It was really good to hear from you this week. Your heart is both tender and courageous as you seek God’s true truth in the matter with which you called me.
As you described it to me, there is a prominent church leader that is proclaiming in writing certain disciplines that you feel are incorrect, and also missing, within the corpus of his writing. As a matter of fact, you feel exceedingly alarmed that this brother is causing a whole host of believers to be unprepared for the great tribulation times coming upon us in the near future. The kingdom of God, which is His very eternal purpose, and the holy Gospel itself is at stake.
Again, I thank you for reaching out to the brethren like me in seeking counsel, confirmation, and courage. And in the wisdom in so doing. In this written response, I wanted to recap to the best of my recollection, what the major points were that we have discussed on a couple of occasions since.
At the very end of this letter, I list the 10 points we discussed by phone that I fully believe are from God’s Word in being diligent to preserve the unity in the bond of peace.
First and foremost, I want to make it perfectly clear at this point that I am not taking sides with either you or the other brother in question. However, I’m going to take a definitive side for the cause of unity in that I am strongly exhorting both you and he to take a step back from the issues, which are the “What’s.” The most important point now is “How” to decide the Lord’s mind in this case. Someone is wrong.
In concentrating on this aspect first, it will be much easier to preserve unity in the bond of peace. If you or he insists on pursuing the issues wholeheartedly without understanding and praying through the methodology, then you’re probably be headed for the usual destination amongst American leaders as they continue to stonewall each other: the graveyard of feigned unity. And eventually any sort of loving, caring fellowship with each other will cease, as you carefully avoid one another, with each claiming the other is a flaming heretic causing dissention within the troops.
Just before your call this week, the Lord in His sovereign grace had me in the book of Ephesians. I was again struck by the fact that from the first chapter of the book through the fifth chapter, the book basically deals with unity, with reconciliation, and with being one mind, one Spirit. Indeed, this is the very thing that Jesus Christ died for. It is the very thing that Jesus Christ went to the cross for. It is the very thing that Jesus Christ shed his invaluable blood for. And it was the very thing that leads lost souls across the entire globe back to the Father’s love as prayed by Jesus in John 17.
Let’s take a look and slowly meditate upon the word of God which is the only thing we have on earth physically that lasts unchanged for eternity:
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
“Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. “
Very strong words, wouldn’t you agree? But, perfectly doable, because God’s grace and the enormous power of the Holy Spirit is available to all of those who obey and have a heart for keeping God’s eternal purpose, which is building the kingdom of our Father in heaven.
You’ll notice in the passage above, that there is a real sense that we already have unity in Christ through His life and sacrifice. And that the only thing that we need to do is to preserve His established unity. I think I’m being a bit facetious when I say “the only thing.” But we certainly want to keep the main thing, the main thing. The Trinity is always, always, in agreement. They’re never separated.
Also, the “walk worthy” part above is fascinating. Being “worthy” comes from the Greek word axios, an adverb here, meaning bringing up the other beam on the scales, or bringing into equilibrium. It carries the idea of one thing being the equivalent of another. In other words, a believer’s practice should “weigh as much as” or “be equivalent to” his verbal profession. Obviously, God is not impressed by words only…and He will eventually destroy those of us who practice hypocrisy…any one of us. He is Holy and commands the same of us (1 Peter 1.15). So, His magnificent grace is there to appropriate as we boldly come to His throne for help in times of need. This is one of those times, no?
As we discussed on the phone, I personally refuse to be labeled by any other terminology that the Christian church has demonically placed upon the church of Jesus Christ. Any religious name that ends in an “ism” and “ist” that we place upon ourselves or others really has no place in the kingdom of God.
As a matter of fact, the apostle Paul, sarcastically chided the Corinthians in the third chapter of his first canonized recorded letter to them. He claimed that they were mere men of the flesh because of their denominational names and preferences, putting names on things that have only one Name – the Name above all Names. No other name needed. It’s all done. Complete. For God’s sake, let’s just act like it in faith. Paul considered it a heinous sin and spared no words or feelings to make that satanic scheme widely known amongst his church plants in the first century.
As a matter of fact, this is such a fleshly practice and being such an affront to the holiness of God, that this was one of the things that Paul had in mind in the eighth chapter of Romans. There he wrote, if we live in the flesh, we must die. And he meant eternal death, for any person who refuses the grace of God, and walks away from the faith has his name erased from the book of life and ends up in the lake of fire. What a gruesome prospect for any human being created in the likeness of God.
We have such a low regard for the word of God these days, and for what Jesus actually taught. It’s my personal opinion, and that of many others, that biblical illiteracy is running rampant. Not only here in America, but in the West in general. The preponderance of inaccurate and error filled teaching is so widespread that the church at large seems impervious to it much of the time. They themselves alone decide true truth, and consequently seem to be attracting more and more teachers to tickle their ears, moment by moment.
This party spirit that we find so prevalent today finds its scheme in the devil himself. Since we hold each other too in such low regard, it follows if the Word is an affront to us, then our brethren will be so also.
