Extremes

I’m probably going to get myself in trouble here again but after much prayer and some serious self examination, I seriously think that the OPINIONS stated below BY SOME PROFESSING CHRISTIANS needs to be honestly looked at.

When I study and read God’s Word and then peruse through a variety of Christian blogs, I inevitably encounter a relatively SMALL number of Christian bloggers who advocate one or more of the following generalizations THAT I SIMPLY CANNOT FIND BIBLICAL JUSTIFICATION FOR:

1. ALL organized churches are corrupt and as such, attending or being a member of an organized church is not only frowned upon but to do so implies you have bought into the corruption. THEIR personal decision to NOT attend any organized church is accordingly determined as being the ONLY appropriate option and it is subsequently articulated that ALL Christians should follow their determination. Key word here is “ALL”.

2. ALL CHRISTIANS should NOT be judging one another, that is the sole responsibility of the Holy Spirit. Rather, ALL Christians should focus solely on the positive attributes of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Key word here is “NOT”.

3. It is within the guidelines of New Testament biblical principles to predetermine that ALL members of a particular political party or organization cannot possibly be Christian and as such, one can be fully justified in rejecting their INDIVIDUAL opinions, as not being worthy of consideration or subsequent discussion. In other words, they are COLLECTIVELY outrightly rejected without the need for individual consideration. Key words here are “PREDETERMINED TOTAL REJECTION”.

4. The Christian’s mandate to spread or speak THE TRUTH, does NOT require that the Christian who is articulating THIS TRUTH, be polite, considerate and if at all possible, non-offensive. Rather, because this Christian has the TRUTH, it comes with the automatic authority and mandate to be free to accuse, insult and demean another Christian believer or non-believing human being. Key words here are “FREE TO”.

5. When potential questioning includes words such as “may be complicit” used in concert with derogatory attributes such as spreading untruths etc, one can automatically and justifiably assume that the “may be complicit” is a confirmed personal accusation and respond with immediate denial. Further “discussion” regarding possible infractions is not required and totally unnecessary. Key word here is “ASSUME”.

6. ALL Christians are essentially hypocritical and as such, their objections and/or questions can be regarded as hypocritical criticism, without need for rhetorical biblical justification. In other words, questions can be automatically deemed as criticism and subsequently dismissed as accusatory. Key words here are “AUTOMATICALLY DEEMED AS”.

Obviously I don’t agree with any of these determinations.

This particular scripture verse keeps coming up in my mind because it relates to all of the observed determinations above.

1 Peter 3:15-16 NIV

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

Note the guidance to always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

Note the method to be used, exchanged dialogue, cloaked with gentleness and respect.

Note the “good behaviour” that is to be OUR standard.

Note that the slander is at THEIR end, not ours, should there be malicious discourse.

Questioning unbiblical determinations is not slander.
Questioning sin, within the church, the body of Christ, is not slander.
Questioning unbiblical predetermined collective rejection is not slander.
Questioning unbiblical justification for articulating the truth via malicious means is not slander.
Questioning that uses “tentative” vice “directly accusatory” language is not slander.
Questioning in itself is not necessarily criticism, it can be a request for the reason, the justification, and not slander.

High standards? Yes they are and I don’t know of too many, including myself, that has been able to consistently maintain all of them, but that is our goal and that is our standard.

When I error, I apologize in the public realm, so that it also is on the record. Sometimes my apology stands alone, sometimes it doesn’t. I’m responsible to the Lord, for me.

As always, I’m interested in your thoughts. I write these things because I think it matters.

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

47 Comments

  1. Hey, Bruce! I have receive ire from believers when I say that we are to judge fellow believers in the sense of accountable and/or asking questions to discern their rationale, thought process etc. What believers are called to NOT judge is the unbeliever. God alone judges the unbeliever, not believers. You are so right Bruce, extremes/divides are widening. I am thankful Bruce, that even when people disagree with you (or you disagree with them) that you handle yourself with grace, restraint and class. All of us will have to give an account for the words we speak whether they are said aloud or thought in our mind. Even when I have differing opinions than you, I am genuinely thankful for you being you, Bruce! Blessings to you and yours! Mandy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mandy, thanks for taking the time to comment, appreciate your kind words. Hard to believe you have differing opinions than me though! (Just kidding). It definitely can get dicey at times. Blessings to you and yours also and let us know how your studies are going when you get a chance.

