A helpful grid for thinking about how to disagree

clarityI was reminded yesterday of this helpful little grid which aids us when considering the things we disagree about, and how to go about it. The bottom right corner is stuff that’s clear but not tremendously important – i.e. where did Paul get his haircut – hopefully nothing to fight about here. Bottom left is stuff that is unclear and unimportant – i.e. is the ‘eye of a needle’ an actual gate or a metaphor – doesn’t really matter; point is the same – don’t start a fight over this one. Top left is stuff that is important but not all together clear. For example issues around church polity, charismatic gifts, or proper administration of the sacraments are all important issues and we should have a view. But church history teaches us that good and godly men have disagreed over these things so we should be humble, teachable, and charitable as we talk and engage those with whom we disagree. Top right are things which are clear and important – i.e. the deity of Christ – such things are sufficiently plain in Scripture that should someone disagree we need to be gentle but firm concerning the clarity and importance of such doctrines. So, next time your at homegroup, and the red mist descends think about the issue at hand – it’s clarity and importance – and respond in an appropriate and godly way.

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