Quarrelsome people stir up strife because, already knowing everything, they have no need to listen, learn, or ask questions. Hit close to home? Look to Christ. He has the power to change us and has made provision to forgive. By the death of the Prince of Peace we can be at peace with God and at peace with one another.
Quarrels don’t just happen. People make them happen.
Of course, there are honest disagreements and agree-to-disagree propositions, but that’s not what the Bible means by quarreling. Quarrels, at least in Proverbs, are unnecessary arguments, the kind that honorable men stay away from (Prov. 17:14; 20:3). And elders too (1 Tim. 3). These fights aren’t the product of a loving rebuke or a principled conviction. These quarrels arise because people are quarrelsome.
So what does a quarrelsome person look like? What are his (or her) distinguishing marks? Here are twelve possibilities.
You might be a quarrelsome person if…
- You defend every conviction with the same degree of intensity. There are no secondary or tertiary issues. Everything is primary. You’ve never met a hill you wouldn’t die on.
- You are quick to speak and slow to listen. You rarely ask questions and when you do it is to accuse or to continue prosecuting your case. You are not looking to learn, you are looking to defend, dominate, and destroy.
- Your only model for ministry and faithfulness is the showdown with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. Or the only Jesus you like is the Jesus who cleared the money changers from the temple. Those are real examples in Scripture. But the Bible is a book, and sarcasm and whips are not the normal method of personal engagement.
- You are incapable of seeing nuances, and you do not believe in qualifying statements. Everything in life is black and white without any gray.
- You never give the benefit of the doubt. You do not try to read arguments in context. You put the worst possible construct on other’s motives, and when there is a less flattering interpretation you go for that one.
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By Andrew Branch and Rosaria Butterfield — 1 month ago
This is about Truth. This is about God’s law and gospel, which calls school board members to repentance—not just in their personal lives but also in their offices. Civil servants are to repent in their offices because of Christ and His office.
Editor’s Note: This is a descriptive essay to help Christians to understand what is happening in our public schools and how to do something constructive about it at the school board level. The authors have included a link to the Wake County School Board meeting they attended near the end of this article. It begins with Andrew’s comments and Rosaria’s pick up at 1:25:25. The meeting opened with reverent silence and ended in plaintive wails and heaving sobs.
No, this was not the funeral of a dignitary.
This was a school board meeting in Durham, North Carolina, where residents shared opinions about a newly passed parental rights law. The new state law prohibits the county school system’s current posture of concealing a child’s transgender identity from parents.
And tonight, the only place we heard the word “perverted” was from a school board member—about Christians.
The Triangle Reformation Banner & Record
Our journey to that night in Durham began months earlier as Andrew learned firsthand that local votes addressing the foundation of reality could come up without much warning. An ordinance that bans you from acting as if male and female are real distinctions is no longer controversial enough to make headlines. Andrew realized if you want to know what’s being discussed, you have to read the local agendas yourself.
So Andrew messed around with a free version of WordPress to make accessing local government agendas and public comment rules less daunting. The Triangle Reformation Banner & Record exists to “facilitate Reformed Christian awareness and witness to the civil magistrate.” How can a family stay in the loop of the town council, county commission, and school board in an age when the very definitions of “male” and “female” are now political? Could such a website be a diaconal tool facilitating Christians to proclaim the gospel to the civil magistrate? We began to talk about what he was learning.
In May, Kent Butterfield, pastor of First Reformed Presbyterian Church of Durham, Rosaria, and Andrew prepared speeches to testify before the state legislature in defense of bills that took the LGBTQ+ lobby head-on. When those bills became law in August—including a parental rights measure—Andrew surmised that upcoming local school board meetings could be a spiritual battlefield.
What if Christians went?
Durham Public Schools Board of Education Monthly Meeting, August 24, 2023
In a room bursting with rainbow pride, we prepared speeches to deliver to the monthly school board meeting. We signed up on a sheet of notebook paper held to a clipboard on the front table.
The meeting opened with a moment of silence for those “targeted” by the state legislature’s actions.
The first speech supported LGBTQ values and spoke against parental rights, thanking the public schools for the emotionally healthy queer children they are churning out. The supportive crowd cheered, clapped, and celebrated being on the right side of history. Later, a man with the pronouns “he” and “they” reiterated his defiant rejection of the law and celebrated the Biden administration’s support of “transgender girls” (boys) playing sports with girls as part of Title IX. All of these speakers were in uniform agreement on a matter that requires a giant leap of faith: that there is such a thing as a “trans kid.” In truth, the “trans kid” is an invention of an evil age.
