18 March 2009

Put it in Order

by Frank Turk
This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you - if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
Last time we were in Paul's letter to Titus, we discussed briefly that it's not really up to you, dear pastor, to decide what you're going to do as a pastor. You don't get to write your own job description. In the same way Paul left Titus for a reason in Crete, you are in your local church for a reason -- and that reason is described for you in Scripture.

The first reason, then, here in Scripture is to put things in order. For Titus, he had an unruly bunch of no-account Cretans to sort out -- and you, unfortunately, have an unruly bunch of no-account [insert your local community here] to sort out.

Now, I have committed to myself (due to my limited time these days to blog) to keep these posts short, but here's a short list of things Paul probably meant by "putting what remained in order":
  • Silencing the insubordinate (Titus 1:10-11)
  • Teaching all kinds of people how to behave (Titus 2:1)
  • Rebuking with all authority (Titus 2:15)
  • Obeying rulers and authorities (Titus 3:1)
There are more examples, of course, but I wanted to use these as {A} we will cover each of them in more depth as we go through this letter, and {B} to show that Paul wasn't giving Titus narrow instruction. What Paul taught Titus, dear pastor, he is teaching to you.

Are these among the things you are doing in your local church, or do these things somehow get lost in the purpose of your church?

You don't have to tell me, but you should be able to tell you in honesty.







47 comments:

ostrakinos said...

Brevity is a good thing since in order to do this list of pastoral duties one must not be bogged down with superfluous pontifications from a comic book centurion.

So, after I take a poll of what the felt needs are in my congregation I'm going to read the rest of this post. :)

donsands said...

It difficult to be an elder in a culture that doesn't respect authority, I can tell you that. Takes a gifted man of courage to rebuke those who need rebuking in this generation.

And the rebuking types are few, but they take up more time then the rest of the church.

Frank Turk said...

My experience is that most people feel like they are the ones who ought to be doing the rebuking rather than receiving the rebuke.

Funny how Paul didn't see it that way.

Frank Turk said...

BTW, some of you will certainly notice that I left out a biggie in the list of things to set in order.

Be patient. You can't eat the main course before the salad.

Jerry said...

There are very few things that cannot be put in order using a "Speed Square".

When you aren't using it to lay out correct cuts you can always use it to bonk the recalcitrant on the head.

donsands said...

"they are the ones who ought to be doing the rebuking"

Yep. That's so true. My pastor had a church member who needed rebuking. My pastor is a good rebuker, gentle yet firm. He went to this member and quoted the Scriptures, in order to bring forth the truth. This member rebuked his pastor and said, "Oh, so you're going to use Scripture? That's not what we're talking about here."

Amazing!

Has the church allowed a spirit of rebellion in? Or perhaps a political spirit?

pastorharold said...

Don,
The lack of respect for authority must apply to the Bible first then it can extended to others. I know first hand, I was told one time "Preacher, I don't want to talk about the Bible! Let's just fix the problems in the church." We both know this is impossible without respect for the authority of Scripture.

Frank Turk said...

The discussion which is about to break out here is going to be edifying. Not in the chummy way people think of "edifying", either.

What do you pastors think about what pastorharold just said?

Shinar Squirrel said...

re:pastorharold's remarks

I was in a Deacon's meeting once, talking about what our priorities should be, when one of the Deacons, objecting to something Biblical (I don't even remember what exactly) said, "Sure, I know that there are a few people in town who still need to hear the Gospel, but..."

Most people inside our churches don't seem to take the authority of God's Word, God's Church, or God's ministers seriously, so why should those outside the church?

"A few people in town..." Golly, lets go find those few people, tell 'em, close up shop, and watch football!

Nope. Can't do that. Preach the Word, that's what He has called us to do! That was 4 or 5 years ago. The church is smaller, now, but the people who remained are growing deeper in knowledge, and I can see change in their lives (and mine!)

The Squirrel

Respectabiggle said...

I'm not a pastor, but as a dad, pastorharold's point reminds me that I need to instill that respect for the Bible's authority first and foremost if I want my children to respect any subordinate authority.

Jeff said...

I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if this group of readers doesn't have at least one horror story to share. Here's mine:

I was called into a meeting with the Pastor of my church. I has met with him one time before and let's just say that neither one of us were edified. I requested that there be two elders present as witnesses and to help keep me calm. I get riled. There was talk, talk, talk and finally the pastor asked why I was so offended by what was happening in Church. I finally told him that the preaching was a wee bit on the shallow side. An explanation was demanded and I told him that the messages were a series of anecdotes with no scripture being taught. As you can imagine, things got ugly from there. The Elders were questioned and they agreed. They were asked why nothing was said before and the one Elders stated that he had just stopped listening to the messages. The kicker for me was when I cited 2 Tim 3:16 the Pastor flat out stated that he disagreed.

