The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.
Brother Miller then proceeded into the following monologue:
“If there is a clear scriptural example of rebuke… if there is a clear scriptural example of correction…I mean, you have to tear a lot of pages out of your Bible to be offended at correction…
“Paul was calling people out by name…If you don’t know that, or you don’t understand the context of that, that’s because you’re not studying, that’s because you’re not in your Bible.”
Now, after feeling convicted and determined to make the Bible a bigger part of my personal study, the life-long Latter-day Saint in me wondered why we were “nice on steroids” – putting it in Brother Miller’s words. It didn’t take long for my mind to go to 3 Nephi, a verse we all know well:
For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.
This is a verse we learn and memorize in seminary. Christ had just appeared to the Nephites and was preaching His gospel. The context of the scripture by itself is misleading without the rest of the chapter. Jesus immediately chose His disciples and gave them authority to baptize. He then showed them definitively how to baptize. Take a look at the verse exactly before verse 29:
And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize. And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been.
To me, it seems pretty clear that Christ is addressing the disputations of false doctrine. That was of the devil. He made His Gospel clear so there would no longer be confusion. The devil loves confusion and he loves to sow discord. Is contending against false doctrine of the devil? Of course not! There are too many scriptural examples to the contrary. Preaching false doctrine is the contention Christ is teaching against, not the correction of it!
Paul taught the reason Christ called prophets and established a church:
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
Following the prophet should bring unity, it should bring us together. There shouldn’t be disputations over doctrine, because it is all laid out for us. It is those who question the prophets, both past and present, who are sowing discord and contention. Even worse, they are using our scripture as a weapon against us that they may continue with their ministry unfettered. We can’t allow the devil take from us our boldness.