So, what is one of the warning signs for this life threatening sin of irreconcilably?
“Let’s just agree to disagree!”
Sound familiar? Oh yes, and what sadness that brings to God’s heart.
Where in God’s creation, does it say that we should ever agree to disagree as the original goal of unity? And yet this humanistic philosophy has become so widespread that it is completely accepted in almost all church circles today.
Jesus prayed to His Father the prayer most on His mind, no doubt, for these precious men who He had lived with for the previous 1000 days:
“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” John 17:22-24
Where do we find “agree to disagree” anywhere remotely insinuated in the above verse? Or anywhere else for that matter? This, as we know from above, is the very last thing that Jesus prayed before His passion and murder at the hands of culprits. That just hated His guts. Culprits that hated His call to unity. Culprits that would not put away their own carnal desires. Shoot the messenger. Better yet, let’s just kill Him. Or, less messy and more long lasting, “kill” our own brother He died for with a few emails, a blog post or two, and finally devouring his name to anyone who might be sympathetic to our rant. Good, he’s out of our life now. Back to the “work of God.” Oh, please…
As a matter of fact, the apostle Peter said that we should honor the king which was Nero at the time. This king took great pleasure in lighting up Christians as paraffin candles in his garden parties to entertain his drunken guests. Do we do the same with our dishonoring ways of communication? At least when burnt at the stake we get to be with Jesus. Here we just continually suffer at the hands of wordsmiths and authors and speakers. While they think they do God a favor. Oh, Lord.
God wants us to honor all men so says Peter in his written record. God wants us to respect what He respects. He wants us to accept each other in the Beloved. He wants to put the enemy to shame in front of the great cloud of witnesses. He, as our only Patron, expects us as His clients to obey Him explicitly and implicitly and thoroughly. Jesus is our broker and mediator of the New Covenant. Are we gracious and patient, forbearing with each other? And how do we show it to prove our sacrificial love for our brother? Let alone our enemies? Come on now…
And all this nonsense about it’s okay to go off and form another schism, it’s okay to go off and form another denomination, it’s okay to and go off and form another movement. Smells like smoke, and it’s from the pit of hell.
Now I know that being misunderstood, and having a trashed reputation is one of the most difficult things for any man to endure. It killed one of my favorite preachers, Spurgeon, by placing upon him an early death. Just read about the “Downgrade Controversy” in the early 1900’s. Jesus defended Himself and Paul defended himself, but it is really hard for us to fully rest our souls as God defends us at every turn. Do we really trust God? Or not?
So, in recap, I exhort you, my dear brother, to stay the course and concentrate on the “How” first and foremost. We encourage, even insist, that you and he get together personally right away. Follow the Scripture and put aside everything, yes – everything for now, until the two of you get together in person and begin to work these things out. The glory of God awaits both of you. The angels are looking into these things. God will dispatch them on your behalf. The victory is yours, and His, and all of ours. Your model will help change our world right now. I kid you not. We need this change in our world, and diligently remaining unified.
I stand united with you in this holy endeavor. I’ll be a helpful counselor, facilitator, and prayer warrior if you request. I and others can help each of you to hold your arms up if you ever become weary of doing good.
Please remember. This is not rocket science. But it is life and death.
When the two of you get together, don’t launch in right away to the issues, but spend time with each other. Encourage each other in the things of the Lord. Praise God for long periods of time. Get on your faces and thank the Father for giving you all His mind. Laugh and smile and celebrate the God of all goodness and the God of all creation. Laugh and celebrate that Jesus in the end has overcome all evil. And that He has provided a way for all overcomers to reign with Him forever and ever, and ever and ever, and ever and ever. Hallelujah!
A word of warning that I mentioned to you on the phone. Beware of the sin of seeking arrogant vindication. Against this brother or any of those in opposition to you and to the groups in which you circulate. Many of us think we “have the goods” on the other party and desire to rub their face in it. This defies humility.
And it’s a fact when anyone begins to say “we” versus “us,” they’ve already started down the slippery slope to disunity. Factions, sects, and splinter groups are only a moment away.
A little-known fact is that the root word of heresy does not necessarily mean bad doctrine in and of itself. But the root word of heresy meets someone or some group that pulled away from the main group and pulls other people to itself. A good friend of mine in California, a dear brother and international teacher, once commented to me that every time God wishes to bless people He brings them together. And every time He wants to curse people (“woe to you..”), He splits them up.
And as always, God always has practical considerations to love us through all this. If this brother or any other brother decides to become a stone wall or continues to practice stonewalling, then you can bring in others to tune it up. But do your best to create an atmosphere of understanding his point of view, and providing safety for him to discuss all things that are pertinent to his point of view.
However, if things continue in a sinful fashion, a remedy exists in that we can then rebuke a brother in the presence of all. And if the irreconcilably continues, then we must avoid such men as these. The Scripture makes it perfectly clear:
1 Tim. 5:19-20
Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.
