Doctrine of “We Must Agree to Disagree”
By: Bob Boyett
The doctrine of “We Must Agree to Disagree” (WMATD) can best be explained by the following story.
Let me introduce Pastor Holy Harry, Larry Layman and his lovely wife Lucy Layman. The Layman’s came to their Pastor to discuss the subject of WMATD, which was brought up in their Sunday School Class. You see, the Layman’s follow the actions of the Bereans. Acts 17:11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. So, lets now follow their discussion.
Pastor, hello Larry, my Lucy your looking mighty fine today.
Layman’s, hello Pastor and thank you, your so kind.
Larry Layman, you know my wife and I always go home after church and examine the scriptures to be sure what we heard is what the Bible says.
Pastor, yes, Larry that’s an exemplary Christian trait.
Larry Layman, well Pastor, there were two views presented in Sunday School about the “Doctrine of Salvation.” One view was “Once Saved Always Saved” (OSAS) just how you have taught. The other view basically stated a person could lose their salvation.
Lucy Layman, we did in fact find verses that supported both sides. For instance:
In support of OSAS – John 10:28-30 (NIV) 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
For loosing Salvation – Rev 3:5 (KJV) He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Lucy Layman, that verse begs the question, can a believer lose his/her salvation or be erased from the book of life if he/she does not overcome? Which, appears to contradict John 5:24 and Ephesians 2:8-9 which seems appear to view everlasting life as a free and secure gift. Or, does it mean that a believer who is truly saved will automatically produce good works and overcome? This seems to contradict Romans 6-7 which views that Christian walk as a struggle and a choice that every believer must make for himself.
Larry Layman, you’ve always stated that there are no contradictions in the Bible; because, God is not the author of confusion, is that not correct?
Holy Harry, yes, first let me state a verse from the Bible.
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV) 8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Holy Harry, you see, what you have here is a subject under the heading of “The Mysteries of the Bible”. So, some things we won’t fully understand till we get to heaven.
Holy Harry, God says we are not to argue over scripture:
2 Tim 2:14 (NLT) Tell your people about these things again. In the name of the Lord, tell them not to argue over words that are not important. It helps no one and it hurts the faith of those who are listening.
Larry layman, well then, how do we solve it?
Holy Harry, by the Doctrine of “We Must Agree to Disagree” Sometimes, you are just going to have to leave it to the Holy Spirit.
Lucy Layman, but, Pastor that is OK if you live a life as though you can lose your salvation like a person’s faith producing good works such as: repentance and obedience. But, if all a person did was say the sinner’s prayer and believe in Once Saved Always Saved just as you teach and your wrong that would be a horrible eternal mistake! There must be a better solution than We Must Agree to Disagree!
Well folks this author is here to tell you there is a better solution. It is described in
2 Tim 2:15 (NLT) Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.
You see, the “We Must Agree to Disagree” is a direct lie out of the mouth of Satan as it is against 2 Tim 2:15. It is actually a product of the lukewarm church; you could say it is their corner stone. What better way could Satan use to keep people from discovering the truth than simply causing strife with multiple interpretations and convincing people to go their separate ways from fear of arguing. It’s better to split the church and go our separate ways than to argue. Any military leader can tell you the first rule for defeating your enemy is “divide and conquer”. Satan is a master warrior. He will divide your marriage, your friends and your church if you let him.
Please be aware, some will support their view of WMATD by quoting Acts15, which describes an argument between Barnabas and Paul over whether they should take Mark on a trip with them. This is not a disagreement in the interpretation of God’s Word, which should be handled according to 2 Tim 2:15.
If God’s Word is not interpreted in harmony with the whole Bible then we are going to choke on it trying to obey the commands of Jesus
Mat 4:4 (NLT) But Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word, that comes from the mouth of God.'”
Deu 8:3 (NLT) Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.
How can we live in accordance with God’s Word if we don’t rightfully interpret His Word? The church has become weak and lukewarm for not obeying when it comes to rightfully dividing God’s Word.
The first rule of scripture interpretation is taking a verse keeping it in harmony with the verse before and after it, followed by harmony with the chapter, followed by the Book and finally by the whole Bible. If a preacher’s, teacher’s, commentary’s or Bible notes’s interpretation of a portion of scripture violates any of those stated; it’s a misinterpretation and if a doctrine is based on that verse and similar versus then it’s a false doctrine. If a congregation in Christ cannot bring together many of the doctrines that are taught today with multiple interpretations then it is part of the lukewarm church.
Rev 3:15-17 (NIV) 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
What is a sign your church is lukewarm, they believe and teach a doctrine that has more than one interpretation, such as “once Saved Always Saved”. If you don’t want to be spat out of the mouth of Jesus along with the rest of your lukewarm church, may I suggest you become a Berean!