Saturday, May 27, 2006

1 corinthians chapter 6

37 comments:

jON said...

door's open. come on in. make yourselves comfortable. you know where everything is. help yourself. don't worry about making a mess. it's all love from here, baby.

jON

Susan said...

Thanks Jon. Have a good time in Duluth.

A verse that often challenges me: "Why not just accept mistreatment and leave it at that? It would be far more honoring to the Lord to let yourselves be cheated" v 7 (LB). Meaning that we do not have to wrestle for our rights or worry about being ripped off. Neither do we behave like door mats. Rather we live our lives being deeply convinced that we have a Heavenly Father who will take care of us.

Herschel said...

hey may i interupt witha quick prayer request? Ok. thanks.

I am in the process of seeking employment in the lexington Kentucky area for when i move downt ehre to attend seminary. i ask that you just pray for God open some doors. thanks.

Wendy ftfs said...

Amen Susan ... :-)

Forgiving one another and finding a better way ...

Done Hersch ... all the best to you ... are you going to be a pastor, Hersch?

jON said...

you got it, hersch. may wisdom be yours in abundance. as well as a fearlessness to embrace all that the god would have for you and ask of you.

susan, that verse is very provocative. as well as paul's follow up statement which rings so true in our assemblies, even now. "On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren."

and then, in this chapter, we reach the crux of my newfound expression of this faith in an invisible god i cannot see. "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable..." this, i believe is the perfect balance in which to live our lives before god.

living honestly before god. being honest with ourselves about just what is truly in our hearts at any given moment and living it in the light before god. embracing the first half of this statement by paul to produce peace. to produce confidence in the cross and grace. then to temper the awesome freedom that was given to us by saying that although everything is now lawful (permissible), not everything is profitable (beneficial).

and now, this is where i feel the source of tension comes in. in each of us being different people. in being different beings, what is going to be profitable and beneficial in each one of our lives is going to be different. each piece fitting together in a unique way just as the lord would place them. yet as he will, not as i will, or as anyone else onlooking will. but as he will.

and to trust in that. to trust in my ability to hear from the spirit on a moment to moment basis. and to learn how to hear the spirit and obey. which is why we need grace. to help in this process. to know that whenever we step awry, we can come back to the throne of grace with confidence, knowing that if we confess our disobedience as he points it out to us, he is faithful and just to forgive us our disobedience.

i read the beginning of genesis this morning. and i was struck so hard with the original commandment given to us (humans). to not eat the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, lest we die. this makes so much more sense to me now. today as i was reading, i got the sense that this still holds true. that if we would refrain from trying to peek into "right and wrong", "good and evil", that we could live before god with a "naked and unashamed" approach.

since the cross has already covered us for our disobediences past, present, and future, we are free to live and love. and if we refrain from trying to determine right and wrong for the world or ourselves even, we can live in a place of freedom. yet, when the spirit himself comes and speaks, we should obey. and speak he does. and obey we must.

yet so often, i listen to and obey those who give me heaping helpings of the forbidden fruit. big platefuls of the forbidden knowledge. and i eat because i trust them. and as soon as i eat, i die. no longer is my childlike faith good enough. suddenly i have the weight of command on me and the false thought that by not measuring up to said commandment (which is just man's opinion) i become convinced that by disobeying man's opinion, i am disobeying god. and i become paralyzed. afraid of stepping out anywhere and doing any further damage to my already soiled purity (which, in truth, has NOT been soiled, only in my mind). and i begin to isolate and wall myself off behind a box of fear. instead of coming back to the place of grace and unity.

the peering underneath, while coming across as pleasing to the eye and being desirable for knowledge, kills my faith. it kills my fruit. and it binds me up and renders me useless. and i become desolate. and this abomination is standing in our holy place.

so i need to recall always how i have been set free. truly free. there is no one now between god and myself. the veil has been torn in two. i have been given the gift of unfettered access to the invisible god. i can hear from him myself and if he is not speaking against me, i should shut out those voices that seek to bring in fear and kill and destroy my faith in my ability to hear god for myself and lead me.

because when i embrace this, it certainly causes many religious to be made uncomfortable as it has nothing to do with their approach to holiness and purity. the approach that has me trying so valiantly to fix and justify and redeem myself under my own power through "holy living." holy living, of course, as defined by other humans, once again, and their interpretations of what holy living "looks like". and, once again, living that way just adds chains and i become very unlike what god wants me to be.

"Did not your father eat and drink and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him. He pled the cause of the afflicted and needy; then it was well.
Is not that what it means to know Me?”
Declares the LORD.
jer. 22:15-16


the more i read the bible on my own and shut out other people's opinions (as though they were authoritative) on what this book means and how to live it out "properly", the more verses like this come to the forefront. and the more i have to be honest that by engaging in the religion known as "christianity", the less my life is actually formed into looking like this. and a question like this pierces me to the core of my heart and i meditate on it for hours.

"Is not that what it means to know Me?”

what am i doing with this freedom? am i using it to chain others and tell them how they should not be using their freedom to do whatever they do? instead of using this freedom to draw near to people in love and loose their chains, being unafraid that by being near them they will seperate me from god. instead, knowing that whatever means i have at my disposal RIGHT NOW at this moment to be used for the kingdom, to be used for loosing chains, i believe they are, as god puts it, "well."

since this passage is longer, i will not reprint it here. but take some time to read it and let it wash over you. it holds as true now as when it was written. i think it gives us great insight into the character of the father as so much of what is contained here comes out in jesus' life. and he was the only one to show us the father truly and consistently.

isa. 58:1-12

Wendy ftfs said...

Well said Jon ... we should have no fear of anyone at all ... Bringing the gospel to all people is what God wants us to do ... His grace is sufficient ... there would be higher church attendance if love and acceptance and not act and dress a certain way were at the forefront of our church messages to people... I know the bible is opened in our North American churches today but the message of the Gospel and its freedom to be who God made you...is not embraced on the whole. How can I explain this better ... a friend of mine once relayed this story to me...
A little girl came to the church doors all by herself when the service started ... she wanted to go to church and enjoy the music and the worship. My friend was busy up on the stage ... he noticed the little girl at the door... as he watched, one of the ushers turned the little girl away because she had been outside playing and her clothes were all dirty. Our churches have become, with the exception of a few ... ?? places where you must FIT into the mold or you are not welcomed with open arms as Jesus would welcome you if He were the one manning the door. As a result, many "believers" refuse to come to the doors of our churches. Hypocrites is the word they use for our church leaders today ... and although I am a lover of both the church goer and the non church goer, I have to agree with the sound of that word ... It is a hard word. Our church leaders cringe at it and point their finger back saying that the nation simply doesn't want to follow Christ ... this is not the complete truth... our nation wants to be embraced by the lavish love and acceptance of our God...not the fingerpointing judgment of our leaders today... people repent when the Love of God and the realization of His sacrifice for them overwhelms them.
If we would just stick to Christ and Him crucified. ....
Love God with every ounce of our being and love our neighbour as ourselves... It really is that simple ... the CONTROLS need to be given back to the Lord and trust given to Him to keep things straight... but then that would require an intimate walk with Jesus... a listening, trusting and obeying ... hmmm ...

