You are hereCome now let us reason together

Come now let us reason together

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By Virgil - Posted on 07 March 2002

About a year ago I visited the grounds of the historic Chichamauga Battle Field in Fort Ogelthorpe, GA., and I was vividly reminded that change often doesn’t come easily. Fortunately our nation’s internal battle led to our present United States of America, but obviously at a great price.
When faced with a challenge to long held beliefs, there is a natural resistance to change, a tendency to dig in our heals and fight at all cost. This stanch stand can be good or bad dependent upon whether we are defending our own personal belief system, or just a system we have inherited that has never been put to the test.

The issue of the “timing” of the “second coming of Christ” has the potential to be a battle ground for sincere believers on all sides of this issue, but it need not be a battle. We are never worse off for looking again at long held beliefs to see if they pass the test of Scripture. Luther did it along with others of the Reformation period. Great men like Thomas and Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone of the Restoration movement did it.

These two stormy periods brought about positive change within the religious world. These great men were not out to force their opinions on anyone, but no one will question that they issued a challenge to long held beliefs. The challenge was simply to take a fresh look at the divinely inspired scripture.

To often differences over interpretation of Scripture result in bitter arguments. The discussion of these differences often turns into nothing more than personal attacks, and a galvanizing of previously held positions, rather than coming to grips with the issues.

God’s challenge to Israel was, “ Come now, and let us reason together”. God was not seeking mindless obedience. His desire was a reasoned understanding of His will for them.

“Reason” carries with it the idea of opening one’s self and honestly trying to see what has
led another to his or her present understanding. Reasoning can not take place when one is thinking of his next response while the other is still talking, nor judging the point of another before the evidence has even been presented.

In arguments there are winners and losers. In reasoning both sides win, for the victory is in understanding the other’s point of view, and then reasoning together for common ground that leads to a better understanding of truth. In an argument there is always a rebuttal that seeks a “one-up-man-ship” over the opponent. In reasoning there are questions for further clarification. There is the ability to state back to the person speaking, the understanding they have gained from what has been presented.

I am reminded of the presidential debates that took place before the last election. The big question after the debate was; “who won?” Attention was draw to how comfortable they looked, their facial expressions, etc., then finally, comments as to whether they actually got their points across to the public. Substance was not as much of an issue as showmanship and one’s debating skills.

I am a little concerned with some of the rhetoric being used to describe the manner in which we carry out our cause. Terms such as “battle”and “fight”, that are usually associated with a war, seem so out of place if our purpose is to help others have a greater
understanding of timeless truths.

These are exciting, but challenging times for the cause of Christ. Notice I did not say for the cause of Preterism. While we may be labeled as Preterist, that only describes our understanding, not our cause. As we engage in discussions, and reason with those who do not hold our position let us remember we were given “walking” orders in Eph. 4:1-3, not marching orders when dealing with the Body of Christ.

1 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called. 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

The New American Standard Bible, 1995 Update, (La Habra, California: The Lockman Foundation) 1996.

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