but you get the point. I’ve signed myself up for a lot flak.

I’ve grown a pretty thick skin, and I’ve also matured a bit. At the end of the day, regarding our spirituality, we are all just taking stabs. Some use a duller knife than others, yes. But we are all just taking stabs.

There are few things the Bible maps out for us very clearly. Most topics in scripture, however, are meant for a life of meditation, reflection, conversation, and argumentation. We are not meant to have the answer to every question in our pocket, not yet at least.

Is there predestination? Are homosexuals allowed in Heaven? Is there even a Hell—in regards to how we currently think of it? Is church suppose to be how it currently is? And yes, have we made a mess of worship?

We may get the answer in Heaven; we may not care when we get there. What I’ve learned is that it’s okay to ask; it’s okay to argue; we should expect disagreement from one another. Argument proceeds understanding and develops our faith.

Listen, learn, and share what’s in your heart! Be mindful and understand that God speaks to other people as well. Also, you are allowed to be wrong. I do it all the time.

Questions to Argue

1. Have you ever had a spiritual argument that shook your faith?

2. Is there danger in equating God with beliefs (denomination, translation, political views, etc.)? Or should they be one in the same? Is that even possible?

3. If we learn to disagree—to listen and respond in grace—could the Body build a tighter bond?



  1. I would just like to add that this post was inspired by a conversation with a couple friends about how often people argue about faith but can’t seem to get past it. In regards to any of my previous posts, I’m continually impressed by the other WordPress bloggers who disagree but still comment with grace and wisdom. You guys are the best and this post in no way reflects you!

  2. Kev-I totally agree/disagree with some/none/all of what you’ve written here. We should get together soon for dinner and NOT talk about everything but religion and your lack of /over abundance it! 🙂

  3. Kevin, for over 200 years, people have been literally fighting over the true meaning of Christianity.There have been many arguments, and that is why so many different religious groups have split into their own domination. I think it is good to have our own opinion, because God shows each of us different things. The main thing is to keep your faith only in God, and not in people. Only try to please God because that is all that truly matters.

  4. I hate agreeing with you so strongly in a post about disagreeing, but you are right on. While I have since “seen the light” and moved beyond the heresy of my liberal professors, the one thing they taught me which I appreciate to this day was to engage in genuine dialogue, risking even a theological conversion in response to your opponents.

  5. It does take a thick skin. I think disagreements are normal and require maturity (and love). That being said, on any issue that the Bible actually takes a stand it must be where the Christian must turn to for answers. Obviously there are other things that are considerably more open to differing opinions/preferences.

    Over the years I’ve learned that some arguments are worth having, others aren’t. And there are people worth arguing with, and some who aren’t. You know what I mean?

    1. Julia, I was hoping this would come up in the comments; I completely agree! Some arguments are worth having, some aren’t. A lot of folks try to argue for the sake of getting a rise out of somebody. This happens a lot in the blog world, as I’m sure you know.

  6. I think Christians should be able to express different opinions to each other without being shamed or outcast by others in the church. There will never be a Christian that has all the right answers, so different opinions do help foster discussion on a large amount of topics. At no time in a Christian setting should a person be belittled for their opinion.

  7. Oops I typed too fast. let’s try again. First, thanks for the “Mr. Poppy Pants” video. That brings back memories!

    I remember being in Bible college and getting frustrated at others who did not hold my theological views. After all, I was a Biblical Studies major and knew Greek! What did they know. Man, what I thought I used to know! Over the years, however, I became ok with not knowing all the “answers.” I’m ok with disagreeing and value the conversation more than I ever have. That does not mean I do not have my convictions and think some issues are worthy of much consideration. I am just more concerned with relationships now then I am being right.

    Thanks for your post!

    1. Thank you for your comment. I’m glad SOMEBODY finally commented on the Mr. Poopy Pants. I recently watched those movies on Netflix. The first one holds up the best.

      I think knowledge can benefit more than it hinders, but if we’re not careful it can become unquenchable. Thanks for the comment and the follow! I look forward to getting to know you better.

  8. “Have you ever had a spiritual argument that shook your faith?”

    I remember a particular time during bible study when the pastor asked what the significance of a certain verse was. My answer met a “Well… No.” I wouldn’t say it shook my faith, but it made my confidence in my communication/relationship with God feel a wee bit wobbly. Because it’s the PASTOR, right? He’s the leader, right? He’s wise, and I’m naive! He must know the right answer, right? It was discouraging, and I really don’t believe either of us was wrong (or necessarily correct). I think we approach a lot of topics the wrong way. I think there may be more than one meaning or answer on lots of things, and speaking in absolutes isn’t always the way to go about it. And telling new (or old) believers “You are wrong!” definitely isn’t. It’s deeper than that.

  9. I remember my first argument….It was over whether or not culture (TV, music, literature, movies, etc.) should be utilized in the church. I was for it, and they were against it. Even though they could not use scripture to support their claims..,I could (Paul often quoted philosophers of the time to get the point of what he was saying across). However, they kept up their argument, often resulting in name-calling on their part.

    I think that arguing can be used for good…As long as both sides agree to remain mature about the whole thing. For instance, I am currently studying the Calvinism vs. Arminianism debate. I have some friends that hardcore Calvinists and others that are Arminianists. We often debate the topic back-and-forth, and yes, sometimes the arguments do get rather intense. But, once the arguing is over, all parties still maintain their dignity and respect for each other. All one has to do is look at (some) of the modern evangelical Pastors. Mark Driscoll and Matt Chandler are very strong in their Calvinistic beliefs, but the are very close friends with Steven Furtick and Perry Noble, who are Arminianists. They often debate subjects in the Elephant Room, but when everything is over, they are still friends.

    To answer your three questions, I would have to say:

    1). Yes. I was very committed Arminianist, but after listening to debates, asking questions, and searching scripture, I am not so sure anymore. I am still asking questions and seeking things out. Also, I was a Pentecostal, but after looking in the scripture and debating, I am a Charismatic (yes, there is a difference).

    2). I think that they should be separated until they conflict. Then, one should search the scripture and see what the Word says on such issues. Not everything is black-and-white.

    3). I think this comment responds to this question.

    I love your blog!

  10. I think arguing in the right manner is always helpful if done correctly. We all have little truths about the big picture but not all of them. So, we must learn to hash them out respectfully and stab ourselves more often than others. Not self mutilation or anything just the removing our own beam first more like. Interesting post

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