Hugs to all ... :-)

jON said...

well said, wendy. again. not a universal, but certainly a reality for many. and one that we should not ignore and pretend isn't happening. or try to convince people who have had this experience that it didn't really happen to them. just simply, as far as it depends on us, try to ensure that as we do find these dear ones, we do what we can to ensure they don't experience this through us. just love them as they are.

Susan said...

i read the beginning of genesis this morning. and i was struck so hard with the original commandment given to us (humans). to not eat the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, lest we die. this makes so much more sense to me now. today as i was reading, i got the sense that this still holds true. that if we would refrain from trying to peek into "right and wrong", "good and evil", that we could live before god with a "naked and unashamed" approach.

This is a really interesting thought, that the holy God didn't want us to have knowledge of good and evil. And now that we do, we either pride ourselves when we manage to do what we perceive as good or belt ourselves over the head if we do what we perceive as evil. Whereas what God intended was that we live in dependence on Him without worrying about good or evil.

I think Jesus' words to Peter regarding John (in John 21:22) are very significant, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me". What Jesus does in other people's lives or what Jesus tells other people to do or not to do, is not our concern. Our concern is to follow Christ.

jON said...

yes!

Herschel said...

wow...good stuff yall

i have never thought about the Genesis account like that...and it does make sense...defnitly need to meditate on that for a while...

this scripture reminds me of a conversation ih ad with some friends about the war, and in turn, fighting in general..

Jesus says (paraphrased) "you have heard it said, eye for an eye--tooth for a tooth. Now I say if a man hits you on one side fo your face, give him the other--if he wants to steal your shirt, give him your coat and shoes too"...etc.

I said that maybe it really is wrong to fight things, wars, lawsuits, even our own personal attackers...i said that maybe it really is better for the purpose of the Gospel to not fight back---look at Peter in the garden, when Jesus scolds him for fighting...look at this passage here

this is a gray area for sure...

I remember watching gandhi a few weeks ago(which is what started this all) and he was talking to a man about Jesus' teaching on this subject and that he believed Jesus was being literal and that he believed there was more power in letting others beat you down than fighting back---and he lived that way of life and eventually won india's freedom from britain--through nonviolence...

i honestly dont know where i sit in the gray zone on this one...

this passage just reminded me of it

btw-no i dont think the pastor's role is where i a called--i hope to eventually go overseas full-time

jON said...

good to know you finally got around to gandhi. i remember thinking it was a boring movie as it came out when i was a young child. and when i finally watched it for the first time a few years back, i wanted to kick myself for holding onto such a childish impression for so long. that movie is awesome! if anyone here has not seen it, i definitely recommend you take the time.

and yeah. the "turn the other cheek" thing comes up for me more and more. just today as a matter of fact. one of my coworkers was hoppin' mad at me for some imaginary reason. (i won't go into it, it's not important, just gossip.) and the longer the day went on, the more angry he became because i was not allowing myself to be manipulated by his emotion. at one point, i wondered if he might snap and assault me physically. and i as i pictured this, i was surprised to find that my natural reaction in my fantasy was to simply stand there as he assaulted me and wait for him to get his anger out. then , bloodied, smile at him and ask if he felt better. weird.

Trent said...

Does anybody else find it interesting that Paul says "Everything is permissable for me" not once, but twice, after having just commanded the Corinthian church to expel the immoral brother and immediately after detailing a long list of sins that disqualify one from inheriting the Kingdom of God (He repeats variations of this same list, with the same result, in GAL. 5:19-21; EPH. 5:3-7; COL. 3:5-10)? It suggests "everything is permissable" is a less than all-encompassing statement. In reality, the "everything is permissable" line is likely what those of the more libertine Corinthian element were repeating to themselves to justify the very behaviors Paul writes to bring back into line. It further suggests that when Paul speaks of things that are not beneficial, that have the power to master us, and that are not constructive (1 Cor. 10:23), he means that somethings are so incredibly lacking in benefit they can literally prevent us from inheriting the kingdom of God, somethings can control us to the extent we fail to inherit the kingdom, somethings are so de-constructive they can destroy our kingdom inheritance.

I appreciate Susan's comments regarding what Jesus tells or doesn't tell others is not our concern (and the comments by Wendy and Jon that dovetail it) to the extent they relate to "judging not so you won't be judged" and "not comparing ourselves among ourselves and between ourselves and by ourselves, etc.". However, I keep coming back to this immoral guy in ch. 5. I gotta think in his mind what he was doing, he thought it was "just fine by Jesus". In fact, he, and some of his friends, seem to have been proud of this freedom Jesus had given them to do whatever they wanted, morality or others opinions be damned. Paul had no problem saying, "Hey, buddy, that isn't just fine by Jesus. If you don't cut it out, you're going to lose your place in the kingdom." What this bro. was doing, where he was at was very much Paul's concern. I'm reminded of GAL. 6:1. Yes and amen to the gently, but to do what this v. says I need to look a bro. or sis. in the eye and say, "Hey, you aren't doing what Jesus told you to do." or "You're doing what Jesus told you not to do." I'm reminded of 1 Th. 5:14 which says I'm responsible to warn, enourage, and help. That means being concerned about Jesus is doing in their lives. I'm reminded of 2 Tim. 4:2. How was Timothy supposed to correct, rebuke or warn if he wasn't able to concern himself with what Jesus was or wasn't saying and doing in other's lives? How do we admonish one another, how do we teach one another, how do we genuinely exist in community if no one is ever allowed to say, "Hey, man, I love you to no end, but you're missing the boat about what Jesus has said and what he wants." The stories of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5), the immoral brother of 1 Cor. 5, Hymenaeus and Alexander (1 Tim. 1:20), the book of Philemon - all these suggest we have a huge responsibility to concern ourselves with what's going on in the lives of our brothers and sisters, and when and where necessary, to speak the truth in love.