That day was probably on the my worst days in my Christian walk. It was unbelievable to me that a Pastor would deny the sufficiency of Scripture for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness.

Sorry for the length of this post. It could have been much longer.

DJP said...

Oh, I can't tell you how many times I've been clanged for "proof-texting," meaning "having-a-Biblical-basis-for-what-I'm-saying-or-doing."

John said...

So, are you implying that the office of pastor, which is established in the Bible, needs to be regulated by that same Word? :-)

Frank Turk said...

Yes, it's very shocking.

pastorharold said...

I guess I should clear up my first statement. There was a time when if you testified in court you had to swear on the Bible. And it used to mean something. Does a hardened criminal have any respsct for the Word of God these days? No.

There was a time when a building that had the word "church" on the front of it usally meant that the Bible was the teaching book of that group. This Book, though not believed by all was still identified as "God's Book". The man appointed to teach from it were refered to as "God's man". The people who believed the Bible were generally called Christians.

Sadly those days are gone. (even within some church bodies) The world hates the idea of standards and absolutes. The only truth we have is the Word of God. The only scales we have judge right from wrong is the Bible. Without this wonderful book:
How do we operate as a church?
Know and teach truth?
Rebuke? Who needs it?

The only way for a cop to right a speeding ticket is for someone to set a "speed limit". With no respect for the law; The cop on the street is, well...like many pastors today.

Stefan said...

Not a pastor, but Pastor Harold is absolutely right. The authority of Scripture comes first. All warrant for all other authority is predicated on what Scripture says.

To put it another way, here's this book—the Bible—that some one to two billion people around the world claim is the Word of God. If we affirm that claim in any way, shape, or form, shouldn't we then take it at face value, see what it says about itself, and govern our lives accordingly?

And as soon as we introduce another authority alongside or above Scripture, we've violated precepts in Scripture itself, and subordinated it to something less than the written revelation of God.

Stefan said...

"shouldn't we then take it at face value, see what it says about itself, and govern our lives accordingly?"

The "it" is referring to the Bible.

donsands said...

"The lack of respect for authority must apply to the Bible first.." -pastor harold

I agree completely. How can we understand the roll of elders & pastors, unless we are taught through the Holy Writ, by the Holy Spirit through the elders & pastors.

Solameanie said...

I get frustrated when you encounter those who appear to take Scripture at face value, but then try to squirm around it through what they see as a loophole. For example, Matthew 18 and Matthew 5 deal with disputes and sins against one another. One deals with the one offending and the other with the one who knows he's offended. Bring that up to people who are in a catfight with each other, and then they'll say something like "that applies only to brothers, and I don't think my opponent is a brother.'

At that point, I have to run out for a beta blocker.

Carl said...

Frank wrote: "You can't eat the main course before the salad."

Wanna bet? You ain't eaten some of the meals I've had. :-)

BTW for amusement purposes only, I am reminded of the old saying:

"Life is short -- eat dessert first."

[NOTE: I'm glad Frank has a well-developed sense of humor.]

On a more serious note and perhaps offering a topic for future consideration: from a laity standpoint, how should we [laity] approach the minister when we feel a problem exists theologically, spiritually, scripturally etc. speaking? Of course, in regards to the approach, I humbly request Scriptural guidelines. Does the multiple witnesses apply here? do we take it private first, then witnesses? At what point does it need to be brought before the congregation? Do I need to shut up now and stop asking so many questions?

Shinar Squirrel said...

Carl,

I would suggest that, yes, Matthew 18 applies. But first you must determine that he is in error, and not you.

1. Ask questions, "I heard you say _______ , what did you mean?" "I had been taught _______, but you're saying _______. Could you help me understand this?" Be very sure that you understand what he is teaching, and be open to the possibility that you are the one who is wrong.

2. (If you still disagree) Determine if this is a primary doctinal issue (the Trinity, the Diety of Christ, salvation by grace through faith, etc. An essential doctrine) or is this a secondary issue (the timing of the rapture, church polity, etc.)

3. If it is a secondary issue, and everything else is good, then just be understanding and accepting of this difference.

4. If it is a primary doctrinal issue & you believe him to be wrong, go to the Elders. I do not believe that involving anyone who is not in the church leadership would be profitable, but might lead to dissention and division.

