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Honor!

28 Aug

     The Word of God impresses on us to honor one another. God’s Word is clear whom we should honor, and what honor looks like. We are to honor masters, employers, pastors, teachers, leaders, and parents. However, I have noticed a trend in both Church and society. Most people “choose” who they will honor rather than following the commands of God. People choose based on agreement, likes and dislikes, whether they deem them worthy, and probably a myriad of other self interest biases.
     It all seemed innocent enough. Recently, a well-known leader was quoted by a newspaper in explaining a recent tornado touchdown in an unlikely area as possible judgment for sin. He was gentle, loving, and Scriptural believing God was giving a warning to the body of Christ. The simultaneous details of what was happening in a particular church body at the very moment the tornado touched down were amazing. Whether this was in fact judgment from God or not is a matter of opinion I suppose. Then another popular leader wrote a blog coming out against the first leader and publicly ridiculing him and attempting to disprove his “position”.
     As I read his blog entry, my heart broke because he was not just remarking about “his” perception about the tornado which I would not have an issue with at all, but it was a direct attack on the character of the other pastor (whom I know very little about other than his name) and they both used Scripture to defend their positions. He started the blog saying how much he appreciated and respected this other brother and then wrote a six point paper saying why that man was wrong and he was right. It was not their different perspectives or opinions about the tornado that broke me, it was the way this man attacked the other man, rather than simply stating his position.
     In response, I e-mailed in an attempt to encourage him to take up his differences with this man privately rather than publicly coming against him. I believe the Word says to honor leaders in the church so I was careful to choose my words and take my thoughts captive. As a fellow leader in the body of Christ, I know how cruel and judgmental people can come across when they have an issue with something you have presented. It is not okay or even allowed according to Scripture to attack or accuse our brothers and sisters in Christ, but questioning and accountability in respect is another thing.
     Basically, I challenged this leader in taking up his dialogue in a public forum, causing the body of Christ to take sides and choose whom they will believe, which would be based on who they agreed with, rather than on what the Word of God says. To publicly share your “take” on an issue is one thing, but to discredit another leader’s “take” is another thing. As leaders they have a responsibility to lead not cause confusion in the Body of Christ. I told him it seemed impossible to say you appreciate and respect a man (as he stated in the beginning of his blog) and then give a detailed six-point essay telling the body of Christ why this man is teaching them something other than truth. By the time I had concluded reading his blog entry, I saw only defamation of character.
     In his entry, he avoided the biblical issue at hand, bringing up other “scenarios” in an attempt to disprove his brother in Christ. My suggestion to him was to meet and pray with his brother, waiting on Holy Spirit to tell them the same thing, rather than publicly attacking, because as both of them are highly respected leaders in the Body of Christ, it would be good to act as one body rather than many bodies, and to honor one another in Christ.
     I was surprised to find a reply in my inbox the next morning from this man. He told me if he followed my logic, he would never write blogs, articles, books, or preach sermons that argue against any other position other Christians espouse. This was my point exactly! First of all, we are to write and preach the Word not argue against other positions. And secondly, if we are going to argue against other positions, do that, but do not argue against other Christians, publicly naming them, causing bias to the readers. He said “there is nothing wrong with publicly disagreeing with brothers and sisters who publicly articulate positions you disagree with”. I was saddened more deeply because I believe God’s Word “is” our standard of truth, not our “position” on that Word. I was not suggesting to him we never publicly disagree if someone is preaching contrary to Scripture. However, I believe according to the Word, as brothers and sisters in Christ, we should confront them first so they may have opportunity to correct, before putting it out in a public forum where we end up coming against the person rather than defending the Word of God. This was not the case here. Clearly, both had a position, both could support their position in part biblically, and both have a voice in the Body to promote their positions. Therein lies another problem. Are we to publicly articulate “positions” or publicly articulate the Word of God?
     If we allow Scripture to stand alone it is not too difficult to see truth. 1 Timothy 6:3-5 says “If anyone teaches otherwise (speaking of honoring in the previous verses) and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords to godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wrangling of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw.”
More to come on honor!

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Posted by on August 28, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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