Abuse, control, manipulation? You bet, it happens all over the place. Name it as such, avoid it, don't practice it. But let's be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water and minimize or delete the loving care and concern that involves taking responsibility for our bros. and sis. by being aware of what's going on in their lives and humbly saying and doing the hard things that may become necessary to point them toward the truth.

Susan said...

In one of my previous posts regarding the immoral man in 1 Corinthians 5 (Firstly there is the problem in 1 Corinthians 5 of the man presumably sleeping with his step-mother and perhaps the problem is more than that because Paul says v.2 "and you are proud!" and v.6 "your boasting is not good".)
I was actually trying to point out that the problem was more than with this man. I think Paul is telling the church – your boasting is not good and you are proud – and not the man concerned. I think this becomes even clearer when you read 2 Corinthians 2:4-9 and 7:8-13. Perhaps the church was boasting about its freedom which allowed this man to behave in this way.

I have been giving a lot of thought to, "everything is permissible for me but not everything is beneficial". It seems to be it is a bit like the difference between babies, children and adults. We accept behaviour from a baby that we wouldn't accept from a child or adult eg dribbling, wetting their pants. We accept behaviour from a child we wouldn't accept from an adult eg throwing temper tantrums. Likewise if baby Christians are behaving in ways which we consider "wrong" I think what we need to do is encourage them to grow up. We don't do this by pointing out that their behaviour is wrong but by encouraging and exhorting them to grow up in their faith and by seeking the Lord. If it is a long time Christian who is behaving in ways which we consider "wrong" then we need to wonder why they are behaving in this way. Is it because they are not maturing in their faith? Or is it because God has chosen them for a particular ministry which means they need to spend time in what we would consider questionable venues/habits?

Just as an example in our church we don't put anyone into any kind of leadership who is co-habiting but in every other way they are included. This is done because it is thought that they are immature in their faith.

Wendy ftfs said...

Wow, Trent,

Ribbing time again :-)

Suggests? What makes you so afraid of this statement? There is NO suggesting ....

All things ARE lawful to us... If the Son has set you free you are free indeed.... the point being that the Lord's sheep don't want to do things against the spirit of God...thus our freedom. The law of God is written on our hearts. We mess up sometimes ... we judge each other, we point fingers, we hurt each other by deciding that certain details that God wants for us, God wants for everyone... if you read Life in General, our friend Paul says we "truckle" LOL O wretched people that we are. The fact is that all of our lives have taken a different turn in the road... we are not clones. When we mess up, the Lord is waiting to pick us up, dust us off and we start again... our salvation is not at risk... NOTHING can separate us from the Love of God and He promises that He will complete the work that He has begun in us. Again we are not clones, although churches will try to make everyone look alike ...lol This is not God's kingdom... all our life experiences bring us to varying places of ministry ... Trent, there are places where, because of who the Lord has made you, you are unable to minister in as effectively as someone who has experienced life differently than you. There may be freedoms they take that are comfortable for them that are not for you in their area of ministry.

I'm not sure that Jon is talking about those immoral things that
1 Cor 5 is ... Paul certainly isn't... all things are not profitable is a balance as Jon says. Think... Love ... don't do something that will harm your brother or sister but don't get all boggled up with petty rules either...

commentary on 1 Cor 10:23 from biblegateway ...
According to this advice of the apostle, Christians should take care not to use their liberty to the hurt of others, or to their own reproach. In eating and drinking, and in all we do, we should aim at the glory of God, at pleasing and honouring him. ..... directs us where EXPRESS RULES ARE WANTING. A holy, peaceable, and benevolent spirit, will disarm the greatest enemies.

Wendy ftfs said...

oops sorry got the two same type scriptures mixed here ...

no worry 1Cor 6 IS talking about sexual immorality and being careful to keep ourselves free of that ... if a man does slip up as we hear of church leaders doing often enough ...and then there is that old porn stuff that our men get caught up in... lol pickin' on the men here.... as one of God's sheep the consequences are there and the Lord knows the hearts .... there is restoration for all truckling for the sheep.

I guess we'll get to freedom and 1 Cor 10:23 later.

jON said...

one of the reasons i wanted to study 1 corinthians. after so much emphasis on freedom, i wanted to read about the church paul wanted to temper. yet, recognizing that this is the man who said, "to the pure all things are pure."

and once again, this man whom paul was getting down on had violated the specific and explicit teaching of scripture on sexual immorality. without extrapolating one bit, there is a specific verse that you can point to that actually says, "You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife; it is your father’s nakedness."

but yet, should we also recognize that jesus gave the keys to the kingdom to us? he said, "...whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” isn't it possible that there are two different principles at work here? since the apostles in acts decided to bring sexual immorality along as one of the few "rules" that people should adhere to, wouldn't it be according to the bible's definition? as well as anything additional added by your conscience before god? yet, not to add your conscience to another. for, "why should my freedom be judged by another's conscience?"

Trent said...

I have to say I'm in general agreement with alot of what Susan, Wendy and Jon say in response to my "suggestive" post. I don't see alot of disparity.

At the same time, while I agree Paul was concerned with the Corinthian church and it's willingness to ignore, if not actually accept this man's sin, it isn't the local body - the Corinthian church - that's being expelled from the larger Bod of Christ - it's the man in question. Paul appears very concerned about this individual and it's the individual who's bearing the brunt of being turned over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh.

Wendy, you and I will have to part company on issues related to Calvin's perseverance of the saints, eternal security, etc. While I respect the viewpoint, it's historical place - stretching back to Augustine, at least in some sense - I believe salvation can be lost, frittered away, renounced, etc. The warnings of Heb. 1-6 pretty much sum it up for me. I'm not asking you to agree with me, just expressing a difference of opinion that obviously is going to color how I perceive Paul's warnings about not inheriting the kingdom in 1 Cor. 6.