5. Now you have placed the matter in the hands of the leadership of the church. Prayerfully wait for them to address and resolve the issue. It is now their responsibility.

6. If the leadership refuses address and resolve the situation, and the church is teaching false doctrine, I would advise you to seek another church. This is the step of last resort, not to be taken lightly or hastily.

The Squirrel

Van said...

My pastor and elders asked me to attend a meeting with them, and it turned out they wanted to correct me. I listened, and asked for their scriptural basis for the rebuke. The immediate reply was Heb. 13:17. I then asked them how I was wrong in light of a whole laundry list of scriptures (this was an issue I prayed long and hard about, and researched in the Bible as well as I could before I started) and was then told that "you know a lot of scripture, but it is seven to one... do what we want you to."

As you can guess, I found a new church, with a pastor who recognizes the authority and sufficiency of scripture.

Frank Turk said...

My opinion of laymen giving their teaching pastor the 3rd degree is that most laymen are not equipped to do such a thing. And by "most" I mean "in the neighborhood of 99.9%".

Let me put it this way: I know a fella who goes to a certain church, and unless he dies or is transfered at work, it is unlikely this fella is going to change churches. He has a rightly-high view of the local church. Let's be clear that he also has a seminary degree and is an intelligent man.

But this guy has never met a sermon or a pastor whom he could like -- let alone love. He is among the chief instigators against every pastor his church has had since he's been there. Everything a pastor does is inherently untrustworthy as far as he's concerned.

Now: if that same standard were applied to him as he taught his sunday school class, he'd resign immediately. And if the elder board held him to the same level of disciplinary scrutiny he holds the pastors to, he'd scream persecution.

He has allies who don't attend church but are members. He has allies who attend church but refuse to join.

I know you know this guy, too. He is in every single church I have ever attended or joined.

We can all agree that this guy is not suited for or capable of rightly questioning the pastor/teacher -- no matter how bad that man may be in his duties. He himself is disqualified from such things because he is not qualified to be an elder.

So if someone not actually qualified to be an elder, what makes us think he's qualified to scrutinize elders?

donsands said...

"I know you know this guy, too. He is in every single church I have ever attended or joined."

That made me shake my head, and made me smile a bit as well.

Thanks Frank.

The Shepherd's Desk said...

Frank

Thanks so much for your post. This is where I find myself in the ministry God has called me too. What a great reinforcement and confirmation yet again. May the Lord bless you and keep you faithful to Him and His Word!

SDG
Brian

Shinar Squirrel said...

Frank,

Yep :-) I know him, too. Thank you, I just re-read my comment, and I did not stress enough the need to rely on the elders.

Still, what should a layman do when the pastor's favorite theologians are Charles Finney and Faustus Socinus? And is performing a wedding for a pair of homosexuals next Saturday?

Isn't there anything that a well read layman is equiped to say, "That is wrong, that is heresy, that I cannot abide?"

The Squirrel

donsands said...

"And is performing a wedding for a pair of homosexuals next Saturday?"

This man is not a pastor. Pure and simple.

Not all pastors are pastors.

Sing-Along Steve said...

I was a pastoral staff member at a church where there was a family that had been members for over 40 years, etc. This family was also well-known for gossiping, backbiting, undermining the authority of the staff and so on.

When I approached the senior pastor about the gossip and other inter-personal issues that my volunteers were bringing to me, I asked if Matthew 18 would be in order. The first offended persons had tried to talk to the offender, and she simply got more venomous. They came to me, and I, knowing the volatility of the situation, deferred to my senior. He said, "People are only human; we can't hold fallible people to such a high and unmoving standard as you imagine."

The NEXT Sunday, he preached a message and told the crowd, "You can NEVER say, 'God, I disobeyed Your Word, but I'm only human.'"

I got similar responses when I told the elders that the youth group didn't like Sunday services because a) there was no effort being made at all to relate to them unless it was to gripe about their clothes and hair and b) that most of the kids in the group were likely unsaved. I was told that instead of working with all our might to clarify and exalt Christ's Gospel so that these kids were without excuse for their conduct, saved or not, I was supposed to "just push them through the program till they turn 18... after that, they're out of your hands and hair."

So much for trusting the Spirit of God to convict and all that.

Tony said...

Today I've been reading a book for an inductive preaching class and could not help but think that the image Paul paints in Titus of how a preacher speaks to the congregation is much different than the one being held up today.