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      1. Hi, Bruce! Thank you SO much for asking about my studies, you are a kind and thoughtful man, truly! I am learning so much that I have no idea what to do with it. It is intense. All I know is that there is so much I do NOT know! I love the challenge, but it comes with a price. I am thankful to have Nathan’s support and patience when I get frustrated with assignments, deadlines etc. How may I pray for you and your wife this week?! Love and blessings!

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      2. I’m thinking you have a real keeper there in Nathan! God is so good. Just keep my wife and I on your prayer list as I keep you and Nathan. God’s grace pretty well covers all our needs. He know the particulars. Keep slaying them with that smile of yours! Blessings.

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  2. “I’m responsible to the Lord, for me.” The be all end all on the matters of disagreement Bruce.
    We will all stand before God and give an account, of this I’m sure.
    The problem with “biblical” justification for ones belief is that the bible is subjective. The very bible you use to defend your beliefs is the same bible others use to defend conflicting beliefs.

    If all one did was “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” I really don’t think anyone would come up against that, it’s matters of doctrine and beliefs that generate strife.

    But most of the time christians are not magnifying and glorifying Jesus Christ, they want to pontificate on matters that have absolutely nothing to do with ones salvation. And this is not pointed at you Bruce, we all do it from time to time, and some more than others.

    It stands to reason that if we are all responsible to “work out our own salvation”, we must follow what we believe God is calling us to. It absolutely doesn’t hurt and most probably helps to sound off each other, those who profess Christ. Some may be under a delusion, but Truth IS, Jesus Christ is able to get us on the right path when humans can’t.

    That’s how I see it anyways. To this very day from my birth, Jesus Christ has never let me down. I will never abandon Jesus for any man and I trust most of us will follow Jesus before man. Jesus was there for and with me long before I knew any bible verses so as you well know, the bible is not my authority. Nor do I believe in a “biblical world view” I understand what people are trying to imply, but it’s flawed. Life was never supposed to be about the letter.

    So don’t be to hard on yourself if I don’t become your disciple. I’m well aware that you’re just as flawed as I am. and everyone else is just as flawed as us.

    God Speed Brother

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    1. Well Stephen, I thought you might comment and I have let you have your say here without any criticism, just a tad different from how you responded to Damon, in response to when I asked him a simple question. Just to refresh your memory and I quote “There is no greater foe than the religious spirit, he will try to rob you of your joy under the guise of holiness. Don’t let the religious spirit steal your joy brother. 
In the parable of the seed sower, it is the religious that steal the word, not the atheist.
 Only God Himself can change their self righteousness. Don’t even engage such a spirit, they’ll only steal your joy. Lie, kill and steal, it’s the work of the devil.” That was me you were talking about Stephen, all because I asked Damon one question, wondering why there is so seldom any joy in what he writes. And why would I do that you ask, because I cared and I see him hurting. Evidently that isn’t allowed. Hitting the sack Stephen, it’s been a long day. Blessings.

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      1. I was speaking to the article Damon wrote and wasn’t responding to your question Bruce. If It was in the same thread I apologize.
        I don’t think your the devil and as you, I was trying to encourage Damon. We just went about it in different ways.
        Damon has legitimate concerns and beliefs. I too have witnessed what he speaks of.
        I have recently watched a friend of mine fall off the wagon after 2 years of sobriety after an “elder” at his church told him he didn’t deserve his wife and 4 kids because he was a loser and hadn’t done nothing with his life except rock and roll, drugs and alcohol. My friend is a diagnosed manic depressive and actually has been off meds and on Jesus. For some people in his church, his recovery was not moving fast enough.
        It was face down in a jail cell he encountered Jesus, since Jesus lifted him up, religious people have been trying to beat him back down. Unfortunately, they succeeded, but he’s back up.
        You know Bruce, it seems sometimes you try to be encouraging but it comes across more like correcting.
        The old saying “it’s not what you said but how you said it”.
        In the case of your comment with Damon, it really looks like you’re trying to point out he’s a hypocrite.
        But that’s between you and him Bruce.
        As for you and I Bruce, I’ve all ready told you I’ve resolved not to be toe to toe with you, but back to back.
        I’m sorry I gave the impression I was speaking of you in my comment on Damons page.
        You can rest assured, if I’ve got something say to or about you, I will post it on your page so you can respond and give me a beat down.
        We don’t agree on organized religion, but I in no way think your a fool for partaking in it. I have people I fellowship with who belong to religion. It’s not my mission to get them to quit. They can do what they want.

