Kevin DeYoung, author and Senior Pastor at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan, posted a sermon from a week or so ago that didn’t get preached because snow cancelled the service. I think you’ll be as grateful, as I am, that he posted the notes to his blog.
He works hard to give some diagnostics to help us evaluate our lives with an eye toward whether or not we could be rightly labelled “quarrelsome”. Here are some of the key points:
So what does a quarrelsome person look like? What are his (or her) distinguishing marks?
1. You defend every conviction with the same degree of intensity. You don’t talk about secondary issues, because there are no secondary issues.
2. You are quick to speak and slow to listen. You rarely ask questions and when you do it is to accuse or to continue prosecuting your case. You are not looking to learn, you are looking to defend, dominate, and destroy.
3. Your only model for ministry and faithfulness is the showdown on Mount Carmel. There is a place for sarcasm, but when Elijah with the prophets of Baal is your spiritual hero you may end up mocking people instead of making arguments.
4. You are incapable of seeing nuances and you do not believe in qualifying statements.
5. You never give the benefit of the doubt. You do not try to read arguments in context. You put the worst possible construct on other’s motives and the meaning of their words.
6. You have no unarticulated opinions.
7. You are unable to sympathize with your opponents.
8. Your first instinct is to criticize. Your last is to encourage.
9. You have a small grid and everything fits in it. Everything is a social justice issue; everything relates to the regulative principle, everything is Obama’s fault; everything is wrong because of patriarchy; everything comes down to one thing–my thing.
10. You derive a sense of satisfaction and spiritual safety in being rejected and marginalized. You are constitutionally unable to be demonstrably fruitful in ministry and you will never affirm those who appear to be. You only know how to relate to God as a remnant.
11.You are always in the trenches with hand grenades strapped to your chest, never in the mess hall with ice cream and ping pong. Remember G.K. Chesterton: “We have to feel the universe at once as an ogre’s castle, to be stormed, and yet as our own cottage, to which we can return to at evening.”
12. You have never changed your mind on an important matter.