Author Alan Shlemon
Published on 07/30/2018
Christian Living

How to Discuss Controversial Issues in the Church

Alan shares 3 things to remember when discussing controversial issues with other Christians.


How do you engage another Christian in conversation about a topic that is controversial?

I like to answer that question by appealing to this maxim: In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity. In other words, we need to be unified around the essentials of the Christian faith.

For example, the deity of Christ, the Bible being the Word of God, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, salvation by grace alone through faith alone, and the physical return of Jesus Christ. These, if you will, constitute mere Christianity, and we should unify as Christians around these core teachings.

When it comes to non-essentials, however, like the method of baptism or the details of the end times, we need to give freedom for people or denominations to differ. After all, there will always be times that we see things differently, and that’s okay.

But that brings us to the final phrase in the maxim, and that is in all conversations, especially those on controversial topics, we should be gracious, kind, and charitable. In fact, the Bible is chock-full of admonitions for Christians to treat each other well. Jesus says, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” And the apostle Paul tells us to be completely humble and gentle. Be patient, bearing with one another in love. And I can go on and on talking about the importance that the Bible puts on how Christians are to treat one another.

So I would say, when you’re discussing a controversial topic with another Christian, it’s fine to offer your points, to state your reasons, and to even vigorously make your case. But always do it in a charitable manner as if you’re speaking to a fellow image-bearer of God, because you are.