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      2. OK Stephen, if I misunderstood the error is mine, not yours, no need for an apology as it wasn’t intentional on either of our parts. Enjoy your weekend and God bless.

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      3. Let me ask you a question, Bruce.
        After coming to your site and reading these comments, as I had the gut feeling that you would be talking about me instead of to me, I have a serious question.
        Why do you appear to have such a problem with me?
        Do share. You sure aren’t afraid to share your thoughts any other time or in private, so please, do share.

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      4. Hi Damon,
        I don’t have a problem with you Damon. I was concerned, it’s not the same thing. I read your last post “High On Our Hell”, which had some pretty derogatory comments in there about me, but I didn’t comment, did I?

        I told you previously that I had asked you a question because I saw a contrast between what your goal was when you started your blog and some of the posts which you write, a number of them being a tad on the dark side. At the time I asked you the question, I was not aware of the difficulty you have with regard to anxiety. Had I been aware of that I probably would not have asked the question at all. Matter of fact I am sure of it. I wasn’t trying to put you down. You may not believe that but I wasn’t. The contrast didn’t make sense and I was hoping you would provide some insight.

        I’ve already apologized to you and indicated that I would not bother you again. Stephen and I don’t always see eye to eye on everything but we still remain relatively cordial with one another and I think it safe to say we have learned to appreciate one another. I was kinda hoping for the same thing between you and I but that obviously didn’t work out.

        The items I discussed in this particular article are opinions that I have encountered with some individuals over the last couple of years and I thought I would identify some of them. These encounters are rare but they do happen and they do matter.

        Stephen says that sometimes I come across as if I am correcting. Like you mentioned in one of your articles, the written format isn’t always the best method to use when trying to communicate something to others. You can see how I misread Stephen’s reply to you, it happens. You try to cut one another some slack.

        I’m almost 75 years old Damon, I was adopted when I was a few months old, been on my own since I was 17 and spent 35 years serving in the Canadian military and there isn’t too much that I haven’t seen or mistakes that I haven’t made. I’ve also been married 49 years (same wife) with 5 grown children and 7 grandchildren. I tell you this because I am acutely aware that I am not always right nor do I always have to be right. You indicated that I didn’t know you but I can also say that you don’t know me. You and I never got that far.

        In our communication with one another there were a couple of times when I indicated to you that I was praying for you and times when I indicated to you that you were not alone. That was me reaching out to you.

        I am sorry for the frustration and stress I have caused you. That never was my intend. I told you I would leave you alone and I will.

        May God bless you Damon, I wish you well.