Rosaria was called up.
She shared her history as a retired, tenured professor of English, Women’s Studies, and Queer Theory from Syracuse University. She told the room that she lived as a lesbian activist for a decade and understood this community’s challenges. To all of this, the school board nodded and smiled. But when she shared that, no longer a lesbian, she was grateful she made no irreparable medical decisions that caused harm to her physical body during her decade of lesbian confusion, a sense of tension—and opposition—rose from the board and audience.
Rosaria explained that children who experience either the medical condition of gender dysphoria or the ideological, social contagion of transgenderism need guidance from their parents—the people who know them best, love them most and can help them heal. She said the transgender movement’s rejection of the stable biological categories of male and female renders it junk science.
When she said, “junk science,” someone gasped.
When the red light on the podium flashed, indicating her time was up, she left the podium and returned to her seat. The rainbow room looked grey, like they were all seasick. The LGBTQ+ movement demands affirmation. Betrayal from one of its own is too much to bear.
By Mike Ratliff — 4 months ago
The way unto life is not wide nor is it open to all forms of interpretation. There is only one way and that is through the narrow gate which sends us down the strait and narrow way which leads to life. What this means to our 21st Century minds, which are way too sophisticated (tongue in cheek) for the simplicity of the gospel way, is that we are in for a huge battle if we obey our Lord by walking the narrow path. This battle will bring sorrow and persecution because it is against the ways of the world and flies in the face of the form of Christianity that is predominate in our time.
14 You are My friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would abide, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. 17 This I command you, that you love one another.18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. John 15:14-19 (LSB)
I have been reading through the book of Acts over the last few weeks. It is very interesting to see the spread of Christianity as the Apostles obediently made disciples wherever they went. This spread was always accompanied by persecution. The hotter the persecution the more encouraged the brethren became. While that is not logical to the fallen mind, that is exactly how God grew His church. In the early 2nd century the bishop of Smyrna, Polycarp who was a disciple of the Apostle John, was brought to the Roman authorities and ordered to confess that Caesar is lord. Polycarp was eighty-six years old at this point. All he had to do was utter that statement as he offered a pinch of incense to Caesar, but he refused. He was martyred by fire.
What we must never forget when looking at these things that the result of Polycarp’s martyrdom, for instance, was that through it Christians who witnessed his stand were inspired to remain faithful. Again, this is illogical to the fallen mind, but my brethren, we must never forget that God’s ways are not our ways.
Let it not make thee despair neither yet discourage thee O reader, that it is forbidden thee in pain of life and goods or that it is made breaking of the King’s peace or treason unto His Highness to read the word of thy soul’s health. But much rather be bold in the Lord and comfort thy soul. Forasmuch as thou art pure and has an evident token through such persecution that it is the true word of God. Which word is ever hated of the world, neither was ever without persecution (as thou seest in all the stories of the Bible both of the New Testament and also of the Old) neither can be, no more than the sun can without his light. And forasmuch as contrarywise thou art sure that the Pope’s doctrine is not of God which (as thou seest) is so agreeable unto the world, and is so received of the world or which rather so receiveth the world and the pleasures of the world, and seeketh nothing but the possessions of the world, and authority in the world, and to bear a rule in the world, and persecuteth the word of God, and with all wiliness driveth the people from it, and with false and sophistical reasons maketh them afeared of it: yea curseth them and excommunicateth them, and bringeth them in belief that they be damned, if they look on it, and that is but doctrine to deceive men, and moveth the blind powers of the world to slay with fire, water, and sword all that cleave unto it. For the world loveth that which is his, and hateth that which is chosen out of the world to serve God in the spirit. As Christ saith to his disciples (John 15) if ye were of the world, the world would love his own. But I have chosen you out of the world and therefore the world hateth you.1
Knowing this, how is it that the Christian leaders in our time pursue just the opposite? What I mean is that the Bible clearly teaches and men such as Luther, Tyndale, Calvin, Knox, Owen, Edwards, et cetera affirmed that the Gospel is narrow in focus. It is not broad. The door unto salvation is not wide nor is it easy to find. Our Lord Himself said that few find it. These few are those chosen out of the world by God Himself (see the passage I placed at the top of this post).