Finally, while Jon is understandably and correctly sensitive to the idea of anybody judging anybody else, it is pretty hard to escape 1 COR. 5:12 where Paul explicitly claims for himself, and for the C/church, the right to judge those inside the C/church. I think that's the sort of "righteous judgment" Susan's church exercises in denying certain leadership roles to people living together without benefit of marriage. It's a judgment - the congregation is saying, "Sorry, that doesn't measure up to what God has called his people to be." -but one with scriptural authority and one lovingly intended to bring about change, growth, progress, maturity in the lives of those in question. Again, it's my contention it is impossible to legitimately, lovingly, humbly fulfill scriptural charges to warn, admonish, teach, rebuke, correct bros. and sis. in Christ, without a measure of righteous judgment and without a time and place of saying and doing the hard thing that people in our current society of libertine, anti-authoritarian conviction tend to abhor.

jON said...

taking the weekend to relax, enjoy, and adventure. hope you can do the same. see you on monday.

Wendy ftfs said...

Trent .. it is the job of church leadership to warn ... but warn of what? Spiritual danger... the following of demons and turning away from the spirit of God ... this is most important..although I don't understand how once you have fallen in love with the Lord one is able to do that. There is none like Him. Noone else can touch my heart like He does...I could search for all eternity long and find, there is none like Jesus. Hallelujah.. :-)

You must agree though that there is much pettyness going on and too many leaders picking at people and placing heavy burdens on them for petty things. Things that will drop off when Love is allowed to teach and fill. God is love. The sheep are always led to fullness and fruitfulness when they are loved not harped at. The Holy Spirit teaches each believer... the leadership needs to lead gently and lovingly and protectively. The leadership are actually servants to the sheep... not some of the blow hards we see today being served 'til their bellies hang over their belt. There will be great resistance otherwise as the sheep know the Master's voice and they know whether they are being loved or used or trounced on or simply not respected for being the children of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords... Or heaven forbid being used to just provide a living for someone.
King David is with the Lord but he committed first degree murder to cover up his adultery and he had known the Spirit of God all his life... Noah got drunk... but he was a man who obeyed the Spirit of God.
But this that you are referring to? This is far more serious stuff than getting drunk and committing murder... or porn or smoking etc... this is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit ... and this is what you need to be warning about. This is where the wolves lie.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 6
4For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is mpossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.
1 Timothy 4
1But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth....

We have seen some of these wolves already and there will be more.

Parting company, Trent? I'm heartbroken ! You just barely got here? Calvin and Augustine ... :-) I especially like St Augustine but, alas, I really think he would be the first to tell you his teachings are no substitute for the Word of God. If you will read more carefully in 1 Cor 6 it is the unrighteous "do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?" The man that was being handed over to Satan was a justified by faith believer gone awry. Read here
1 Cor 5 "I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his SPIRIT may be SAVED in the day of the Lord Jesus." Now if this man repents ... the Lord will have mercy on him and his BODY will perhaps be restored. Depends totally on the King and it is not our business what the Lord does with our brothers and sisters...our job is to love each other not point fingers and decide who needs picking at today. Our God is merciful beyond belief. His love has no end to those that love him and his blessings go to a thousand generations....Deuteronomy somewhere.,,, this is the very reason our nations are blessed ..I hope we aren't getting to the end of the thousand generations of our forefathers any time soon... There is no fear in love ... perfect love casts out fear....
An admonishment to ALL of us ....
Matthew 5:20
For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
Is 58:9
"If you remove the yoke from your midst,the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, And if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
Then your light will rise in darkness. And your gloom will become like midday. "And the LORD will continually guide you,..."

Susan said...

Paul appears very concerned about this individual.

Actually I think Paul is more concerned that the church gave this man the wrong impression and the only way to correct his wrong impression was to expel him for a time. 2 Corinthians 7:12 "So even though I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one who did the wrong or of the injured party." 2 Corinthians 2:6-9 "The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. The reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything." (Not all commentators think these passages in 2 Corinthians refer to the man in 1 Corinthians 5. But even if it refers to someone else, it still sounds like Paul is concerned about whether the church "would stand the test".)

Therefore I don't think we can use 1 Corinthians 5 as a model on how to deal with immoral people within the church but rather I think we need to think/pray about each individual situation as they arise.

Susan said...

To clarify further, if the church had been behaving in a responsible way they may have been able to deal with the immoral brother is a less public, less confrontational way.

Trent said...

Hey, Wendy, thanks for the intensive and extensive commentary. I will get back to you on that, but just don't have the time at the moment. However, Susan, I would agree with you - if the Corinthian church was handling itself better, the situation with the immoral brother would likely have not reached the point it did. I would also agree that 1 COR. 5 is not a template for any and all inter-congregational discipline. Every situation is different. Mt. 18:15-17 comes much closer to being a template, but even then has to be applied with wisdom and discernment in each individual case. 1 Cor. 5 is "an extreme case" scenario to be sure. The bottom line with any disciplinary action taken by church leadership, from the most subtle conversation to a full-blown "turning over to Satan", is a motivation of redemptive love - desiring to see the bro. or sis. straying into sin return to a place of healthy relationship with God and moving on toward maturity in Christ.

Wendy ftfs said...

Awesome Susan ... I have seen a very extreme case of sin exposed in a church I was in ... it was as serious as the one in 1 Cor 5 ... the several people were dealt with with great love by the leadership of this church ... these people had to deal with the repercussions in their own lives but they were kept in fellowship if they wanted to be there ... the pastor and his wife together were great lovers of people and of each other. I have kept this as my standard by which people should be dealt with ... and have not seen it handled as well since being under their care.

Well Trent ... it's nice to see you've decided to give me another chance.... :-)
Question ... just what kinds of sins do you and your sheep herders get all bothered about? Because it seems to vary from church to church.
Do you just stick to the evils the bible talks about or do you branch off into things the bible does not address at all?

Wendy ftfs said...

The tendency in legalistic religion is to mistrust God, to mistrust others and consequently to mistrust ourselves. Allow me to become personal for a moment. Do you really believe that the Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is gracious, that He cares about you? Do you really believe that He is always, unfailingly, present to you as companion and support? Do you really believe that God is love?

Or have you learned to fear this loving and gracious Father? "In love," John says, "there is no fear, for fear is driven out by perfect love. Fear has to do with punishment and anyone who is afraid is still imperfect in love." (1 John 4:18 ) Have you learned to think of the Father as the judge, the spy, the disciplinarian, the punisher? If you think that way you are wrong.

The Father's love is revealed in the Son's. The son has been given to us that we might give up fear. There is no fear in love. The Father sent the Son "that you might have life -- life in all its fullness." John 10:10. Is not the Son the Father's insurpassable sign of love and graciousness? Did he not come to show us the Father's compassionate care for us?

Wendy ftfs said...

Oops above quote from
The Ragamuffin Gospel
by Brennan Manning
p. 75

Trent said...