        Bruce

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      5. Let’s go back.
        I had written a poem titled, “Through The Thorn” You had left the comment, “You are truly gifted, Damon! I’m not usually a poetry guy but yours have depth and touch my heart. Thank you. Blessings.”
        I liked your comment.
        Later, on my writing, “All The Lovely People”, you found it necessary to write within your comment, “Hi Damon, I, like you, am acutely aware of how often that I fall short and I am also aware that in all probability, even my own awareness probably falls way short of what reality is, with me even coming close to fully understanding the differences between myself and God. The long and the short of it is, that’s why our Father sent Jesus in the first place and that’s why our faith and trust is in Him. It’s the realization of what we are and who we are that can be difficult but I have learned from experience, not to focus too much attention on the negative but rather focus on the basics. Help when I can, hug because I can and forgive often. How I interact with my wife and immediate family, how I interact with others, how I try to maintain that communication with God, daily, is vitally important. Some days are better than others but there are two things that I remind myself of. God would never ask us to forgive others if He wasn’t willing to forgive us. So for me and I can only speak for myself, I can only be aware that if I try as best as I can to be honest with Him, and make an honest effort, that is all that He asks. And in truth, sometimes my honest efforts even fall short. But, I do know this. I am much different from how I used to be in a number of areas. Obviously no flag waving about total victory etc, but there have been many changes. And my appreciation and consideration for God has also changed, He plays a much bigger part in my life than I used to allow Him to. He is definitely part of the equation now and that wasn’t always the case in the past. Do I see shortfalls in others, sure I do, but I have enough on my plate in my dealings with God, to realise that no one is perfect, and I am required to cut them some slack if I need God to cut some slack with me. I guess balance is the word that I am searching for. To be mindful and react accordingly. The second thing I remind myself of is the magnitude of God’s love. Many years ago I was allowed to be in His presence for a couple of minutes, haven’t got a clue why, never saw anything or heard anything, I was just there. You can read about it here if you are interested: https://bcooper.wordpress.com/2018/10/20/the-presence-of-god-revisited/ If my sin nature registered a one, His love nature registered a hundred, it was totally unreal, so much so that I never wanted to leave being in His presence, ever. I’ve had to remind myself of the magnitude of God’s love over the years, which for me, serves as a bit of a stabilizer when it comes to allowing my own nature to override His, in my mind. I think we all struggle with that reality in varying degrees for a variety of different factors but all of it pales to the enormity of His love. Sin is sin and God’s love is God’s love and Jesus broke the consequences of our separation with God and our one reality to focus on is our trust in Him. If we are asked to forgive others 7 times 70 times, then that is what God is willing to do for us. We forgive because we are forgiven and always, the focus point is God, He is the why. You’re right about what we sometimes see in others. But that is not what is important, it’s how we react to what we see. I wish I could share what I experienced with you but I can’t, I can only tell you that His love is so much more than our shortfalls. That also is a reality and our Father expressed that love by asking His Son to do for us what we could not do for ourselves. Imagine asking your own son to go through what Jesus went through so that your adopted son could comprehend the love that you and your son have for him. Imagine your son doing it. Imagine the message to your adopted son.
        I can’t change yesterday and the Lord knows that I would like to but I still can’t. Today is what is important and tomorrow if He gives me that to work with. If today I can only manage to hold His hand, as long as my heart is attached to that hand, that is all that He asks. Even when I stumble, even when I fall. God’s love for you surpasses anything that words can try to describe. Not even close, not even in the same ballpark. Focus on that. I know you are real, I can see that in what you write. The caring for others will come when we see ourselves in others, like I see myself in you. You are deeply deeply loved Damon because you accepted God’s love through His Son. You’re connected, let His love do for you what it’s purposed to do. Hug your wife, hug your children, thank Him when you can. The rest will unfold as you hold His hand. Focus on who you’re connected to. God’s grace, peace and blessings on you and yours. – Bruce.”
        Then I responded, ‘I agree with a the majority of your comments, Bruce. Thanks for sharing.
        My current position as a man within my personal life is actually really nice, outside of having a mentally ill mother, grieving over my father’s death, being a step parent and sometimes wanting to tell people how I really feel. Other than that, things are very well. I’m incredibly thankful for all of God’s blessings and always will be. Through it all, I have been shaped, broken completely apart and reconstructed, and as of right now, I absolutely hate drama. I have been exposed to more than I could ever express through my writings, but I try to do so in order for people to see how and why Jesus is my rock.
        Although forgiveness and love is the core of His ways, they are extremely hard for me. Looking back on my life, I see why. No one else really can. I tend to read people well, and people have motives that aren’t of God, and unfortunately, many Christians are the worst.
