God Don’t Need No Street Fighters: Contending or Contentious?

Contending is not synonymous with being contentious (Jude 1:3).

Being “for the faith” is not necessarily the same as always expressing our disdain “against” something/one.

It’s easy to get caught up in a theological witch-hunt.

For me, it’s kinda fun. Go to the archives of this blog, and I’m ashamed to say, you may find one or twenty examples.


Shooting the wolf and being the hero to the sheep is gratifying business. It’s like Call of Duty, but instead of Nazi Zombies we’re taking out heterodox super pastors. God and world needs us, right? Cause there’s a heretic or demon lurking behind every dark corner or pair of hipster glasses.

In some cases there may be.

But I don’t know if we are doing any service to the King who is sovereign by acting like the world is always spinning out of control. God’s truth will march on even if we don’t enlist as His elite team of orthodox freedom fighters. Narrow is the way and there are few who find it, but the grace of God is strong enough to push all manner of theological diversity through that impossible door.

Not heresy mind you. Diversity.

We shouldn’t make “the way” narrower by our pet traditions. Funneling everyone/thing out until we’re only surrounded by a couple of proud folks clinging only to their TULIPs. Or translation of the Bible. Or conspiracy theories. Or denomination (or non) of choice.

And some may say, “Well, Paul called people out…” He did. But what’s our fascination with calling people out? To show that we have some kind of inerrant apostolic insight others don’t? Paul was given a specific divine call to nurture and defend a sensitive movement that was in its utter infancy.

“But God gave me the gift of discernment.” He probably did. Instead of wielding that gift like a drunk Corinthian, why don’t we use that discernment to bathe the person in tearful intercession?

Instead of a drive by internet comment how about emailing the offending party? Take them to coffee? Get to know their story? Ask questions?

The whole doctrine of church discipline (that we ignore today) begins with a brother lovingly and personally confronting a fellow brother. Not a hasty blog rant submitted to the masses about another’s error.

I know some mega Christian leaders are out of our personal scope of contact. Sure, ice cream with the Pope is out of the question. And I’m definitely not saying we should never point or even publish some thoughtful contrarian words to certain movements/ministries. But the reactionary knee jerk potshots from self constructed towers of ivory should not be our staple message.

For example:

I’ve made about a thousand more snarky comments over Joel Osteen’s theology than one prayerful utterance over his ministry. Hypocritical I know. And because of my fallen flesh, I’ll probably be clowning his love for Oprah tomorrow.

Speak the truth. But lets not speak it until we know it’s seasoned with salt, grace, love, and a broken heart. Truth is powerful. It shouldn’t be thrown around in a fit of rage like a Ryu fireball.

Keep praying.

Keep weeping.

Keep contending.

Make Christ, who is “full of grace AND truth”, the center of it all (John 1:14)

Peace and grace and truth to you peeps,

Bryan Daniels

Author: Bryan Daniels

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Jessica, and a father of three boys: Josiah, Gideon and Judah. I teach high school math as a job, read reformed theology as a hobby, and write this blog just for kicks. With the rest of my time I coach football and track.

16 thoughts on “God Don’t Need No Street Fighters: Contending or Contentious?”

  1. Enjoyed reading and hearing your heart. God definitely gives us a personal touch … that’s how Jesus operated, so many examples of his 1:1 ministry; and yes, I agree that He was setting the example for us to do the same.
    He did have a money-changer table turn over day, but that was only one instance out of lots of others that were much less angry and much more compassionate.

    Thanks, Bryan.


  2. Because of my fallen flesh, sometimes I need the truth to be thrown around in a fit of rage like a fireball. I need to be slapped around every once in a while.

  3. None of us old rotten sinners are qualified but I thank God for preachers that aren’t afraid to take a stand and not give a rip about what people think and preach the entire counsel of God. No matter who it offends. Jesus said in Matthew 10:34 “Think not that I come to send peace on earth:I came not to send peace, but a sword.” That verse kills me everytime.

    1. I thank God for preachers who aren’t afraid to offend their constituency. For example: Any coward can hide behind a pulpit and speak out against homosexuality to a choir of Southern Baptists. What is he doing to lovingly and personally reach out to that group? That will bring a “sword” to his congregation more than anything…..

  4. I’m giving that five amens out of five. Well, 4.5. Why leave you no room for improvement? You bring up a point that often concerns me. It is so easy to post any sort of comment on the internet, that I think peoples inhibitions are loosened in the extreme. Folks swing a sword of criticism that they would never pick up if the person in question was standing in front of them. Maybe that’s something to consider.

  5. Hi Joel. I’m not being critical of anyone but myself. Maybe no one else needs a good kick in the pants these days, but I sure do.

  6. Thank you Bryan for this. God used it this morning to minister to me. Earlier this week I got into a discussion directly related to this topic. My thoughts were not well received and I actually came away feeling beaten, bruised and very judged because of my compassion and empathy and belief that we must be careful not to play God. At one point in the conversation I was bluntly told I have a problem with submission.

    That was a shock to hear as a 25 year stay-at-home mom who relies fully, respectfully and gratefully on the husband God has blessed me with. I hear your heart loud and clear.

    I think we have to remember that our enemy is the great deceiver and sadly he can take things that appear to be productive and use them to divide the body. I know I’m still learning every day so I have to trust that others are as well and we are all on God’s time-table.

    1. Thank you for sharing that, I am grateful God used it. I have a deep appreciation for stay at home moms, my wife is one! God bless you and yours and keep your head up! Peace and grace…

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