Talk Plainly, but Gently

This originally appeared as an email delivered on
Saturday, November 26th, 2011.

When people disagree with each other they will rarely speak plainly to each other. When they do there is a fight.

So when others disagree with your doctrine, they will never talk to you plainly about their problem. This is frustrating, but a fact of life.

This means you must understand that the question people ask you may only be superficial. There is most likely a bigger question they think too controversial to ask. To make any progress in understanding we must expose these roots.

There is a warning. If you desire someone else to speak plainly about their disagreements you can not take offense, or be defensive. Listen first. Talk later.

Be plain with people about doctrinal disagreements, but be gentle. Perhaps they, too, will pick up on plain talk and real doctrinal progress can be made instead of beating around the bush.

For his glory,

Justin “plain talk” Johnson

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