        My perspective is just placed here for others to view so that maybe they can get a view of themselves in a different light, through the words I share. My experiences are unique, as are yours, and the goal is to find our own peace and place in His far from beautiful world that sin has covered.
        May we keep our eyes on Him, Bruce. Peace and love, brother.’
        It went on, “I hear what you’re saying Damon and I think your being real can help others. Not criticizing at all, just reaching out. If you ever need to bounce something off of me I’m available. Here’s my email: bruce.planbsolutions@gmail.com Just wanted you to know that I’m here if you need me. No drama, no agenda. We’re brothers. Blessings.”
        And my reply, ‘Never did I think you had an agenda or were bringing about drama. Words are hard to decipher. Thanks for the email. I appreciate your true concern.’, which you liked.
        Later, after a writing I had placed here, on my site, in my words, within my personal view, on “Now, Class…”, you started a battle with me. You wrote, “Question Damon, why do you think Jesus instructed Peter to feed His sheep? And why did Paul have to take Peter to task for siding with the Jews as per Galatians 2:11-21? Curious how that fits in with your overview of the Holy Spirit guiding both Peter and Paul with regard to practising their faith. I understand the simplicity aspect of faith but there is also a requirement to discern valid doctrine and invalid doctrine pertaining to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is a danger of oversimplifying simplification by using broad strokes for everything. Balance is necessary and required. And no, it isn’t easy. Blessings brother.”
        I responded, ‘Did I hit a nerve, Bruce?
        So are you correctly guiding the sheep by saying that your way of discerning is right, and everyone else’s is not? You use the NIV, correct?
        It’s not even close, in many aspects, to the KJV. But, I digress.
        Sure, pastors should tend to the flock, but the flock must also see that their pastors are Spirit led. They need to know Him just as much as the leader. There are so many leaders that have one part, spot-on correct within their “discernment”, and the next pastor believes they are correct with a totally different discernment. As I read your articles, you are at constant war.
        Peter fed His sheep, most likely with great precision, because of his direct experience with Jesus. I don’t know enough about it to say much more. The thing I am driving home within my article is to have mercy — as God does — on the ignorant and unlearned. Spiritual meat comes after the milk, and it varies (with God’s reason, I believe) for all of His. Blessings.’
        You wrote in response, “Hi Damon, I’m smiling and no you didn’t hit a nerve, and I am aware of the shortfalls of the NIV. This comment caught me by surprise though, “As I read your articles, you are at constant war.” Actually I’m trying to maintain that balance of being as cunning or wise as a serpent and as innocent or harmless as a dove that Jesus spoke about.(Matt 10:16). Sorry if it doesn’t always come across in that way. With regard to having mercy on the ignorant and unlearned, couldn’t agree more. Enjoy your weekend! Blessings!”
        I responded with, ‘Enjoy!’
        Then, Stephen wrote, “I bet you struck a few nerves with this Truth.
        There’s only one Man who holds all Truth, His name is Jesus Christ. All Truth is contained IN Jesus Christ, and He has shared some of His Truths with many people, but no other man holds all Truth. It’s best to listen to what many men think, not just those we agree with that we may glean some Truths.
        You are absolutely on point with this blog entry. Much like in Jesus’ day, there’s no shortage of religious people who believe their interpretation of a book is absolute Truth.
        They came against Jesus so don’t be surprised if they come up against you. They will try their best to bind you to a book and follow their religion.
        Thanks be to Jesus Christ that we need not another man to teach us, but that’s not say we cannot learn from others.
        You have equal access to Jesus Christ as any other man, including the apostles, your salvation is your responsibility, don’t ever entrust anyone else with it.
        May The Grace of Jesus continue to guide you.” I responded with, ‘I couldn’t have said it better.’
        Did my agreement with Stephen start all of this ongoing, misinterpreted mess?
        I have to wonder.
        So, I see the “sides” of Bruce that you claim are only in love and concern, but you have a strange way of conveying.
        I then read the political “derogatory” conversations you had with Ryan. I saw the sides of Bruce that you act as if you are exempt from.
        Go to my post, “We, As Shepherds, Are Sometimes Bias” and read the comments. Are you a great and loving man there?
        So, you ask me why my post, “The Public Announcements” doesn’t seem to line up with my intro, “From Victim to Victor”, and I responded with, after calling your B.S. of not criticizing with, ‘The intention was to keep the frame of mind at the forefront of my blog. I suppose the writings (and your comments- not in my original response, but I’m now saying) I read here changed me for the time being’
        Of course, you were, “…trying to understand.”
        Bruce, you are confusing. I have many ups and downs, just as we all do, and I write to show people that they are not alone, and that we can all learn from the words people share. I sincerely don’t want to learn anymore from you at this time. You share things that rub me the wrong way, and I obviously do for you. I’m sorry I don’t agree with your, “always correct” ways. That is the Bruce I see. Just FYI, you won’t ever figure the Bible or God out, but I do hope you find peace in both. We are all faulty creatures — even those in Christ.

