Yes, Good Morning.
Listen: in Wednesday's post, I made reference to posting on the same subject at my own blog, and I made good on that by posting not once, but twice. And in those posts, most of this has been covered.
However, many of you have not read those posts. (So much for my memo pad, Dan.) And you have e-mailed me about your situation -- which I never have any problem with -- and have told me that I have gone too far. For example, some of you have left pseudo-Christian cults where they have "pastors" and "churches" and "elders" and a "congregation" after you had realized, through reading the Bible, that these cults (Mormonism, JWs, Oneness, Unitarians, etc.) were defaming God with their false teaching. Doesn't my post overlook that?
Well: no. I said don't leave your church, not "don't leave your cult." For the record, those of you who were baptized in those organizations ought to think about whether you have ever even been legitimately baptized. Leaving those organizations for a church is not the same thing as leaving a church with an orthodox confession of faith over even grave matters where some are denying that confession. Matthew 18 applies in that situation; it doesn't apply if you are worship a guy from the planet Kolob any more than it applies to those who worshipped Zeus or refused to accept Jesus as the Messiah of whom the Prophets foretold.
Some are e-mailing me and saying, "Cent, my pastor wouldn't listen to me." That's a fair concern: does Matthew 18 stop there? Your obligation doesn't stop just because he won't live up to his -- but if you cannot get a fair hearing, made in love and not as a lynch mob, because the institution is standing in the way of the Biblical method of resolution, you should consider yourself turned out -- and do what seems right if they don't want you around. But you have an obligation to find out if that's what's going on. You're not leading an inquisition if you know others agree with you and you approach the matter with humility and, frankly, a heavy heart.
And others are confused over why one would want to stay and "cause trouble." Listen: I didn't say "stay and cause trouble." Matthew 18 doesn't say "stay and cause trouble." It says "get reconciled to your brother." Most people see that as one of the "easy" teachings of Jesus, but that's one of the hardest teachings of Jesus. You stay because you are seeking to be reconciled to your brother.
Think about that, please. In Matthew 18, it doesn't say, "If your brother has done you wrong, wait for him to bring it up because it's only a decent apology if he engages you first -- and if he doesn't bring it up but instead keeps doing it, book." It says, "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother." You go and make your case in order to gain him back.
I am sure there are other questions which are going to come up about this -- some have even accused me of making an unbiblical case, but of course those people didn't actually provide me with the Biblical one (yet -- some of them may be working on that, especially after post #2 at my blog). Feel free to keep the discussion open, but also remember that these posts don't occur in a vacuum. I'm still the same guy who said all the other things I have said in time and space, and you have to take some of that into consideration when you start with the "whaddabouts".
Thanks. Be with the Lord's people in the Lord's house on the Lord's day this week, and try to make it right with them. Ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.