The LDS church commonly warns its members about being contentious. LDS missionaries sometimes will leave a house because they say its inhabitants have a spirit of contention. And the Bible indeed warns against being contentious.
But the Bible also tells us to contend for the faith. See, for example, Jude 3. My dictionary defines contend with words like strive, debate, assert, struggle and even argue. The root of the Greek word that Jude used is one from which our English word “agonize” is derived. Obviously contend involves more than having a pleasant, light conversation. It involves vigor and passion.
How then can one contend for the faith without being contentious? It’s all in the attitude. A contentious person is belligerent (my dictionary) – he is looking for a fight and enjoys the fight. On the other hand, a person who is contending for the faith doesn’t really enjoy the battle but engages in it because he is passionate about his beliefs and thinks they are worth fighting for.
I will be the first to admit that I have often seen a contentious spirit exhibited by Christians as they talk with Mormons. It is painfully obvious that they have no concern for the Mormons or even, at times, the faith. They just want to win the battle. But this has not been limited to Christians. Over the years I have received numerous letters, emails, and even pictures from LDS members that are blatantly contentious.
Why do I bring this up? Because I feel the need to regularly state why I am doing this blog. My goal is to contend for the faith without being contentious. I want the differences between Mormonism and historic Christianity to be clearly seen. My prayer is that many Mormons see the wonderful truth that we are saved without any works on our part.
The other reason why I am writing this today is because in the next series of posts I am planning on examining Mormonism’s claims that Joseph Smith and his successors are true prophets of God. Obviously that is something that I don’t believe. But up front I want to say that I state that not just to be contentious and get Mormons’ blood boiling but because I think this is a serious issue that needs discussing – that here too we need to contend for the faith.