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      6. Hi Damon,

        I read through the entirety of your response twice. I have also prayed to our Lord about this. I have no desire to cause you any additional concern or distress.

        I am acutely aware that I will not figure out all that there is to know about the Bible or God while I am in this body and that I am still a faulty prone creature. For the part that I have played in this discord between us, I am truly sorry. I’ve already apologized to you a couple of times. In retrospect I can see where I could have handled it better and differently, especially by not prodding or questioning you at all. In this particular case I intruded where I should not have intruded. I assumed when I should not have assumed.

        I do have peace with what I do understand about the Bible and God, even within the current limitations of the “in part” aspects. God knows that I wish you well Damon. Because of God’s grace and mercy, some day we will meet in His presence and glorify His Holy name. Blessings brother.

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      7. Well, you kind of hurt me, too. I do my best to be His disciple, even though you see me as, “dark” at times, based on my writings.
        Not everyone sees things that either one of us do in the exact same way, and, when things are taken personally (as I see that both of us have been guilty of), the individualities clash. Especially when we open our mouths, when we shouldn’t have. Especially when you or I think everyone should feel as WE do.
        Everyone has experienced pain. You were adopted. I was handed s crappy childhood. You’ve had your experiences, I’ve had mine. I am the way that I am (and really, Bruce, I don’t need a father figure who corrects me when I write) because it is MY experience. Yes, the church is corrupt as Sue has said, but is everyone in an institution going to hell? I don’t think so. I write about the terrible abuse I have experienced there…so what? People seem to read my writings and just move on after a like, no matter what I write about.
        I’m not you, and others aren’t either. Please, for your own sake, accept it.
        Take care, and sorry if I have caused you grief as well.

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      8. There’s an awful lot of truth in what you just said Damon and it is registering. No need for you to say you are sorry, it was I that started this, not you. I do understand your position and I do understand where I went wrong. The series of events that unfolded the last couple of weeks, with you and Ryan primarily, followed by a post from Cindy about a misunderstanding that she encountered kind of brought all of this to a head, so to speak, where my actions, motives and attitude were called into question. I’m pretty sure that God had a hand in this. When I was saying my prayers this morning and I mentioned you and Ryan, the Lord brought the word “prodding” to my mind, in the sense that I was poking at others. And evidently, that is something that I have been infrequently doing, in my Christian walk, for a significant period of time. Of course, I didn’t see it that way. I could give you the reasoning in my mind behind why I did what I did but the long and the short of it is that my understanding was taking precedence over yours. And, as you have rightly identified, I was basically asking you to validate that.

        And I can see how I hurt you by my prodding. There’s a difference between advocating focusing on “whatsoever things are good” and demeaning someone because of their current perspective at a given point in time. Nothing wrong in advocating the positive objective, but be careful that advocating the objective doesn’t end up demeaning the individual, to whom the advocation is being given, in the process.

        I’m sorry that you ended up being part of my learning experience and I am sorry that I hurt you. Unfortunately this is all part of the “what happens next” sequence that I failed to take into consideration because of my unrighteous priorities, where I should have been putting your well being over my own.

        This verse keeps coming to my mind” Romans 14:4, NIV: “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.”

        Correctly judging a clear violation of God’s laws (sin) in a Christian brother or sister is one thing, whereas judging a current dispositional perspective (high or low) in another, is another.

        You take care too Damon and thank you for your patience with me. It is I that am indebted to you.

        Blessings.

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  3. Bruce I appreciate your candor and although I don’t get to read as much as I would like whenever I pick up your blog you are discerning the word rightly, And living humbly before our God. Thank you for being an ambassador for the Kingdom within and without the church. Be blessed, and be well in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

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  4. Personally, I love to have people question me about my faith, even if it could be construed as criticism or coming from an assumption of some kind. I welcome the opportunity to clarify. I’d much rather be questioned (challenged) directly than be criticized behind my back.
    I Corinthians 13 (the “love chapter”)says that “love is not easily offended.” Nothing closes down the lines of communication quite like being offended.