Hi Wendy - to clarify - when I said you and I would have to part company on Calvin's perseverance of the saints, I didn't mean in the sense of fellowship or blog-related interaction. It was simply a recognition of the fact we see this particular theological issue in very different ways, and that as such, we're going to have very different perspectives at times regarding the implications thereof. Again, I fully respect your views and recognize their legitimacy within the overall theological framework of the Church. I, however, am more inclined to follow the lead of Arminius, the Wesleys, and Thomas Oden. I suppose we could engage in a protracted point/counter-point discussion of the two views. However, upon reflection, I wonder how much real value there would be for either of us, or any of this blog's readers, in such an exercise. So, please forgive me if I don't follow up on my original promise to respond at length concerning the Arminian view of perseverance.

On another note however, as to the types of sins I and other congregational leaders would seek to address in the lives of congregants, I think the Pauline lists adressed in 1 Cor. 6, Gal. 5, Eph. 5, and Col. 3 are indicative of the sorts of things that place people in grave spiritual danger. These are the sorts of things that elicit words of caution, warning, if necessary, corretion and rebuke. Over the years we have addressed not only sexually-related sins, but financial greed and manipulation, deception/manipulation issues, destructive alcohol and drug abuse, and issues related to inordinate, destructive spiritual pride and delusion (people attemtping to "minister" out of immaturity and self-aggrandizement to the hurt of others in the body). In most cases, these issues have been dealt with very quietly, with no more than a handful aware of what is transpiring and the individual(s) in question able to participate and function within the body in a more or less "normal" way. Our experience has been that those who are resistant to even the "lowest", most informal levels of discipline (a small, small minority, by the way) rarely remain in fellowship long enough to work through a more formalized process of discipline. There's just too many other places they can go and start over, keeping their baggage under wraps, at least for awhile. We do not live in a culture, not even a church culture, where many value community to the point of being willing to be disciplined within community as part of the process of being molded and shaped by the Holy Spirit. When "love" becomes defined solely in terms of acceptance, with no recognition that love is also the sole motivator of any and all true discipline (Heb. 12:7-11), it becomes easy for people to hide behind "you don't really love me" claims that are then used to justify non-response to discipline, and, in some cases, to retro-justify the sinful behavior itself.

To further clarify, our body does not seek to discipline people for theological differences that fall within the parameters of historical Christian faith. We have Calvinists and Arminians under our roof, people who believe you have to speak in tongues to truly be filled with the Holy Spirit and people who believe you are as full of the Holy Spirit as you're ever going to get the moment you confess Christ, people who are pre-, mid-, post- trib in their eschatology, maybe even an amillenialist or two (It's those dang Calvinists again, don't you know.). We have people from Lutheran, Baptist, Catholic, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Charismatic, conservative, liberal and altogether no-church backgrounds. We attempt to major on the majors and minor on the minors. If you want to start talking about how the Bible is unreliable, or how Jesus was just a good man, or how salvation is linked to how many good works you accomplish in a given 24 hr. period, yes, leadership is going to respond to those sorts of clear-cut errors, but there's a great breadth of belief and conviction in our congregation, and we'd prefer to keep it that way.

I hope this helps answer your question, Wendy. If not, ask for more specific detail, I'll do my best to share.

Wendy ftfs said...

Whew! I'm actually relieved that you are not going to go there, Trent... that kind of conversing is, as Ecclesiastes says, vanity but then it says that everything here is LOL

One thing though, I DO believe in perseverance SIMPLY because that's what the scriptures teach....but even the strength to persevere is not our own, that no man may glory... He lifts and makes us more than conquerors... we don't do that ourselves or in our own strength.
It is His unconditional Love that keeps us like a good parent to a child. Only He is by far more loving than we ever could be. More gracious, more forgiving. Perfect.

I believe people pick words to use for reasons that are in their heart.
Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
Luke 6:36 "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.....
The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart."

Words are very important ... they relate to every one around us what kind of person we are.

You used the word "fritters" in relation to what people do with the Lord's salvation. We fritter away our time and we fritter away our money sometimes but when it comes to salvation there is no frittering... yes there is a sin that is unforgivable and there will be loss of relationship with God but it is not done by frittering... it is done with eyes open and complete understanding of the fullness of God...it is done by one who understands ... who knows and has tasted deeply of the great love of God and looks Him in the face and says, "I don't want you anymore."
It is not done out of ignorance
...it is not done mistakenly... our Lord is just... he does not take back a free gift...it is given back to Him. An unrepentent heart.
Do I understand this? No, I don't... but Lucifer did it and I guess I shouldn't be surprised that it occurs. I'm not sure that I want to know who has done that in their heart ... again it is not my concern as the Lord calls me to love all in my path, even my enemies.

I don't think you should be putting that "fear" in people's hearts of losing something the Lord has freely given them and making them wonder if they have committed the unpardonable. You take away great freedom of love among believers as they become fearful instesd of bold to tell others the Good News.... this is where we fail in churches...we lose sight of the whole reason we are together which is to love one another and share this great love with those who will receive it. Unconditional love, Trent. This requires our leaders to walk more intimately and humbly with Jesus ... that's not happening today. I'd like to hear what your opinion is on unconditional love... I had this conversation with a friend of mine not long ago and true to form, as the Lord always is, circumstances have surfaced to put that conversation we had in the refining pot. LOL

What I hear out there, when I listen, is all the sincere hurts people have had while going to church and those are mainly love issues. Betrayals, slights, finger pointers galore... hired hands as shepherds. I just had a conversation on Sunday in the bathroom, a woman who was relatively new to the congregation who was being harrassed by some other woman in the church with tithing videos! She felt pressured and wanted to leave. So there is the other side of the coin, Trent. The sheep are intelligent, they have the mind of Christ and when Jesus isn't allowed to lead His own bride inside the walls of the present day church she simply will not stay where HE IS NOT. And contrary to the opinion of some, Jesus still meets them where they are and loves them anyway because he looks on our hearts. I can't express to you the amount of love and joy and talent and money that is being withheld from churches today for these reasons.

What have you got to say about that? And I would appreciate it if you would put all fleshly defensiveness aside when you answer me. This is a very real problem today. Not everyone outside the church walls are unbelievers ...

Trent said...