Shinar Squirrel said...

"So if someone not actually qualified to be an elder, what makes us think he's qualified to scrutinize elders?"

I had some time to think further on this while preparing dinner.

I have repeatedly told my church to question all teaching; mine, what they hear on the radio, what they see on the tv, and what they read in books. I love it when they ask me questions! It means that they're paying attention :-) I've based this teaching on the repeated warnings in scripture to beware of false teachers (Matthew 7:15-23 & Matthew 24:4-5 are good examples.) I also point to the Bereans in Acts 17, who "were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so."

If they could seek confirmation in the scriptures for what Paul was teaching, the adverage guy in the pew can seek confirmation for what he is hearing from the pulpit.

I'm not espousing a critical spirit that is looking to find fault, but am trying to impart a discerning spirit that seeks to know truth from error.

The Squirrel

Stefan said...

Carl:

I should have replied earlier, but 1 Timothy 5:19-21 refers specifically to the discipline of elders. It dovetails with Matthew 18:15-17.

Disciplining an elder would be a very grave matter, which is why Paul goes on to advise Timothy to not be hasty in the appointing of elders, in vv. 22-25*—and why the standards for eldership are so high elsewhere in 1 Timothy and Titus.

(*There is a school of thought that verse 23 is Paul's encouraging Timothy to have the intestinal fortitude to resist pressure to appoint popular but unsuitable men in the church as elders.)

Van said...

As a lay person who has questioned elders in the past, I always did my best to follow Paul's instruction to Timothy in 1 Tim 5:1... Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but appeal to him as a father. An elder/pastor should be able to use the scriptures to teach me, to exhort in sound doctrine or refute me when I am wrong. My current pastor encourages me to ask questions, because then he is able to clear up misunderstandings, thus ensuring the messages he preaches are not only preached accurately but understood accurately. Of course, Frank said it best when he asked
"So if someone not actually qualified to be an elder, what makes us think he's qualified to scrutinize elders?"

Frank, I met that guy once. :) After hearing him explain his understanding I asked how he was mentoring younger men like me so we could become strong Christians like him. That was one of the few times I have ever saw him at a loss for words! :)

Frank Turk said...

Here's my problem with that application of what the Bereans did: ultimately, their nobility is that they, unlike those in Thessalonica, received Paul rather than essetially running him out of town on a rail -- and the reason was that they searched the Scriptures daily. That is: the Scriptures didn't make them skeptics, and it didn't make them trouble-makers. It made them joyful believers who received the Gospel with gladness.

It did not make them a theological posse looking for their next lynching victim.

I think it's a mistake to take a very small passage of Scripture which is descriptive and not proscriptive overwhlem our understanding and application of whole books of the Bible like both letters to Timothy, the letter to Titus, and maybe 1 Corinthians for good measure, which are not descriptive but in fact proscriptive for things like church polity and the life of the church.

If anything, we should be searching a book like Acts for examples of what we find in Paul's letters, rather than adopting examples in Acts as our guide and then sort of cherry picking Paul's letters to define how we will live as a community.

DJP said...

Supporting your point: the Greek of Acts 17:11 actually phrases it with a positive expectation: woodenly, it is "who welcomed the Word with all eagerness, daily examining the Scriptures [to see] if it might have these things thus."

Frank Turk said...

S/A Steve --

Churches like that exist. No question -- that's why I think we have to read the pastoral letters closely and be convicted by them and not our pragmatic views of institutional churchianity.

Should you leave a place like that? I have stayed in places like that and worked with humilityt, love, and truth and they have changed for the better.

And you people have met me: I'm not much. Most of you have more on the ball than I do. You can find a way to know the Gospel, live the Gospel, and preach the Gospel so that other will be convicted and they will receive the message with great joy -- or else they will do to you what they did to Paul and Jesus, which you should also receive with great joy.

Frank Turk said...

DJP:

You're so smart, dude.

(C:

Shinar Squirrel said...

What place then for discernment?

The Squirrel

Jeff said...

I agree, Frank, that the vast majority of laity are not qualified to give the teaching Pastor the 3rd degree. But I do not believe that has been advocated here. I believe that Squirrel's response to Carl was appropriate. Particularly Point 1. I have used that method myself and it usually leads to an "aha" moment. Pastor teaches, I learn and all is good.

Concerning unqualified to be an Elder. My experience and mine only, the first two churches I attended, (thirty-five years of my life), little effort was made to meet even the minimum qualifications as set forth in Titus and 1 Timothy. My wife and I now attend a Church were an emphasis is placed on Biblical qualifications. I gladly submit to their authority.