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    1. Exactly! Good grief, I’m always asking questions, it’s how we learn and how we become aware or circumstances that we might not know of. When people put up these blinders so that you can’t discuss anything without it being looked at as hostile criticism, it just shuts everything down. I also find that if I criticize myself openly, where I have messed up, it sometimes breaks down that defensive barrier that so many hold onto. Sometimes I just want to say “lighten up”, but that usually doesn’t go over very well with someone who is really uptight about their “projected image”. I think that is one of the reasons why I like the Apostle Peter so much, he just tells it like it is. I can easily identify with someone who admits their faults because it lets me know that they are imperfect like I am. I’m starting to ramble. Blessings!

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    2. Annie, I agree with you here that it is much better to have someone disagree with us to our face rather than to criticize us behind our backs. I have no problems with anyone disagreeing with me as long as they do it respectfully.

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      1. I agree with both of you, respectful dialogue and even disagreement is fine as long as decent behaviour is maintained. When the false and unjustified accusations and insults start flying I draw the line. Unfortunately, there are some, who do not accept any questioning whatsoever.

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    1. Hi Jim. These “observations” have been associated with two different individuals where some inferences apply to one and some to the other. Definitely not enjoyable and it resulted in a fair bit of sole searching that showed me that “truth” conveyed without God’s love being part of the delivery, is not balanced and it does need to be balanced. Sure makes you stop and think. My brain is getting sore. Blessings.

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    1. Hi Sue, yes and no. Yes, about anything that I did that I could have done better and no with regard to some of the issues that I raised. As I indicated, these are pretty extreme stances. These “issues” were directly associated with two individual men I encountered. They are an odd mixture of issues, some applicable to one and some to the other. It hasn’t been enjoyable to say the least but I just felt that the issues required clarification with regard to what doesn’t constitute slander and extreme positions that I feel are not biblically justified. Hope that answers your questions.

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      1. No Sue, I’m pretty sure none of those inferences apply to you. I know you have strong feelings about the church but I have never heard you say that it is wrong for anyone to attend. And not even close on the rest. Sorry if I caused you any concern. Blessings.

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      2. Bruce, actually your #1 was fairly close to what I teach on a regular basis – have been teaching for at least 7 years. For, years ago the Lord opened my eyes to see that the institutional church, at least here in America, is unequally yoked together with our government and with the world of big business. And by institutional I mean those that have incorporated themselves under the government via the 501c3, thus they have turned God’s house into a marketplace, and they have put another head over themselves other than Christ, which is the US government to whom now they must give an account.

        And, now the “vast majority” (a phrase I know you don’t care for, but true nonetheless) of the church, at least here in America, has gone the way of the world, and they are marketing the church like it is a business of men, and they are following man-made teaching and marketing books for how to build their businesses, and in the process, in order to attract the world into their gatherings, they have become worldly and fleshly and they have diluted the gospel message to make it more appealing to human flesh, and they are teaching a cheap grace gospel rather than death to sin and living to righteousness as part of our walks of faith with Jesus Christ.

        They are not unlike what is described in Revelation 3 about the Laodicean church, or some of the other ones listed in chapters 2-3. And, notice that 5 out of the 7 were falling short of where God wanted them to be, which is the vast majority.

        So, the Lord has directed me to write about this often and to call God’s true church, i.e. his followers, to come out of this Babylon (See Rev. 18:1-5) so that she does not share in her sins and in her punishment. And, he has led me to talk about how the church, via the 501c3 has become unequally yoked together with the ungodly, and to let folks know that we are told to come out from among her, too (2 Co. 6:14-8).

        And, then there is the story of Jesus clearing the temple because they had turned God’s house into a marketplace. And, there is the scripture about not having other gods before God, which is what has happened by making the government their head and by turning the house of the Lord, his body, into a marketplace that they market to the world by worldly means and methods. And, then there is the matter of diluting his gospel message, which many have done, in order to attract the world, and so there is absolutely much biblical support for calling the true church to come out from among being unequally yoked together with the ungodly in this “Babylon.”

