An Argumentative Theology

While theology does pertain to the mind, it is deeply rooted as a matter of the heart. When you meet someone with beliefs contrary to yours (and you will), recognize that their heart is what’s truly behind their thoughts, not their mind.

If they teach hatred, than hatred is what’s in their hearts. If they teach fear, their thoughts and actions toward God are motivated by fear. If their teachings make people cower before an angry God, then they do as well.

Having the ability to look past someone’s thoughts to their heart behind them gives you an advantage, friend. Not an intellectual advantage or an advantage in argument – those are never the goals. You have the advantage in being able to look past the bold, powerful-looking idea holding a gleaming sword ready for battle to the broken and bruised person behind it taking all the punches (for nobody really wins in a theological battle of ideas, one person just walks away bleeding less than the other). You get to ignore the armor-clad, trash-talking, fight-provoking idea and attend to the beaten child of God who thinks it will protect him.

Hearts are won in relationship, not war. Love is born of grace, not from law. Hurt children are brought back by the loving cries of a father, not angry demands of a lecturer. It’s true when your parents told you that the people who bully are often the ones most hurt. They’re also the ones most in need of your love.

Love with the same abundance with which you’ve been loved.

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