By Ben Davis — 11 months ago
When the scribes and Pharisees brought the woman before Jesus and accused her of committing adultery, there were no eyewitnesses to act, evident by Jesus’ response: “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” This was not Jesus’ effort to dismiss or lower the standard of the Law, but to maintain it. The very next verse in Deuteronomy 17 stipulates that the first stone to be hurled is to come from the hand of those who testified as witnesses to the act.
What is the relationship between Christians and the Law of Moses? It is a question that dates back to the formation of the early church (Acts 15:24-29), but to this day, many believers still aren’t sure what they’re supposed to do with the first five books of the Bible. Often, they’re entirely avoided. Sometimes they’re treated like off milk that passed its expiration date with the coming of Jesus. Other times, they’re presented as cruel, harsh, and unforgiving rules, reflective of the barbaric and uncivilised era from which they emerged.
Whatever the case may be, portraying the Law as anything short of “holy, righteous, just, and good” is to present the Law in a way that is contrary to the New Testament (Rom. 7:12). Jesus, the Apostle Paul, and James all summed up the Law in a word: Love (Mk. 12:31; Rom. 13:9; Jam. 2:8; cf. Lev. 19:18). In other words, in the New Testament, “love” was not some arbitrary sense of affirmation or positive vibes. Love was a summary of God’s Law.
To love God “with all your heart, soul, and strength,” was to love him in accordance with the commandments he had given (Deut. 6:4-5; 10:12-13). To love your neighbour as yourself, was to treat your neighbour the way in which God prescribed in his statutes, and to do so from the heart (Lev. 19:18-19). To relax even one of the least of the commandments was to love God and man less than God required (Matt. 5:19). It was to act presumptuously by elevating yourself to the level of the Law Giver. In fact, the preservation of love was so important in Israel that violations were regarded as a crime punishable by death (Deut. 17:12-13).
It is at this point that many modern Christians recoil. The Law required capital punishment for sins that our culture does not. And sometimes, it demanded death for sins that our culture celebrates. To affirm the Law as “love” is perhaps the most counter-cultural thing you can do. It could cost you your family and friends, your career, and in some instances, your freedom. Wouldn’t it be easier, for the self-preserving Christian, to pretend God’s Law was no longer relevant? To opt rather for a definition of “love” that’s defined more so by current social sentiments than by Scripture? After all, didn’t Jesus dismiss the harsh demands of the Law for the higher road of compassion and forgiveness? That is what we’re told.
It’s rare that the subject of God’s Law and it’s relevance today is discussed without someone making an appeal to John 8:3-11. The incident of the woman caught in adultery is often raised as evidence that Jesus disobeyed the Law demanding death to establish a new “Law of Love” that operates, at times, contrary to the Law. Arguments regarding the account’s placement in Scripture aside — let’s just assume it belongs here — a question worth considering is whether the incident demonstrates an example of Jesus, at best, lowering the standard of the Law, and at worst, directly violating it.
It’s an important question to consider, as our understanding of this will determine whether we believe Jesus transgressed God’s Law, thereby sinning, and consequently rendering himself an unfit sacrificial substitute for our sins (1 Jn. 3:4; Heb. 9:14). Of course, this would be at odds with the witness of the New Testament which tells us that Jesus, who was born under the Law (Gal. 4:4-5), never transgressed the Law, nor could he be found guilty of any sin (Jn. 8:46). This is a claim that the Apostles also reaffirm in the epistles (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 Jn. 3:5). So, if Jesus did not sin, then he did not transgress the Law. How then do we make sense of his interaction with the woman caught in adultery?
The fact that Jesus never sinned by transgressing the Law is highlighted by the scribes and the Pharisees who were “searching for a charge that they could bring against him.” In John 8:6, we’re told that Jesus’ opponents wanted to put him to the test. So, they brought before him a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. The scribes and Pharisees then said to Jesus, according to the Law, “Moses commanded us to stone such women. So, what do you say?” The scribes and Pharisees were appealing to Leviticus 20:10, which states: “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.”
The scribes and Pharisees were setting a trap for Jesus. Under Roman rule, the Jews were not at liberty to put anyone to death (Jn. 18:31; Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 1.1; 7.2; Palestinian Talmud, Sanhedrin 41a). If Jesus upheld the Law of Moses, he would be violating the law of Rome.