June 12, 2014

Praise God for Polemics

In the last week and a half, I've been involved in two different doctrinal disagreements. While I love teaching theology, writing about it, and talking it over with others, I do not relish doctrinal disagreements. Frankly, I often (not always, but often) would rather avoid controversy.

This has a lot to do with the fact that I have Asperger's Syndrome. This makes it hard for me to think on my feet. It's difficult for me to respond to unexpected questions or objections. I also have a hard time restating things in other words, making it hard to correct misunderstandings. Additionally, I tend to be unnecessarily blunt. I get distracted easily. I lose focus. I often (unknowingly) ignore details, which sometimes makes it hard to appreciate and respond appropriately to questions or arguments. Sometimes I become unnecessarily animated or excited, and, when I get excited, I often come across as angry or upset. As a high-functioning autistic, these are symptoms I deal with, to one degree or another, on a daily basis, but they are particularly evident during fast-paced, back-and-forth discussions. As much as I like to remain logical and dispassionate during disagreements, my symptoms make it very difficult.

Having said all that, I still thank God for theological disagreements. As frustrating as they might be in the moment, when all is said and done, I always have reason to thank God for them. They always sharpen my thinking. They always expose sin in my own heart and lead me to repentance. And they always help me to better appreciate brothers with whom I disagree.

Praise God for polemics.

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