Conduct In Controversy

I love regularly returning to study the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Recently, I picked up the short book Justification Vindicated by Robert Traill and found a surprising nugget at the end. In his day (1642-1716), controversy swirled around this precious doctrine of the gospel. After forcefully defending the doctrine itself, Traill found it profitable to give a few words regarding the proper way to conduct oneself in the midst of controversy. His advice is wise and a few of his thoughts are worth reproducing here for our edification:

So that good may come out of this controversy, let me request a few things of my brethren.

1. Let us not recieve reports suddenly of one another. In times of contention, many false reports are raised and rashly believed. This is both the fruit and fuel of contention…

2. Let us make Christ crucified our great study, as Christians; and the preaching of him our main work, as ministers (1 Cor. 2:2)…

3. Let us study hard and pray much to know the truth and to cleave to it…

4. Let us not run into extremes, upon the right or left hand, through the heat of contention…

And at the end he adds:

The wisdom of God sometimes orders the different opinions of men about his truth for the clearing and confirming of it; each side watch the extremes that others may be in hazard of running into. And if the controversy is fairly and meekly managed in this way we may differ and plead our opinions and both love and edify those we oppose and be loved and edified by them in their opposition.

When we find ourselves in controversy, may God grant us divine wisdom for a gracious disposition. I am reminded of the words of Colossians 4:6:

“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”


2 responses to “Conduct In Controversy

  1. Thanks Billy! I actually was meditating on that particular verse in Colossians this morning as well.

  2. tractsandtreatises


    Thanks. Check out Eph. 4:25-32. This whole passage is dealing with relationship and particularly with speech. Very rich passage!


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