Wendy, I would say, yes, everything you say happens in the Church, happens in the Church. It always has - other than perhaps during the brief, post-Pentecost situation we read about in Acts 2-5. Even then, by the time we come to Acts 6, we've got people fighting over who gets fed what and when and the need for increased organizational structure to ensure the effective meeting of needs. If the early Church had been perfect, Paul would have never written the letters he did to Corinth, to the Galatian churches, or to Timothy, Titus and Philemon. We wouldn't have Rev. 2 or 3, either, not to mention Hebrews or James. All of these were written because the Church, not more than a generation removed from Jesus, was already screwing up. Why? Because, people, even God's people, redeemed and empowered and enabled by the Holy Spirit, are still people. We say and do the wrong things for the wrong reasons. We treat others poorly. Why is it the NT writers found it necessary to remind readers over and over again to simply love one another? Because we so often don't.

This is not meant as an apologetic or excuse for the abuses of the modern Church and/or Church leadership in general or for those of any particular church or leadership, it is simply the reality. The fact you were in that bathroom to hear that woman's story and to encourage her indicate you haven't given up on the Church quite yet, either. And for that I'm thankful, as I have no sense God has given up on the Church.

We recognize abuse, name it as such, whether we are the perpetrators, or others. We attempt by word and deed to serve as a means whereby God's Kingdom can truly be established in our community, in its inter relationships and in its outreach to the broader world. As we seek to grow in personal intimacy with God and in the development of a life and lifestyle that reflects his person and priorities, we seek to be a part of seeing the same things happen corporately in the body. There are victories and there are failures, but there is the overarching confidence that God is about the business of preparing and purifying a bride, the Church, for an eternal relationship.

As to unconditional love, quite simply it is always, without exception, without waver, desiring the absolute best - from a Kingdom perspective - for a person, and seeking when and where and how it is possible to be a part of helping that person experience and pursue that "best". There is no intention of instilling fear or manipulation in the discipline it offers - and genuine, unconditional love does include a disciplinary component. There are times when the lack of accountability, mutuality and discipline are nothing less than a lack of love.

As to issues of perseverance, I'm a bit surprised to hear such dogmatic pronouncements from anyone on this blog that isn't me :), but apparently you've determined with absolute certainty what scripture says on the issue, all other perspectives be damned. I can assure you, tho from your post I'm not so sure you will believe me, that "fear" of losing salvation is nothing I experience personally, and nothing my interaction in the body produces in others. My emphasis on assurance of salvation is pretty strong, as is that of most Arminians, Wesleyans, etc. There are a few fringe groups who feel the need to "get saved" on a moment to moment basis. I consider these no more, or no less, aberrant in their practice than those hyper-Calvinists I've met who prayed a pray 12 years ago, have continued to live like the devil's best friend, but are nevertheless, "sure they're going to heaven when they die", fruit or no fruit, relationship or no relationship.

As to "defensiveness", well, it seems to me there's plenty of defensiveness to go around on this point :), but then, we all have things to defend, don't we?

jON said...

i agree with 99% of everything you just said. thank you for saying it. to emphasize what i enjoyed about your comment would be to reprint it all over again. so why bother?

the only thing i would like to draw out is, i believe, the crux of our ongoing conversation which started several months ago in another place.

"...and nothing my interaction in the body produces in others." this is what i have been trying to communicate all along. your interactions with me as of late have produced this very thing.

i do not know exactly why, i'm sure you would say it's an accountability thing, but that's not it. and i know it's not you or your motivations because i KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are moved "without exception, without waver, desiring the absolute best - from a Kingdom perspective - for a person(ME), and seeking when and where and how it is possible to be a part of helping that person experience and pursue that "best"." no doubt about that whatsoever.

but for some reason, after we chat about things, i am left with a ubiquitous despair and depression and nihlism. i know that you do not want to be a party to something like that in my life, nor do i wish for you to be party to something like that in my life. which is why i am trying so hard to explain to you that, for whatever reason, that is the result of these conversations at THIS POINT in my life.

sometimes people need to spend time in the desert. alone with the master. it is necessary. and who knows? when someone leaves the desert, they might just be wearing camel hair and baptising. or they could be calling down fire from heaven to lap up water and a sacrifice. or they might just destroy the works of the devil and set us all free.

in my study of desert experiences, it is worth the patience to wait to see what comes next. let the master do what he will and assemble things as HE will.

for some reason, i am not hearing you and you are not hearing me. i do not believe this is of the enemy, i believe it is of the lord for a season. i KNOW you want to help and be a part of my life, which is why i asked for prayer. for we can ALL agree that "The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much."

ask for wisdom. ask for guidance. ask for truth. ask for humility. ask for love. ask for obedience. ask for fearlessness. ask for growth. ask for supplies. ask for healing. ask for unity. ask for community. this is just a brief list of what we need right now.

much love, jON

Wendy ftfs said...

Trent,
You didn't answer my question ...
Here it is again...
I can't express to you the amount of love and joy and talent and money that is being withheld from churches today for these reasons.

What have you got to say about that? And I would appreciate it if you would put all fleshly defensiveness aside when you answer me.
This is a very real problem today. Not everyone outside the church walls are unbelievers ...

Trent said...

Jon, I'm sorry to hear of the nihilistic, despairing response my participation in this blog has produced for you. As you say, it has not been, and certainly is not, my motivation, and in many cases, not a product of the actual content of my communication. I have some opinions as to the source of your feelings which I will keep to myself, at least for now, but I hope this will suffice: I am also responsible to respond to what I sense the Holy Spirit calling me to do.

I'm not a big blog fan. I grew disillusioned with this form of interpersonal communication about 5 minutes after being introduced to it, those feelings arising from an overarching disillusionment with most if not all e-com. I'm not here out of a passion to participate in a blog group - tho I certainly have enjoyed the interaction with not only yourself, but others. I am here because, at least for now, I feel the Holy Spirit wants me to be. If that changes, I won't be here, but until it does, I hope you can respect that.

Wendy, a short answer. Yes, what you say is true. How do I feel about it? It pisses me off. I'm not happy about it. In the context of the congregation in which I participate, I attempt to be a source of light and truth that serves to counteract these realities in hopes of presenting a body that is attractive to the outside world, believer or non-believer, for all the right reasons, namely it's loving, healing, redemptive atmosphere.

