In the last few weeks a surge of what seem as personal attacks in regards to doctrine, polity and purpose has raised a few eyebrows. These attacks have been primarily at me and our fellowship and now have bled into other congregations. For some reason the people who have concerned themselves with creating havoc among two churches in the area decided to make a public display of force against what they call, not “like faith and order”. The details of these accusations will be forthcoming, however, today after receiving nearly fifty calls and emails from a bi-county wide letter that was mailed in regard to accusations, I am stating a few not-so-obvious results from the issue, namely, the effects of this sin by these men on the body of Christ, the home, children, families and the community at large.
It must said for clarification that personal discussion, reconciliation and outside mediation has been attempted to no avail and that this is a matter for the church of Jesus Christ, not just GTC or the other churches close to her, but the body at large. When attacks from the world come, it is expected. Paul told Timothy that anyone who desires to live a Godly life will be persecuted and we can see that all throughout the ministry of Paul in his pastoral writings, that he named many who had caused him and his ministry great harm in an attempt to secure peace but mostly to warn the churches of their sin and evil. These matters are not matters of fact but of opinion in as much as the catalyst of the accusations admitted today in an interview that he had “no evidence” to back up these claims but that he can sense or “hear” these things in talking with me and others. Therefore, he has told me that God instructed him to do what he has done by highjacking two church meetings and publicly making these accusations in complete disagreement with the word of God on how to handle conflict. One of the other pastors were told in my hearing that Matthew 18 did not apply to him and last evening, this pastor was told directly in front of his church that the scripture did not apply to him in this manner because he was the pastor of the church.
So, on with the show, let us all take time and guard our hearts and pray for repentance and healing and genuine affection toward these brothers who are doing the work of the devil. But let us also take heart and God is over all things and just as He asked Satan to consider Job and gave the devil the power to mess up his life, God is faithful to His children and has all of this for the good of all the church. Be safe brothers and sisters not to fall into bitterness. “Then why write in the first place?” Well, because of the continual public outcry in response to these allegations and the sinful manner in which this was done.
The Effects and Damage
- To the Church – the number of pastors who have called us is overwhelming. Not only local pastors but some from the Atlanta area and beyond the borders of our state have heard of these events and called to pray and exhort us to humility and prayer while standing for truth. Nearly eight churches on record are having problems now because of the mass mailing which has caused people to question me and my teaching and those who know me, to question how their pastor is going to respond to the correspondence. Not only there, but at a local church this past Lord’s Day, where this man preached not exposition, but in a passionate anger forcing several errors in his own hermeneutic that has caused concern from the National front. I heard from two people today that if this is not resolved, they will leave their church. Several community leaders have asked me what to do as they feel that the whole of the local SBC Association is corrupt and wonder if everyone would be better associating with neighboring groups. The sheep are hurt worst in this matter where I have had over a dozen conversations about doctrine whereby this sin has caused doubt in the hearts of several church members from several different congregations. Scripture tells us that those who cause the sheep to stumble would be better off drowned in the sea. IN an attempt to so-called “protect the churches” these men have damaged them, the sheep, the message of the gospel and the unity of the faith. Some young pastors are confused as to what these allegations even mean and two others are moving to leave the association all together over this as they feel this person Christians do not do these things.
- To the Family – Not just the stress this is causing among the accused but outside of it. For instance, a recent marriage problem was caused over this because an individual could not believe that his pastor would affirm such actions and thus, even in sin, he made comments that he would leave his church to which his wife disagreed; now a full issue is at hand and emotions are high. Several young people have commented that they are scared for their family and the peace in their homes as this has raised several arguments among parents and a few more young men have stated that they are doubtful that these “spiritual leaders” are true believers. This is causing greif within one church due to the reality that so many family members are members of the fellowship and now are pitted against one another. Several pastors are on the brink of being fired from their churches and they have small children who depend on their father’s role as pastor for food.
- To the Community – Several of the unchurched has been grieved as they are unsure as to what to think and wonder what motivates someone to do such a thing which is concluded by judging the motives of these men which is unbiblical; causing harm to their own worship. The testimony of the church is damaged in several people’s minds as they have commented, “it’s normal” in regard to Christians being liars and being hateful. Community leaders in their churches are at odds with the issues and a few of them are broken over the fact that these things have taken place and want resolve. All the time we have spent on this matter has taken us from the call to preach the gospel and make disciples. However, it is a disciple-making reality due to the number of people who have called for help, counsel and prayer.
So, from pastors who want to leave the church, members who hate each other, churches who are confused and scared, sheep who doubt their faith, children who witness fighting in the home, young men who are growing apathetic, marriages who are on the blink, the public who says, “I told you so” to a long list of other things that result from such things; this whole thing is a big grand sinful and wicked mess. BUT God is faithful and He will work this out for the good of His people. Pray for God’s glory to be seen and that His people will be gentle as they stand up for truth.
So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saintsaccording to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can beagainst us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:12-39, ESV)