Daryl said...

Shinar,

You asked "What place discernment".
As a layman who does occaisionally disagree with the pastor and yet sit gratefully under his care (by God's grace you understand, I wasn't always this way, and, to my shame, am still not) I think that the question isn't so much "What place discernment" but rather "What then, having discerned?"

I try to ask questions in order to understand the pastor's position and, when it differs, simply offer my position as an explanation as to what I asked in the first place.

So far, we generally still disagree but we understand each other better and my pastors have expressed appreciation for the questions.

I would have a natural tendency to be "that man" that Frank discussed and others have met. Thankfully my wife will not stand for it and has graciously (not to say gently, I don't always listen well) steered my to ask things in a more winsome way and ask to learn, not to correct.

Isn't that the issue with the Bereans as Dan said? The studied to learn not to critique. We layfolk need to learn to read like that and question like that and so to support our pastors, not challenge them.

Frank Turk said...

Squirrel:

Discernment is a mature skill. Do you think most people today are mature in their faith?

Let me say frankly that most people I have met who think they are mature in the faith, and want to wield discernment, would not be categorized by any means as "more noble" in the sense that phrase was used of the Bereans. I can't think of anything those people would have received gladly.

Frank Turk said...

Jeff --


| I agree, Frank, that the vast
| majority of laity are not
| qualified to give the teaching
| Pastor the 3rd degree. But I do
| not believe that has been
| advocated here.

I am willing to hear an explanation that says otherwise.

| I believe that
| Squirrel's response to Carl was
| appropriate. Particularly Point
| 1. I have used that method
| myself and it usually leads to an
| "aha" moment. Pastor teaches,
| I learn and all is good.

This is the discussion Squirrel and I have had off-line, without disclosing particular e-mails: I find it extremely curious that somehow, people come to "aha" moments sitting under a lack-luster pastor in a mediocre church and then suddenly find themselves to be the only reliable authority.

Let's bring this home for a minute. Locally for me, there are many MANY megachurches -- churches where more than 500 people gather on Sunday (and of course, many more small churches). And my experience so far is that none of them are teaching a mature form of the Gospel. In fact, some of them are teaching not-the-Gospel.

Now, let's imagine that someone is attending one of those "not mature" Gospel churches -- maybe the church is arminian or soft evangelical or whatever. But in that church, this someone suddenly realizes that Jesus is a savior and not a lifeguard; He's a savior and not a traffic cop. They don't have a LBCF systematic theology, or they may think that the WCF is a pro wrestling circuit -- but suddenly they get that the Gospel is about something greater than good advice for living.

Now, somehow, this happened in a church where there was inadequate preaching. It happened in a church where sometimes the Gospel gets passed over for something less fantastic.

Does this person have a biblical warrant to now tell the elders -- whatever title they take for themselves -- that they are insufficient? I think the answer is "NO". I think this person instead has a biblical warrant to pray for his elders and be in submission to them.

This is overlooked by most people because we'd rather be our own highest authority -- and we forget that is Scripture is our highest authority, we have to follow what it says before we try our own solutions to what we perceive as problems.

| Concerning unqualified to be an
| Elder. My experience and mine
| only, the first two churches I
| attended, (thirty-five years of
| my life), little effort was made
| to meet even the minimum
| qualifications as set forth in
| Titus and 1 Timothy. My wife
| and I now attend a Church were
| an emphasis is placed on
| Biblical qualifications. I gladly
| submit to their authority.

I think it is irrelevant what you think they were doing, and only moderately relevant regarding what they were actually doing. You are living proof that they were at least inside the fence regarding spiritual formation -- because you got spiritually formed.

people need to think a little more deeply about that than they do today -- especially the so-called Berean types.

Shinar Squirrel said...

Frank and Daryl,

(c: I’m a-gonna say my piece, and then I’m a-gonna shut up.

Please note that, in my response to Carl's question, I said that, if the pastor was not teaching outright heresy, then the layman needed to just deal with it. I did not advocate "giving the pastor the 3rd degree," but, rather, approaching him humbly and respectfully for clarification.

Frank,

Do I think that most believers today are mature in their faith? Sadly, no. I did presuppose a more mature believer in answering Carl’s question.

Frank, your last comment was most helpful, and I agree with you up to a point. And that point is when the church is teaching outright heresy.

Is the believer supposed to sit under false teaching without question? I say, “No.”

The Squirrel

Jeff said...