Let me ask you a question, and then I'll provide you a longer, story form answer to your question. The situation with the woman in the bathroom - is the leadership of your congregation aware of the "harasser"? If so, are they taking legitimate, loving steps to confront her about her behavior? If they're not aware of her, do you have any responsibility to inform them of the impact of her actions (without becoming a gossip or a talebearer)?If this is not an option, do you have any responsibility to go to this "harasser" and attempt to speak the truth in love to her yourself? Is this not what James 5:19-20 is all about? You may be very pro-active in all the above, and if so, my hat is off to you because you're not just a run of the mill complainer, you're seeking to be positive, Spirit-led part of the problem's solution. I hope this is true, because personally, over the years, I've become weary of those who spend great amounts of time listing all the problems and shortcomings of the Church - I can do that for myself until Jesus comes or death do us part - but expend very little time and energy being an active, Spirit-led part of the solution. This isn't intended to infer this is you. From the tone of your posts, I would assume you to be a very pro-active, Spirit-led sort of person who is very involved in the personal investment of shining light and speaking truth.

Now, some stories:

14 years ago a couple came to our congregation. Both had epilepsy. They left their former congregation because of increasing pressure that the wife was not sufficiently "involved" in church life. Many days, this woman has all she can do to function with a degree of normalcy. This pressure was ungodly harrasment. These people are still with us today. We have stood by them through a mastectomy, medical adventures too numerous to describe, and long-term unemployment. We have payed their rent, their bills on numerous occasions and attempted to be a family how, when and where they've needed.

13 years a family came into our congregation. They had been driven out of a congregation where they had attended for 5 or 6 years because some of the ladies of the church didn't like the way this woman taught Sunday School. These people came to us a mass of open wounds, bitter, angry, grieved, and paranoid as hell. Today that woman sits on our board of trustees. Her husband is our summer groundskeeper and one of our van drivers. Their family still bears the scars of the abuse they encountered, but mom and dad have become increasingly whole and healed people, their lives slowly but surely opening up to enjoy the give and take of body life.

9 years ago a middle aged guy came to our congregation. He's an alcoholic. He had been trying to do "the church thing", but when he fell off the wagon and lost his job, that congregation showed him the door. The guy was suicidal the first time I spoke with him. I have met with this guy on an almost weekly basis for prayer and study over these past years. In that time, he's fallen off the wagon twice, and been convicted of minor physical abuse of his young daughter. I've picked him up at the Ramsey Co. jail at 2 am. I've visited him in the co. workhouse. I've driven him to AA and court-mandated treatment meetings because he no longer has a license. At present, this guy serves as one of our head ushers, and is my good friend.

7 years ago a young woman showed up at a Wed. evening prayer and study time. She was unmarried, living with a long-term partner, had a child with him and another on the way. She was immediately enfolded by our congregation. In short order she had a made a commitment to Christ. With no urging from anyone that I'm aware of, she broke off her relationship with her partner shortly thereafter as it became apparent he had no time for "religion" and wasn't going to accept this new direction in her life. In the process her mother, who had been living with her partner for 20 years or more, also began attending with us and renewed her faith commitment. In short, order her partner had done the same, and at no urging from anyone I'm aware of, they determined it was time to get married. Today, the young woman is married to a great guy and they are actively involved in our congregation. She is one of my wife's good friends.

5 years ago a woman in her early 30s came to our congregation. She was struggling with drug addiction and had formerly spent time as a prostitute. We invested significant time, energy and money in helping her get on her feet. A young couple in the body donated her a car. Two days later she sold the car for money to blow on crack. Myself and an elder of the congregation drove to the crack house in the Dayton's Bluff area of St. Paul, got her out, and started over. After more time, money, and energy invested getting her back on her feet, she abruptly left for Florida. A year later, she was back. She was welcomed with open arms, and with the material support she needed to re-establish herself in the city. While she maintained sobriety, and made spiritual progress, several life crisis situations in a row caused her to push the flight button again, and she left, owing more than $500 the congregation had loaned her. 18 mos. later, she was back again. She was welcomed. Time, energy and money were invested to help her get on her feet. She was provided a no-interest loan to buy transporation for work. She is currently a stable, productive person living for Jesus in her world. She attends another congregation at this time, but is faithfully repaying her loan and in regular contact with leadership and friends here in our congregation.

3 years ago a family came to our congregation. They were extremely conservative, home schooling charismatic Lutheran Baptists (!). They had left their former congregation because of what they felt was a gossipy, divisive spirit (This may, or may not have been the case). These can be difficult people. They're rigid, tend to be judgmental, can be knee jerk and hair trigger in their reactions. They're a sort of 50s throw back to Ozzie and Harriet in a congregation where we maybe one other family that even remotely looks like that. When we recognized a woman to our eldership, they withdrew their membership application. But they are loved and accepted and an active part of our body.

2 years ago a family came to our congregation. Their oldest son has kernicterus (think really bad cerebral palsy). They told of several churches they had attended in the Twin Cities that had politely, but firmly asked them to leave for a variety of reasons, most of them coming back to the fact that their son's "noises" were a distraction during service. We're a small congregation. We don't have a lot of special needs resources for this family or their son. But we love them. We love their son. We can deal with his "noises" - let everything that has breath... - These people with their incredibly harried and difficult lives - they've just went through a kidney transplant with their younger son, mom being the donor - are a part of our family, valued, appreciated, and increasingly involved.

These stories aren't notches on a belt. If anyone suggests so, I will become very defensive (even a little offensive). These are people, people wounded and beat up by former congregations. I won't sit in judgment on those bodies, other than to say, in these particular cases, they need to consider how and where they've failed. But these people, these people I've described to you are my family, my friends, my loved ones, my care and concern, my passion and desire.

If you want to know, Wendy, "what I have to say about that", I'll let these actions speak for me. If that's interpreted as defensiveness, there's not much I can do about that. These stories are not meant to initiate a competition as to whose doing what for the kingdom, or to play some sort of one upsmanship game. They are intended to let you know how I feel about how some congregations treat people, how our congregation tries to treat people, and what I think unconditional love looks like. We can talk until the cows come home, but ultimately, actions speak louder - James 2:14-26.

Love and peace to all...

Wendy ftfs said...

From the tone of your posts, I would assume you to be a very pro-active, Spirit-led sort of person who is very involved in the personal investment of shining light and speaking truth. :-)

Thank you, Trent. You and I have come a long way... LOL

And I have enjoyed your stories keeping in mind that you have not revealed any failures... I admire the spirit with which you have chased us here to Jon's blog... but the truth of the moment is ... you are about to lose your brother Jon and his dear family because of some minor disagreements as to what is moral and what is not... it seems to me you agree on the big picture. There is hope for some compromise and working together here. In other words love and respect for each other.