2 Tim. 3:1-5
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.
It’s been my experience over the last 20 years that most Christian leaders have absolutely no or very little interest in preserving or seeking any sort of peace, let alone the bond of peace which’s already in place through Jesus and His invaluable sacrifice. And they are supremely interested in their own agendas and arrogantly refuse to sit down with those who disagree. In so doing, they stonewall God in prayer and praise and fasting to see if indeed the brother has any merit or perhaps actually has the truth on his side. And all lose. Is this Calvary love?
They draw men away to themselves and their cause creating “heresies and factions and sects,” all in the name of Jesus. They think they’re “approved unto God” but actually the opposite is true. Heaven help us:
1 Cor. 11:18-19
For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions (Greek: hairesis: the real meaning for ‘heresy’) among you, so that those who are approved (Greek: dokimos) may become evident among you.
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions (hairesis), envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
2 Peter 2:1
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies (hairesis), even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.
How did we ever get in such a dilemma?
The great apostle Paul, with his colossal intellect and faith to move any mountain, warned his new church plant. The “faction” of them in the Corinthian church wanting to break away and call themselves by denomination names was denouncing their apostle’s credentials and playing into the very hand of Satan:
1 Cor. 9:24-27
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified (a-dokimos: like a-theist, no God, or a-muse, not musing).
Even our dear brother Paul was fearful of being cut off from God and being cast into the lake of fire, of being disqualified or disapproved in contrast to his later exhortation in chapter 11 that we viewed above.
This is not an isolated admonishment but actually wide spread:
And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved (a-dokimos) mind, to do those things which are not proper,
2 Tim. 3:8
Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected (a-dokimos) in regard to the faith.
They profess to know God (with their mouth only), but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless (a-dokimos) for any good deed.
This is as serious as it gets. God is absolutely immovable in this vital area. Be unified and honor all men, or put them out to Satan, or….face being put out ourselves by our very Creator Himself. Scary as it gets.
These are the events I urge you to obey, and in this order, for they come from the Holy Scriptures we believe here at Walk Worthy:
- The true goal is diligently preserving unity and the bond of peace that we already have in being one in Christ Jesus, vs. agreeing to disagree.
- Get other advise and input if need be but for the sole purpose of approaching the other party directly, vs. maliciously biting and devouring one another.
- Do it now, immediately, vs. waiting and putting it off until it’s “convenient.”
- Meeting face to face is usually possible, and plan several days vs. just gearing up for pen and ink wars behind cyber bunkers.
- Spend copious time together when you meet in praise, thankfulness for who we are in Jesus, what He has done, what He wants of us, and in fasting, plus diligent prayer for the other party and for the Holy Spirit’s power, vs. “jumping right in.”
- The methodology or “How” we find true truth is the main place to begin, vs. bickering immediately over all the “What’s.”
- Create an atmosphere of a) understanding the other party first and seeing how you might be contributing to the problem in ways you can’t see, b) safety so the other party can freely and completely proclaim their position, and c) playing back their position in your words both orally and in writing, vs. pridefully advocating and accusing them that “I’m right, you’re wrong, and you need to see it.”
- If things don’t go well, and/or one party is stonewalling, bring in other brethren to facilitate, vs. just walking away.
- If one party refuses to unify and rejects the counsel of all, exhort the other party to repentance, if no result, then rebuke in the presence of others, vs. just walking away.
- If still no result then reject as a heretic and turn them over to Satan to destroy the flesh since what is bound on earth is bound in heaven, vs. just walking away.
I and the other saints here are praying for a good report. We expect as such from the Power on High, the Majestic Glory…victory in Jesus awaits you!
Let me know how else we might be able to serve you and the other dear brother. I know him well, as we’ve discussed. He’s full of gracious mercy and has ministered to me personally in times of need and in my desire to know more of Jesus through the true truth. We’re here to help being diligent to preserve the unity in the bond of peace.
Your friend and brother in fighting the good fight,
Saints, we’re one day closer to Home, and Him! Love Him wholeheartedly!
DEAR BRETHREN: Wisely proclaiming Jesus by admonishing (shaping the will with warning), teaching, and prophesying to every man to present them mature right now and at the Judgment Seat of Christ; by Marc White, Director, Walk Worthy, Central Florida, USA
“We proclaim (Jesus), admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete (mature) in Christ.” Col. 1:28; “For (believers) must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad, therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men…” 2 Cor. 5:10-11a; Dear Brethren, Copyright, a Walk Worthy ministry; permission granted to repost in full.
The Vision of Walk Worthy (Walk Worthy Vision: Video – 6 minutes) is to be preaching and discipling the whole Gospel and purpose of God worldwide so that His body will walk in all purity and holiness with Jesus, and bringing the Father pleasure in all respects. www.walkworthy.org
“…walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,” Eph. 4.1, Col. 1.10, 1 Thes. 2.12