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Author: Ron Graham

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Disputes and Contentions in the New Testament
—A comprehensive list (but not exaustive)

Matters of Contention

Disputes with Jesus

  • The Crucifixion Peter denies that Jesus will be killed. Jesus says to Peter, "Get behind me Satan..." (Matthew 16:21-23).
  • Lukewarm Christians Jesus rebukes the church in Laodicea "Because you are lukewarm I will spit you out of my mouth" (Revelation 3:16).
  • Immorality The case of Jezebel in the church at Thyatira. Jesus says, "I have this against you: you tolerate that woman Jezebel who... misleads my servants to be sexually immoral" (Revelation 2:19-23).

Theological Disputes

  • Christ’s Human Nature There were some who disputed that Christ came in the flesh and was truly human (1 John 4:3; 2 John 1:7).
  • Faith Alone "Do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?" (James 2:19-21).
  • The Second Coming "Don't be easily disconcerted or alarmed by any spirit or message or letter seeming to be from us, alleging that the Day of the Lord has already come" (2Thessalonians 2:1-3).
  • Sin and Grace Paul disputes that Christians may "continue to sin that grace may abound" (Romans 6:1-7).
  • The Resurrection of the dead Paul strongly disputes the teaching, by some in the church at Corinth, that there is no resurrection of the dead (1Corinthians 15:12-58).

Disputes Regarding Jewish Laws

  • Circumcision There was a serious dispute about male circumcision "Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, 'The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.'" (Acts 15:1-5).
  • Food Laws "For one person has faith to eat all things, while another, who is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not belittle the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted him." (Romans 14:1-4).
  • Holy days "One person esteems one day above another; someone else esteems every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind." (Romans 14:5).
  • Mixing with Gentiles The case of Paul’s dispute with Peter about Peter’s excluding Gentile Christians from his company (Galatians 2:11-21).

Other Critical Cases

  • Lust for power The case of Peter and Simon the Sorcerer "" (Acts 8:9-24).
  • Lying to the Holy Spirit The case of Ananias and Sapphira"" (Acts 5:1-11).
  • Baptism of John The case of Apollos. [A potential dispute that was resolved privately and expeditiously because of the excellent attitudes of Pricilla, Aquila, and Apollos] (Acts 18:24-28).
  • Disunity in the church Paul rebukes the Corinthian church for being divided into factions supposedly following some apostle or preacher as opposed to another (1Corinthians 1:10-17).
  • Church supporting widows The case of the Grecian Jews who complained that their widows were being neglected in the daily assistance and they blamed the Hebraic Jews for it. This led to the appointment of seven deacons to manage assistance to widows (Acts 6:1-7).
  • John Mark The case of Paul’s dispute with Barnabas about taking John Mark with them on their evangelistic journey (Acts 15:36-41).

Disputes with the Devil

  • An angel’s dispute with Satan [time and particulars unknown]. "Michael the archangel disputed with the devil over the body of Moses" (Jude 1:9).
  • Temptation of Christ The devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness, but Jesus contested every point and said, "It is written..." (Luke 4:1-13).
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