One of our prominent coast-to-coast radio Bible teachers said to this writer, some time ago: “You know what I believe about baptism, but sometimes I wonder whether it is worth fighting about.” I replied that I would express it differently; that while I did not believe the truth of the “one baptism” was worth “fighting about,” I did believe that it, like many another truth, was worth “fighting for.”
It is true that we are not to be contentious in our attitude, but we are to stand, and contend, if necessary, for the truth. This is to “fight the good fight of [the] faith.” For example I Peter 3:15:
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and
BE READY [surely this implies previous study]
ALWAYS [so ready should we be]
TO GIVE AN ANSWER [Lit., apology, defense]
TO EVERY MAN THAT ASKETH YOU [whether great or insignificant]
A REASON [an intelligent justification]
OF THE HOPE THAT IS IN YOU [lest it be proven an unfounded feeling]
with meekness and fear” [Not from mere contentiousness].
Then there is Jude 3, where Jude explains that though he had been inclined to write about the “common salvation,” it was necessary for him to exhort his brethren to
“earnestly CONTEND FOR THE FAITH….”
Finally, Philippians 1:17, where Paul, referring to his ministry in general, says:
“I AM SET FOR THE DEFENSE OF THE GOSPEL.”
And he asserts that the Philippians were “partakers of his grace” in
“THE DEFENSE AND CONFIRMATION OF THE GOSPEL” (Phil. 1:7).
God could, of course, defend the truth by direct intervention, but He does not do so. In a world and in a religious system which always tend to depart from the truth, God has appointed men to defend it. And where they are unfaithful to their charge the truth is not defended in any other way, but rather gives way before Satan’s delusions.
If the reader will just stop and think a moment he will realize that were it not for controversialists like Luther, Calvin, Darby and others, we might still be in the dark ages. If Paul had not taken a stand for “the defense and confirmation of the gospel,” it would never have gotten to us. See how legalism, gnosticism and other heresies crept in wherever he had been and threatened to overthrow what he had sacrificed so much to build.
Yes, it does matter what we believe and we are responsible to others where faith and doctrine are concerned, not only in general, but in particular, otherwise II Timothy 2:15 would have no meaning.