Frank,

Thank you for your response. You've given me a lot to think about.

Stefan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KM said...

Frank and others,

I wanted to e-mail this directly to you (Frank) but my e-mail link won’t play nicely so I’m posting it here. Sorry for taking over.

I am in this position at this very moment and I have been for a couple of years now. My church has claimed to be all about the Bible in their services and all about submission to the authority of scripture. But, their practices indicate very clearly that they do not wish to submit to scripture and in fact dismiss the advice of the apostles on some issues all together.

I have had the feeling, especially during the last year, that I am being completely starved in the way of sound, real, hard, challenging doctrine. The service teachings have become all fluffy and stupid. Any of may past stoner friends could have given me the same advice that’s being passed off as Biblical teaching right now.

I actually did have that “aha” moment where I realized that something was indeed very wrong and not in my imagination when I was dismissed from my homegroup. They claimed it was because they wanted to change the format of the group. But, a number of people had quit and those that remained had absolutely no interest in even reading the Bible much less discussing what it meant. In fact, the last few meetings put me face to face with people, I’d been in church and friends with for years, screaming (and yes I do mean screaming) that I was bullying them and demanding that they believe “Calvinist” ideals when that’s not what our church is about.

How could I be forcing these people to believe in Calvinist ideals when I didn’t even know what the heck a calvinist was (I straight up did not know anything about calvinism, arminianism or any of that. I have since gotten educated)

As fate would have it, the very “freedom” this church offers it’s members to search for the “truth” about God in our own lives provided me the freedom to explore the scripture as much as I wanted without being told what it all means and what I must believe. Yet, even in this freedom I learned because of the scriptures that these people didn’t actually practice what it said. And, their response to my inquiries about this have earned me nothing but labels so that I can be dismissed. So, now I’m a “calvinist” (no disrespect to actual calvinists. I just don’t like being labeled for dismissal) which apparently is synonymous for Bible believing person.

There are no elders to address this issue with because our church doesn’t believe in this. The only person to address this issue with is the actual pastor, but I feel like A) it is not my place as just some lay person who does not fit the qualifications noted by the Apostle and B) the battle is far to great for me to take on as it extends to every church plant that’s come from this movement, and there are hundreds.

So Frank,

When you say that I should continue to submit to the authority of this church are you sure? I’ve been praying about this for a year now and have not gotten a clear answer on what I should do. If I leave I want to have left the right way, so I feel like I would have to address my concerns with the pastor especially since the members of the church are my friends and I care about them. But, as I mentioned that involves confronting the whole movement which is just to much for me.

But, if I stay I will be where I am right now. And, that is in a place where I’m not being told the truth or encouraged to believe it. Am I not supposed to kick the proverbial dust from my feet and move on if this is the case? And, in order to do that do I have to address this issue with my pastor?

I guess you can see my dilemma.

I’d appreciate any feedback you have.
km

Frank Turk said...

Sorry to have taken so long to respond. I don't often check old threads, but luckily Stefan did.

In one sentence: yes, I am sure.

The question is only what they will ask you to do. See: I think that they have a spiritual responsibility for you and to you.

-BUT-

And see now -- I have said this before in almost all of the previous posts and threads on this subject -- that someone in your situation should pursue a Mat 18 approach to the problem you perceive, meaning that you take the problem up in private with your pastor. If he won't see you, you have to take two or three witness and try again. And if he won't see you, tell him plainly: you want to pursue a biblical resolution to the matter, and submit to his authority as the pastor of the church if possible, but those things can't happen unless the two of you have at least one conversation.

I promise you: either he will listen and consider your concerns and reform, or he will tell you plainly that he is not running an organization that wants someone like you in it.

And in that latter case, you are free to go. They may be "dismissing" you in some passive way now; when they actively reject you, go.

But keep this clearly in mind: if you believe a Gospel which has given you grace, give grace first. Approach the problem with humility and a sober mind rather than an accusatory spirit. You are trying to reconcile with a brother in truth and love, not in court.

Don't suffer in silence, but do suffer for the sake of the Gospel. You can go after you have done everything the Bible says you should do.

Make sense?

KM said...

Yes, that makes sense. In fact that has been what I have felt I was being directed to do this whole time. But, there have been various "buts" which have convinced me that this was me having an inflated head or trying to be that hyper critical person or not practicing submission to authority, which I admit is a big challenge and struggle for me.

Thanks for responding. You answer has cleared some things up in my head for me. I didn't know if you checked these old posts. I guess now I do.

most appreciated.
km