The Benefit of Controversary


By Teena Myers

“Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. Acts 19:8-9

Paul returned to the synagogue in Ephesus by invitation. They wanted him to “spend more time with them.” Paul promised to return if it was God’s will and it was. When some Jews who wanted more of God understood Paul’s message, they refused to believe it.

The leaders became obstinate when they understood Jesus is the only way to obtain the kingdom of God. They did more than reject Jesus. The leaders stood before their congregation and publicly maligned Paul’s message to prevent their congregation from receiving salvation. 

Whenever God seeks to give us more, controversy is inevitable, but it serves a good purpose. 

“God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: The Lord knows those who are his…” 2 Timothy 2:19

God knows who is his, but we don’t. God looks where we cannot see. He looks on our hearts and knows who sincerely wants him, and who is seeking personal benefit. Churches are full of self-appointed ministers whose erroneous doctrines create strongholds in our lives that prevent us from receiving more of God. When someone declares the truth, the light in truth exposes them for the charlatans they really are. At that point they will repent or defend themselves. If they don’t repent controversy erupts. The ensuing battle reveals to the rest of us who is God’s and who is not.

Churches split when leaders quarrel leaving the congregation to choose whose message to embrace. Keep the message that left them dry, thirsty, and sick or embrace the message that quenched their thirst and healed them. They can follow the leader who suffers for their good or cling to the leader who cares more about being right than benefiting his congregation. Unfortunately, many will choose the familiar that left them dry, thirsty, and empty. 

The maligned leader, Paul, had no option but to lead the sheep who embraced his message that “Jesus is the Way” to new pastures and leave the stubborn goats behind.

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