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Bible: Disputable Matters


There are plenty of matters in the Bible that are not described well enough to prevent varying ideas of what they mean. People often fall back on this any time they see something from a different viewpoint than someone else. We should be careful not to inject our opinion as fact in these instances unless the facts support the position. The Ten Commandments are not disputable.


There are disputable matters in the Bible. These are matters where the Bible is unclear on the meaning or instructions on a particular topic.


Not everyone agrees on what the Bible means when it says something, but does that make it "disputable"?

Does this mean that you can make things up and be as right as the next guy or gal, or not? In keeping with the idea of honesty, let's find out what the word "disputable" means. Google Dictionary defines it like this


    adjective: disputable

    not established as a fact, and so open to question or debate.

    "whether it can be described as art criticism may be disputable"
synonyms: debatable, open to debate, open to discussion, arguable, contestable, moot, open to question, questionable, doubtful, dubious, controversial, contentious, disputed, contended, unconfirmed, unsettled, unsound;
    informal: iffy;
    informal: dodgy;
    rare: controvertible

    "some of these figures are disputable and some are out of date"

So, if there has been no clear rule set regarding a subject, leaving the matter open to debate, then the matter is disputable.

"OK, But what does that mean?"

Let's take a hypothetical look at an example. This will be a bit simplistic, but at least we will be looking at it the same way.

Will everyone be saved at the coming of Jesus? Although there is no number of saved given to us for those who will have eternal life, Jesus Himself indicated that the number will be fewer than the number who think they will be saved:

23 And someone said to Him, "Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?" And He said to them,
24 "Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.

25 "Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, 'Lord, open up to us!' then He will answer and say to you, 'I do not know where you are from.'

26 "Then you will begin to say, 'We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets';

27 and He will say, 'I tell you, I do not know where you are from; DEPART FROM ME, ALL YOU EVILDOERS.' 28 "In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out." (Luke 13:23-28 NASB)

A little more to the point is Matthew 7:21:

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."

So, if you believe that everyone will go to heaven, is that because the issue is "disputable"? If Jesus said it, I believe it - so NO!!, it's not disputable. Only those who do the will of the Father will enter. What is the will of the Father? Everthing that God has ever said. (Matthew 4:4
4Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.' "

) Look around and determine for yourself how many are doing that - including you and me. Now, grace will come in there somewhere, but we cannot determine where, or how much, so how much obedience is required to make it? I think that if you are trying, that will matter, but if anyone is saying that the word of God no longer matters (as in, "The law is done away"), then that person is in jeopardy if they do not change.

Some believe otherwise, anyway...

There are faith systems that call themselves Christian, or at least have people in their group who call themselves Christian, that do not accept the words of Jesus, preferring to go off on their own. In case you think this is fabrication, take a look at UU World, a site defining the view of the Unitarian Universalists (UU). They believe that everyone will be saved. In the words of the Midwest "Christian" pastor Rob Bell who wrote a book called Love Wins on the subject, to believe this causes the Christian community to say that you reject Jesus Himself:

The doctrine of universal salvation has been in the American religious news in recent years, primarily through the influence of a dynamic Christian evangelical pastor in the Midwest, Rob Bell. In his 2011 bestseller, Love Wins, he explains that he published it to combat the "misguided and toxic" belief that "a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better." Unfortunately, he says, "it's been clearly communicated to many that this belief is a central truth of the Christian faith and to reject it is, in essence, to reject Jesus."

"I believe in Jesus, but I disagree with His words..."

While I have not read Mr. Bell's book, the site is very explicit about the origin of the UU faith and will give you a very good idea of the group's beliefs. A good summary of the "Universal reconciliation" concept is found at Wikipedia in the opening paragraph of the article:

In Christian theology, universal reconciliation (also called universal salvation, Christian universalism, or in context simply universalism) is the doctrine that all sinful and alienated human souls - because of divine love and mercy - will ultimately be reconciled to God.

Here before you is evidence of "Christian" beliefs that contradict the words of Christ. How do you even do that?

"I believe in Jesus, mostly..."

