Avoid Debates and Sharp Thrusts, September 13
Avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. Titus 3:9.
The Holy Spirit does not work with men who love to be sharp and critical. This spirit has been cherished in meeting debaters, and some have formed the habit of squaring [off] for combat. God is dishonored in this. Keep back the sharp thrusts; do not learn in Satan’s school his methods of warfare. The Holy Spirit does not inspire the words of censure. A time of trouble is before us, and every honest soul who has not had the light of truth will then take a stand for Christ. Those who believe the truth are to be newly converted every day. Then they will be vessels unto honor.
Do not repeat the words of your opponents, or enter into controversy with them. You meet not merely the men, but Satan and his angels. Christ did not bring against Satan a railing accusation concerning the body of Moses. If the world’s Redeemer, who understood the crooked, deceptive arts of Satan, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but in holiness and humility said, “The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan,” is it not wise for His servants to follow His example? Will finite human beings take a course that Christ shunned, because it would afford Satan occasion to pervert, misrepresent, and falsify the truth?
In this period of the world’s history we have altogether too great a work to begin a new kind of warfare in meeting the supernatural power of satanic agencies. We must put aside personalities, however [much] we may be tempted to take advantage of words or actions. In patience we must possess our souls. Brethren, make it manifest that you are wholly on the Lord’s side. Let the truth of God’s Holy Word reveal transgression and sin, and manifest the sanctifying power of truth upon human hearts. A haughty spirit must not come in to mar the work of God. We have reason for gratitude to God every moment that we have the privilege of connecting with Him....
There is need of contrition of soul every day, and the Lord declares the great advantage of everyone who will humble his heart and hide in Jesus. “Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isaiah 57:15)....
Let those who hate the law of the Lord rave and pour out their anathemas against such as have moral courage to receive and live the truth. The Lord is our strength.—Letter 21, September 13, 1895, to an evangelist in Australia.