One Christian is determined to find the truth.  A second Christian is motivated to defend the truth.  Which is more valuable to the cause of Christ?

The first is necessary, clearly.  We cannot hope to be sanctified by the truth (John 17:17) if we do not know what the truth is.  But what use is the truth in the long term if it is not defended?  The next generation is sure to fall victim to the first fast-talking false teacher who happens down the road.

Then we prefer the second, right?  Being able to engage the enemy is a critical part of the Christian experience (Ephesians 5:11-13).  But if we are focused wholly on the defense of the truth, we may never discover that the “truth” is not as truthful as we had thought.  People are wrong from time to time, and it really has nothing to do with how sure they were that they were right or how vigorously and honestly they defended their error.  And even the most self-righteous and sanctimonious of us will admit they have not always been right.

So the two are equally valuable and equally dangerous.  What we really need is a balance between the two.  We need to have the courage of our convictions, but we also need to have the humility and honesty of the searcher.

I firmly believe God will assist me in my quest for truth (Philippians 3:15-16).  I also firmly believe He requires me to take a principled stand on the truth as I perceive it (Jude 3).  It is a difficult balance to strike, certainly.  But Apollos did, vigorously preaching the baptism of John at first and then preaching Jesus more accurately when Priscilla and Aquila filled in the gaps in his knowledge (Acts 18:24-28).  If he could, I can.  And I must.

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