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Biblical Reconciliation

Reconcilation with brothers begins with Christ

Reconcilation with brothers begins with Christ

Published on: Mar 4, 2009

Last night I was at a Creation Science meeting with a dear friend of many years when I got a phone call from a brother from a house church fellowship that my wife and I had been attending for the last 6 months.

The brother has taken a personal interest in my life, having met me for lunch on several occasions, so I was delighted to get the call.

Then he told me something that completely floored me.

The fellowship began with a woman who calls her self the pastor. When my wife and I first visited we were concerned, not that she is a woman, but that she calls herself “pastor”. I believe that God has many people that are pastors in heart, and even the brother who called me, has a pastor’s heart, but I am leery of people assuming the title for it implies control.

What my friend told me was that this “pastor,” another “elder” and he wanted to meet with me to talk about how I participate in their fellowship. Immediately reg flags flew in my face, and I knew that I was not about to agree to sit with 3 people “ganging up on me” to tell me how I should behave.

My first response, was “No way will I agree to such a meeting.” But he responded that it was a biblical meeting. I disagreed with him, citing the point that neither this “pastor” nor the “elder” had ever spoken to me about any thing on a one on one basis with me first.

The result of the conversation was that if I did not agree to such a meeting then I should consider myself no longer a member of their fellowship.

While lying in bed after wards thinking about the phone call I came to a realization of how commonly what Jesus said is misunderstood.

Matt 18:15-17
15 “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.
16 But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’
17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. (NIV)

As I thought about this the first point that was not inline with Christ’s directives, is a brother sinning against you. My friend and I had open discussions. We disagreed with each other, but as far as I knew, he did not have “ought” with me because I sinned against him. We just disagreed. So, the addition of two more people to speak to me about my manner of speech, is not in the sin category. It is about my personality. So these two others were not only coming to me without speaking to me first, but regarding something that is not even sin.

But, for the sake of argument, let us assume that it was a case where I sinned against my brother who had come to me, yet I refused to repent. Why does the Lord then direct him to get two more people? I have always assumed that they were “backup” for the offended person. It sure seems like that in the wording of the text. Doesn’t “every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses” mean that they are to stand by the offended person, to put pressure on the sinner to repent? That is not what the Lord was telling me while I was lying in my bed. Those two witnesses are to be mediators to hear both sides and to impartially judge the truth. Not back up. Then, if it is determined by the mediators that I am the sinner yet I will still will not repent, then take it before the congregation for them to decide. If they agree that the sinner needs to repent, and he refuses, for the health of the group he is not to come to the fellowship.

My case is not one of sin, yet I am cast out of fellowship without the one on one conversation, nor the rest of the steps. I sent the “pastor” and the “elder” an email inviting them to speak to me directly, but as of yet, they have not done so. My friend did, however. His report is that some of my statements have offended several members of the fellowship. I wrote him back that when those people complained about me, the elder and pastor should have told them to talk to me directly.

They did not because I am intimidating. I understood what he meant. I am 250 lbs, an ex gymnast, well read, and have a prophetic temperament. I say the truth directly without beating around the bush. He wanted me to qualify what I say by prefacing my remarks with, “I believe” or “I think”. I will not qualify statements that I know are true. I will qualify statements on topics that I am uncertain about with “I think”. But I will not say “I think the sky is blue,” when I know it is blue.

In discussing this with another friend I pointed out that there is a difference between private conversations and public pronouncements. The “elder” in this story at one time said that he thinks that being a Christian is like being a part of the Borg from Star Trek. That statement was made in the meeting. I did not address his comment directly, but added, “However, as Christians, unlike the Borg, we retain our individual identities.” And that is the crux of the problem.

Many who enter into house church fellowships do so because they tire of trying to conform themselves to the expectations of churchianity which relies on the laws of do’s and don’ts to change people. Some house churches are doing the same thing. We are not called to change people at all. That is the job of the Holy Spirit to perform from the inside out. And what those changes are will be different for every person, because we are all made for the unique reasons of God, not men. Jesus said,

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. (John 6:37 NIV)

What happens in professional clergy groups and house church groups is that people are driven away, not because of sin, but because of personality. Is that in agreement with Christ? No it is the world system, and it is cultic. And it is spiritual abuse.

But I have counted the cost. The way to life is straight and narrow. All who love truth will be my companions as we go through that straight gate. The real Church of Jesus Christ is illustrated in the Old Testament story of David, who is a type of Christ. The Bible says regarding the men that came to David,

And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men. (1 Sam 22:2 KJV)

These are the people that Jesus accepts: the outcasts of society. I would rather be with the outcasts, and be with Jesus, than be with a group who follow people instead of the Lord.

Comments to Original Post

jurisnaturalist
failuretorefrain.com/naturalaw/
Submitted on 03/05/2009

While it is true that in our baptism we yield ourselves to the church, the action is one of giving. Never is our life taken from us.
Never, ever, is power to be lorded over any by others.

You do well to get out.

The church, like marriage, and any other covenantal meeting, is to be characterized by mutual giving, and not by taking.

Editor
Submitted on 03/05/2009

Nathanael,
Thank you for your encouragement. I am still waiting for the Lord to comment on this matter. If I really do have a character problem that He wants me to change, then I want to change. But as I have reviewed this matter over in my mind I can find nothing other than I plainly disagree with people publicly. I try not to say anything that could be thought of as insulting, but perhaps there is condescension in my tone of voice that I have not heard. But the elders have not responded to my request for one on one dialog, so I do not know.

Kat
SaltSister.com

Submitted on 03/04/2009

Alex,

I’m sorry that this happened to you and in a way I’m not. I can’t help feeling that it’s better for the situation to be exposed than hidden. We’ll have to talk about this some more in email. I’m interested to see what the Lord does next in your life.

Editor
Submitted on 03/04/2009

Yes, I have the same feelings. But God is good, and He is working in this situation for the benefit of all. In that I can rejoice.

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