Objection 1: It seems that it is not good to debate this subject, because minor subjects are a waste of time to debate and just lead to divisiveness.

Objection 2: Dividing the church over minor subjects like masks is wrong. Churches ought to divide only as a last resort when dealing with major differences over primary doctrine.

Objection 3: The moral choice in this debate is obvious, and debate merely slows us down in doing what we all know is the right thing to do.

On the contrary, Doug Wilson proposes the following thought experiment: “Let us say that the reasons I adduce in this post fail to persuade you. That’s all right. All I need for you to do for a moment is pretend you have been persuaded, and I will explain to you how this came about. Suppose you read an article from a credible source, one that you trust, and this article proves to your satisfaction that wearing a mask drastically increases the risk of spreading the disease. You and the author of the article are the only two people who know this.

Now you have to go out in public. Do you act as though you were caring about the health of others by wearing a mask? Or do you actually watch out for their health by not wearing one? Would you rather be seen as caring for others, or would you rather actually care for others?

Just conducting this thought experiment, whether or not you come to agree with this position, should help you to understand how a person could go out in public without a mask without it being a declaration of undying enmity to all mankind.”[1]

I answer that we ought to debate the minor things more than the major within the church, as the major things ought to be settled. It’s really the primary doctrinal topics (e.g. “God is real”, “Jesus is God”, etc) that should not be areas of debate within the church, though we ought to debate these frequently with those outside the church.

The church should be a refuge for Christians, and with many Christians feeling the pressure to conform to what they believe is the wrong thing to do, making the church another place of conformity removes this critical function of the church. Free debate and disagreement help counter this.

Reply to Objection 1: Any subject that elicits interest is worthy of debate. We can debate the color of the carpet for a room if we’d like.

We can avoid divisiveness by making sure our attitudes are right before we debate with one another. If we are charitable and love our brothers and sisters, we can argue about the brand of coffee to use. If we are not charitable or are missing love, we have far greater problems.

Reply to Objection 2: Truly dividing over minor subjects is indeed wrong. Masks are not a subject over which the church should divide. See the previous section for a response to the notion that disagreement constitutes division.

Reply to Objection 3: The moral choice is certainly not obvious, as I hope to make clear in the following sections.

[1] 7 Reasons for Unmasking the Masks <https://dougwils.com/books-and-culture/s7-engaging-the-culture/7-reasons-for-unmasking-the-masks.html>