I’ve noticed a trend in discussions and disagreements, not only within Christian circles, but also between Christians and non-Christians. The trend is that both parties seem to be talking about two different things.
It’s like one person says “Apples are Red” and another person argues back that “No, Oranges are Orange”. Or maybe even closer to the truth…when someone says “Apples are Red” (speaking of red-delicious apples) and another says “No! Apples are Green” (speaking of granny smith apples).
How can we possibly make any progress if we aren’t settled first on the actual topic being discussed? We must define terms and make sure we have agreement on those terms before getting into differences of opinion on a topic. Otherwise, the result is unproductive discussion, confusion, arguing, and unnecessary disagreements.
As an example, we recently had some discussion on this site about the inerrancy of the Bible. But from my vantage point, no one seems to agree on exactly what inerrancy means. So, it’s like one person is saying the Bible is NOT inerrant (granny smith apples are NOT red), and another is saying the Bible IS inerrant (red delicious apples ARE red).
So, here is my encouragement for us all: before we disagree, let’s make sure we are talking about the same thing
And out of interest, in the comments below let me know what your definition of inerrancy includes or excludes. Let’s see if we can find some agreement on that.
Or another interesting topic to discuss in the comments would be what areas have you seen this type of disagreement, based on a lack of agreement on what is being discussed?