There are many who claim to follow Jesus, but they balk when you remind them of the part of Matthew 7:21
21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."

that says "only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." Is the will of the Father what all Christians are following, or do they follow the modified, gentler, kinder, easier way to eternal life with no obedience required? Where can you find the will of the Father? Many say you only have to read the New Testament, but God expressed most of His will in the Old Testament, with examples of consequences for disobedience.

Not everyone will be there

Now, for those of you who think that "Love your neighbor" means that Jesus loves everyone (which He does) and loves them enough to overlook repeated voluntary disobedience, what does this passage in Matthew 7:21
21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."

mean to you? Remember the ten virgins? They all felt qualified, but only half of them made it.

Don't get me wrong, Jesus loves us all, but all the humans who ever lived are not going into the Kingdom of Heaven with Him. Look again at Luke 13:24
24"Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.

from above. There are differing opinions on what this verse even means. These people thought they were truly seeking and would be able to go in because of their tolerance and actions. Seeking means they are trying, like many, but many still won't make it because they are not following the real Jesus.

Look again...disputable?

There are some who see this as pertaining to only people who did not really believe in Jesus. Others say this is for those who believe in Jesus, but did not do what He said to do. We are only given the general guidance of the words of Jesus and the words written about Him. No one knows the number and no one even knows if they will be included inside the door with Jesus. This is one of those matters people call disputable. You can dispute some things as much as you want (Sabbath, Holidays, clean foods), but in the end God and Jesus will end the dispute with their will, not your opinion.

The dispute can range from "If you love Jesus, but still celebrate with pagan rituals, will you be inside the door?" to "If you don't speak in tongues, you will never make it!", "I can't see anything wrong with eating bacon!", and everywhere in between. Just because you disagree with obeying something God said does not make it disputable. If God made something clear and you disagree enough to disobey, well, I wouldn't want to be you on Judgment Day. There is a way to be sure, but few will read the Bible for what it actually tells us, so the disputes rage on.

Many opinions, are all of them right?

A real disputable matter is the meaning of Revelation 22:2
2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. (NIV)

with regard to the leaves that will be healing for the nations. Statements on this issue range from "This must be wrong, God has already made everything perfect by this time." to "This reference to leaves and fruit is all just symbolism for the love and preaching that the believers and evangelists are now doing." to "There is no need for food or healing because we will all be perfect, know everything, and require nothing at all in Heaven." to "Well, if the Muslims, Jews, and Christians are all there, and we all hate each other now, we will need some kind of healing to accept what God has decided." to "Since everyone but the most evil will be in Heaven, we will need to be healed to get rid of our hate." We are not told one way or the other, but I would be careful about making up your mind too quickly either way.

Does your opinion match the rest of the Bible?

The key to whether your interpretation of a disputable matter is valid is whether the rest of the Bible agrees with it. Here is where many listen to a pastor or friend and accept whatever is given them without checking. For example, many churches are now accepting openly practicing homosexual couples as both members and pastors. Their reasons vary, but center around one of the "two greatest commandments" that some have used to replace the ten commandments - "Love your neighbor as yourself".

Now it is understandable that these churches feel that we should love them, and I have some homosexual friends that I love dearly. However, there are at least two easily found passages in the Bible that clearly indicate that we should not allow them into our congregations if they are openly practicing. 1 Corinthians 5:1
1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father's wife. 2 And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this? 3 For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. 4 So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.

clearly says that blatant wrongdoing is unacceptable in the congregation, requires judgment, and orders immediate action for the good of that person. How do we know that homosexuality falls into this category of being wrong? Look at 1 Corinthians 6:9
Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men

. For those who think this is only for the males, see Romans 1:26-27
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.


The love of most have grown cold...

Disputable? More often than not, the matters that we see in many churches are not only not disputable but are actually outright condemned by God. Yet, most of today's "churches" have accepted practices that fly in the face of God's will and instructions. Easter, Christmas, Halloween, not keeping the Sabbath, homosexual church "leaders", and other matters that are not disputable are accepted as though God doesn't really care what we do when we claim to "love Jesus".

It doesn't seem that one who practices these things actually loves the real Jesus
Jesus replied, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. (John 14:23 NIV)

. Remember, half of the team that will come to live with us is the One who created the rules many of us claim are now discarded. We will all stand before Him - what will we say now that we have been warned? "But, Lord! I didn't see it that way!"? Disputable? What does the Bible say?

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