Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 25, 1968

Gendering Of Strife

Bob L. Dietrich

Paul told Timothy (II Tim. 2:23) - "But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strife's."

Among the many foolish and unlearned questions and statements that men make and ask are the following:

1. "Surely it is all right to drink a little wine — after all, Paul told Timothy to; and the Lord even created it for their guests at a wedding feast."

2. "Smoking is a sin"

On the one hand, some try to justify the practice of drinking alcoholic beverages; on the other, some try to condemn the practice of using tobacco.

My response to these statements and questions is:

1. Our Lord most assuredly DID NOT create an item for consumption by the wedding guests, the very consumption of which is a sin. However, it is a "vain striving about words..." (II Tim. 2:14), to try to convince someone of the truth of this matter by merely referring to the Greek, or to show that "wine" in English refers also to an UNFERMENTED drink. Since DRUNKARDS shall not inherit the Kingdom of God (I Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21); and NOT ONE PERSON ever became a drunkard without taking the FIRST drink; there is obviously only one safe course — DO NOT DRINK ANY INTOXICATING BEVERAGE.

2. It should be pointed out that whoever makes the statement, "Smoking is a sin"; is obligated to:

a. Prove it by the Scriptures;

b. Warn those who practice smoking (I Thess. 5:14; Matt. 18:15-17);

c. If they do not repent of their "evil deeds"; then d. Take witnesses and warn them again;

e. If they still will not repent -TELL IT TO THE CHURCH;

f. And if they will not hear the church;

g. WITHDRAW yourselves from "every brother that walketh disorderly" (II Thess. 3:6).

On the other hand, those who do not believe that such is sin, should receive their brother who is "weak in the faith", but not for controversy over individual scruples — matters of opinion (Rom. 14:1). If the one who believes that such is sin persists in being contentious, stirring up strife over the matter — warn them (I Thess. 5:14); instructing them that God will visit "indignation and wrath" upon all who are contentious (Rom. 2:8).

What if they are warned — admonished; and still continue to be contentious and stir up strife over the matter? "WITHDRAW yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly..." (II Thess. 3:6).

Brethren, will we not ever learn to keep strife down by keeping our OPINIONS between ourselves and God? (Rom. 14:22). Can't we permit our brothers and sisters LIBERTY in Christ; and STOP BITING AND EEVOURING ONE ANOTHER? (Gal. 5:13-15).

LIBERTY works both ways — one has liberty to believe that a thing is sinful, without forcing his conclusion on his brother; and another has the liberty to believe that the same thing is not sinful, again, without forcing his conclusion on his brother. (Rom. 14).

"Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us, to the glory of God." (Rom. 15:7). "...but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way..." (Rom. 14:13).

- 743 E. 25th Place. Yuma, Arizona 85364