J. Gordon Duncan

Culture, Business, Fitness, Etc.

The L Y Life – How To Love and Fight

I used to have this truth meter and if I was speaking with someone and I heard them say something I disagreed with biblically, I would pounce.  Essentially, if I couldn’t change their mind with a quick, slightly sharp response, it was go time for a theological debate.

There were times that I shamed the name of Christ in this and lost several friends this way.

Now, when faced with theological error, I have a couple of questions I ask myself.  I think when should I address this topic and how should I address this topic?  Not every biblical disagreement has to be addressed at the moment.  So I encourage you to ask these questions:

Is their biblical error causing them harm in their day to day life?

If it is, then address it immediately.  For instance, if I’m sitting at the coffee shop and someone tells me that they live in constant fear because they are afraid that God is going to take their salvation from them and send them to hell.  I think that is pretty important as their misunderstanding of the secure work of Jesus Christ is causing them day to day anguish.

The next question is how to address it.

Typically I ask folks why they feel the way they do, and in this case, I would ask them what scriptures have informed their opinion?  When they tell me, and this kicker, I ask them if it is okay if I gave them a few other scriptures to consider.  Then we can have a peaceful exchange about something in which we disagree.  But not every theological issue needs to be addressed at the moment.  Typically issues like the people’s view of the end times, whether King Saul was saved, how Samson tied 100 fox tails together, and a host of other topics, really can wait.

We should always humbly ask if we should contribute our view on issues before engaging.  This is an act of love.  The overarching principle that we need to consider is this:

Does their supposed theological error lead them to sin or to despair?

If it does, then we should gently walk in those discussions remembering that we both can’t be right but we both can be wrong.  God and His scriptures alone is true.


March 4, 2010 Posted by | mission, missional, the ly life, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The L Y Life – Purpose Driven Strife

traffic jamHow often are the changes of our schedules the most frustrating moments of our day?  Do we handle the traffic well?  Do we handle the extra responsibility at work well?  How do we cope with someone needing something from us when we were planning on relaxing?

If you have children, your entire day is about managing the unexpected.  If contentment could be found in the surprises of our day, what kind of people would be?  I would guess we would be pretty attractive people as your boss, your neighbor, your spouse, and children would all wonder where such peace came from.

Jonathan Dodson in his book on Fight Clubs says this about the unexpected:

In contrast, the disciples in the New Testament often followed their Lord expecting unplanned change.  We, on the other hand, like to manage our lives in order to eliminate unplanned change.  We regulate everything through clocks, calendars, PDA’s, smart phones, routines, and rhythms.  When our planned course of action is disrupted, we frequently respond impatiently or angrily.  What if we began to expect unplanned change and to interpret as opportunity to rely on the Spirit?  Obstacles, challenges, and trials would take on a very different meaning.  Instead of becoming inconveniences and injustices, they could become an opportunity to rely on the Spirit to discern God’s will and purpose our circumstances.  The person cutting us off on the highway might become a reminder to fight sinful busyness or celebrate God’s protection.  When heading to coffee shop, we ask the Spirit to take us wherever God wants us to be and to whomever He might want us to see.  One very practical way we can be motivated by the Spirit in our discipleship is to expect unplanned change and respond to the Spirit in those circumstances.  For example:


  • Instead of getting angry or frustrated when unplanned things occur, ask the Spirit to show you his purposes in the circumstances.
  • Instead of just deciding which restaurant or coffee shop you want to go to, ask the Spirit to lead you.
  • Instead of jamming your calendar full of personal preferences, pray and ask the Spirit to guide you as you plan your week, month, or year.

Who would have thought that the unexpected might actually be an opportunity to be more attuned to God’s Spirit and His mission?  Sadly, we just want the unexpected to go away unless the unexpected is Ed McMahon (or whoever has taken his place) meeting us at the door with an oversized check.

Can you imagine the life of unexpectedness the disciples must have lived?  As soon as they thought they knew what town Jesus was going to, He went somewhere else.  As soon as they thought He would take over the throne, He marched to His death.  As soon as they thought practically anything, He surprised them.  The accounts in the Gospels are enough to show that they rarely had any idea where Jesus was taking them.  Yet, they declared, “Where else are we to go?  You alone have the words of life” (John 6:68).

So, the Spirit leads us where we don’t expect because the Spirit is sent from the very throne of God to guide us where God would have us and where God would have us is ultimately about where God will receive glory.



October 1, 2009 Posted by | the ly life, training men, Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment