(May 28, 2014)
It is difficult to understand where the line between contention and defending the faith arises. On the one hand, presumably someone was right and someone was wrong about the disputations on baptism that Christ references in this chapter. On the other hand, He clearly does not limit His criticism to those who are on the wrong side of correct doctrine. Somehow we must come to an understanding of how to present correct doctrine (even in the face of opposition) without contending or disputing.
Having tried to learn this over the course of the past little bit, I think that I have learned a couple of rules that I can apply for at least my personal situation. First, if I am angry, I need to let someone else deal with the situation. I am not so irreplaceable as to have insights that can be obtained in no other way, so my anger disqualifies me from the Spirit and thus participation. Second, if I am proud of what I know or believe or I am disdainful of what others know or believe then I likewise need to keep quiet. Finally, if what I present has more to do with something other than the Lord's work, I need to be quiet.
There are, of course, opportunities to speak up even in light of those prohibitions. But I haven't seen too many positive consequences when I have violated those rules. At least for me, this seems to be what separatings defending the faith from contending and disputing doctrine.