Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Be Gone You Divisive Person!

"As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned" (Titus 3:10-11).


If you ask hard questions within the context of the institutional church, expect to face opposition. If you ask hard questions about leadership within the institution, expect to be unwanted. If you challenge pastoral authority and especially salaries, expect to be labeled a divisive person and be asked/told to not come back.

The above may seem like hyperbole to some of you, but my guess is that for others of you this is what has really happened. I have a good friend, for example, who after asking some tough questions was instructed to leave a local body because he was no longer welcome.

The institutional church exists in part due to extremely poor and inconsistent biblical interpretation. When you challenge these particular interpretations, those who benefit from said interpretations are going to be none too happy. They will likely at first feel uncomfortable. Then they will provide you with some sort of unsatisfactory, shallow, and/or condescending answer. If you challenge that answer you will be asked to meet with the pastor in private. That is when, unless you surrender, you will be labeled divisive and asked to leave.

This is, of course, a perversion of the real meaning of Titus 3:10-11. Paul writes to Titus on Crete to exhort him to put the churches there in order. One of the problems is divisive people. In the verse just prior to 3:10-11, Paul says, "But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless." The apostle doesn't want Titus or anyone else on Crete to be wasting their time discussing pointless things. He also doesn't want anyone present in church gatherings who is going to stir up dissension. Paul is referring to people who cause division for the sake of division. He is not talking about Christians who ask hard questions based on sound biblical interpretation.

Let it be known that if you do challenge institutional pastoral authority and especially salaries, you will be seen as a threat. When you threaten paychecks, you will be shown the door. No matter how nicely, sincerely, and appropriately you ask, you will be given the dreaded label "divisive." At that point, they will want nothing more to do with you.

Know that it could happen to you.

3 comments:

Peter Horvatin said...

Eric,
I agree with you. My wife and I meet with a group every other Tuesday for Bible study and sometimes I will sing special music in the small church that she goes to. However, they pretty much know where I stand about believers meeting in the home.I do believe that if I brought this up I'm sure they wouldn't buy into what I have researched and believe even though one of the guys who is a pastor says he has a "teachable spirit." God is the only one who can change their hearts on this issue.

Pete

T Aagard said...

This description is very accurate from experience as one who recognizes God's mandate that every believer gather every time to "stir up one another on to love and good works". Heb. 10:24,25. "And all the more as we see the day approaching." When I call believers to increase their "love and good works" by recognizing revelation calls all believers to a form of church where 100% of their "giving" should go beyond themselves, I know I will be falsely accused of one thing or another. I have decided that I am okay with that. It is more important for me to deliver the truth in love, than to acquiesce to their intimidation and keep it all to myself. Three purposes of "preaching" is "reprove, rebuke, exhort". That's what I do but in a "one another" form of "preaching". What seems to get their anger up the most is when I demonstrate my message with scripture that is very clear. My "teaching and admonishing one another" (Col. 3:16) is done with no concern about whether I think they will like what I say or not. It doesn't seem like it should matter, unless I want to be a "man pleaser". Once they respond with their rejecting response, I am free to move on to others.

When believers have systematized malpractice of the Word, and call it all godly, they are in a zone, a flesh dominating state of heart, where they are free to rationalize more more malpractice. The Spirit of God is being shut down to speak to their hearts. However, I am under the impression that the seeds I plant may bear fruit at a later day. I can trust God for that. I also know God has gone before me to prepare some hearts to receive my message. I don't know who they are but I know God will lead me to them. I must go, and as I go, God will direct them to me.

The household of faith is severely divided already. Unbelievers in their spiritual deadness can see it. Clergy from the laity. One brand name from another. One school of theology from another. God has equipped me with truth to speak to this. He has not equipped many others. Perhaps part of God's plan for me is to "stir up" other believers to do the same. "And all the more as I see the day approaching." By the way if you read past Hebrews 10:15, you will read a stirring challenge to those who "shrink back".

Eric said...

Tim,

You wrote, "What seems to get their anger up the most is when I demonstrate my message with scripture that is very clear." I agree completely. It sure doesn't take long to be shown the door when they cannot refute the plain teaching of the Bible.