We have discussed an important issue re: the nation not joining in worship time ... the present day church has built a pristine environment that they themselves can't live up to... the sheep outside of the church see this and opt to live in freedom outside those walls. This way they can live in peace and by the conscience that the Holy Spirit gives and they don't have to feel condemned by those around them with perfectly fitted halos. They are part of the church... the bride... some don't know it yet.
The way I see things from prayer and listening to you both, you are looking a gift horse in the mouth LOL whatever that means :-)
Jon is willing to see these lost and gunshy sheep with the eyes of love, not condemning them for their sin and is willing to go where they are and bring them in. You are putting up a wall of resistance to the harvest that Jon, in his youth, is able to accomplish. He is a happily married man and a compassionate father who has done the best for his son... life has not been easy for him... no floating along ... struggle. He has been prepared to go where you have not been called and prepared for, for your calling is different but no less important, and bring in the lost. Are you not ready for who he will bring to you?
Stop and listen ... the Lord is doing a new thing ...

Trent said...

Well, Wendy, it's no surprise we will have to agree to disagree once again. My experience of "sheep outside the walls" is that 90%+ of them are people in transition. They've been in a local church body, and they will be in a local church body again, whether in a matter of months, or a matter of years. They have issues they're working through, internal, external, but the Holy Spirit's draw to the body of Christ will win out. It's my further observation that the remainder who become determined, hard line, "I'll never set foot in church again." sorts almost invariably develop an unorthodox, if not altogether heretical theology to justify their non-fellowshiping ways to themselves and others. Heb. 10:25 is not a difficult v. to understand or interpret. "Assemble" speaks of gathering together in a corporate body for specific purposes, in this case, worship, fellowship, ministry, etc. That the v. is in the imperative mood underscores that it was written not as a suggestion, but as a command.

I may be way off on this, and if so, abundant and overflowing apologies in advance, but if by "sheep outside the walls" you are speaking from a Calvinist/Reformed perspective of those already pre-ordained and elect to be sovereignly included in the kingdom who just don't know it yet, well, sorry, that's not a theological perspective I find endorsed in scripture, tho I understand fully you would see this point differently. People outside of relationship with Christ are lost - outside the kingdom - until they're in a grace-inspired, saving, Holy Spirit-sealed, faith relationship with Jesus.

As to Jon and I, he knows he's loved and always welcome in my life, the life of my family, and the life of our spiritual family. I feel welcome in his, as well, even if my presence here does make him a little uncomfortable. The hug we shared last Monday night after my daughter's high school graduation was sincere as far as I can tell. Don't worry, Wendy, just pray.

On another note, have you ever thought of becoming a preacher
:-)...?

Wendy ftfs said...

LOL No, Trent I have never thought of that, ever. LOL

I was raised by a believing mother and father but we were not church goers ... they lived their life freely and without condemnation nor any guilt laid upon them by a church body. The leadership of a church was very important to my Mom especially as she was very perceptive about people ... and when we moved to a new town where we were not welcomed with open arms by the church denomination that my parents were affiliated with,
we did not go to church anymore. So from the time I was 9, I did not attend church at all. All through the rest of my growing up years I lived freely and by my own conscience, which I know now was the Holy Spirit. I did all kinds of cool and not so cool things and learned not to look down my nose at anyone. I grew up without fear. We were taught in my Mom's simple faith that Jesus was a very present help in time of trouble. Do unto others as you would have them do to you. We were taught as kids never to hold grudges against each other and always always forgive. That's all I really knew, that Jesus died on the cross and was there when I needed Him. I know Him better now, but the point is, it was enough. You, in the state you are in, with your Calvinism, Armeniism and whatever other mere men's teachings are in your head other than the pure word of God, would have looked at my family and thought us to be lost because we weren't in church. LOL No, we weren't ever lost. And, may I interject that if we were thought to be so lost, where were the spirit filled people to come to our door and lead us to church to meet Jesus...I knew lots of church goers and even pastors kids... no invite ever... I didn't know they were supposed to do that. I just thought, cool they go to church, we don't ...it was never a big deal. Neither did I feel guilty about it. LOL LUDICROUS... Jesus meets every seeking heart exactly where they are even on death row and in the gutter with their last dying breath ... Did the thief on the cross have time to go to the synagogue? LOLOLOL He revealed Himself to me more fully when I was 20 years old as I hitchhiked alone one night down a major highway going home ... I hadn't been in a church for years. So there blows your theory. I also didn't attend church until a year later. I also don't attend church regularly now as my job does not permit it and if I miss church on a day when I can go, there is no fuss from the Lord as to why I didn't get there... He affirms His love to me always because I belong to Him, I am His temple... He is more concerned about my relationship with Him than anything else because He is the Lover of my soul. The bride is everywhere even among those who do not go to church very often, or at all. He is merciful and compassionate and understands the hearts of all people.

I would say your experience of sheep outside the walls is almost nil. Why don't you start getting to know every single person on the face of the earth and then you would be as great as God himself. LOL
Sorry Trent, I know that was a bit cheeky but said with Love.

"That the v. is in the imperative mood underscores that it was written not as a suggestion, but as a command."

You are really hung up on rules, Trent. Then do you follow these two?

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus.
"Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
"What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"

He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

"You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."

They really are, the only two, that really matter.

So are you going to stand before God who loves me and is my defender and risk pointing your finger at me for not attending church every Sunday??? LOL I double dare ya...

Trent said...

Wendy, with all due respect, your experience is not the norm. It is your experience and is valid as such. I have no problem with it. As to your not attending church every Sunday, I guess I'm a bit hard pressed to see where in anything I've posted I've suggested that's a "rule". As I do accept ALL the Bible as God's Word, I do take Heb. 10:25 seriously, as I would guess you do, as well.

I'm sorry to have pressed so many of your buttons, and do hope, that in proving to be a rather defensive person yourself, you might, in the future, be a little more gracious to those who show themselves to be defensive :-)

Wendy ftfs said...

LOL

ok, truce ...

We do agree on this, though... it would be nice to see more people joining in worship. Church bodies need to pray fervently with tears for our governments and our people ...

Trent said...

To that, Wendy, I can only say yes and amen. The Church's lack of impact - pick any and every facet of society/culture you can name - is in direct correlation to it's lack of prayer, petition, intercession, and subsequent reliance on the Holy Spirit's presence, power, and answer to those prayers. We all need to pray to the Lord of the harvest and then prepare to be part of the answer.