        But, this is not calling people to leave the church. For, since we are the church, the only way we can leave the church is to leave God and to desert both him and the fellowship of the believers. Leaving the institutional church is, thus, not leaving the church, the body of Christ, but it is coming out from Babylon, which scripture does teach that we must do.

        So, many godly people have left the institutional market-driven and flesh-driven church of today out of obedience to the Lord and they are not unequally yoked together with the ungodly, and so they have had to find alternative ways of gathering together with the body of Christ, such as what we are doing right here. Yes, ideally it would be best to be face to face, but if that means being unequally yoked together with the ungodly and turning the house of the Lord into a market-place, then no can do.

        So, yes, very close to home was your #1, which is why I asked the question. For, this is not the first time I have read something on your blog that I thought might be an argument against something God gave me to write on my blog, but that you didn’t want to talk with me about it face to face and so you wrote about it on your blog, instead. If I am wrong about that, then please forgive me, but the Lord is saying that I need to say this to you and to ask you, as you are examining your motives, as you mentioned in your most recent post, if you would please pray about this and see if maybe what I am saying here could have an element of truth to it, i.e. that rather than talk to those with whom you disagree, you disagree with them on your own blog, instead.

        Well, you know I love you in Jesus, but I just had to share that with you out of obedience to the Lord. It is because I love God’s church that I am, out of obedience to the Lord, calling his church to come out of Babylon (being unequally yoked together with the ungodly) and to “touch no unclean thing.”

        In Christian love and concern, Sue

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      3. Hi Sue,
        Sorry for the delayed response, family matters with a grandchild took precedence.

        I’ve read what you’ve stated before about the churches in the USA with regard to 501c3. Here in Canada, it works a little different. However, when I think of all the millions of church going people in the USA that are independent and/or incorporated, although I am aware of your concerns, I still have some serious doubts about your final conclusion, e.g. that God would hold them accountable for staying within their church organization. I have no problem with anyone who decides to leave the organized church based on your conclusions but where I have a problem is where it is advocated that everyone must do it. The vast majority of Christians that I converse with in the USA go to churches that are operating within the confines of 501c3 and these are God fearing people who attend churches where the Gospel is not watered down. I’m thinking that a good percentage of them would not necessarily be in agreement with how you view this issue.

        As you know, I respect your biblical knowledge and your walk with Jesus, but in this particular area, I would at this time, have to disagree. I was aware that you advocated leaving the organized church but I was not aware that you felt it was mandatory. I actually did some research based on what you stated when I first read it and encountered a significant amount of opinions that differed with your conclusion. You also base a significant weight of your argument on the fact that the organized churches of today are in fact Babylon, where as others think that it could be the RC church or a unified church that is formed under a coming world order, which I would have a tendency to probably agree with.

        I’ve always viewed this as a matter of conscience issue, where if someone felt strongly about this, then they should be free to follow their conscience without criticism. What I will do is devote a good amount of time to research this issue more intensely and then get back to you on it.

        In the interim, please believe me when I say
        that when I wrote the initial objection about not agreeing that it being mandatory to leave the organized church, I was not aware that you deemed this as a mandatory requirement. Trust me Sue, the last thing I want to do is offend you because I do value your friendship and the ministry that you have been called to.

        If you have some reference texts or documentation that you would like me to look over, please send me the links and I will do so.

        I’m hoping you can leave this with me and I will touch base with you again after I’ve had a chance to do more research and, even if we do end up disagreeing, we can still remain friends.

        Love and concern in Christ – Bruce

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      4. Fair enough, Bruce. We each have to follow what we believe the scriptures teach on these issues. And, we can agree to disagree on matters that don’t impact our salvation and our eternal life with God. And, that does not change the fact that we are brother and sister in Christ.

        I would appreciate it, in your research, if you would examine the scriptures I referred to and if you would pray and ask the Lord how this might apply to the church today, for we need to hear from the Lord in this matter. We need to hear the mind of Christ via the Holy Spirit in these matters.

        I struggled with this for a long while before I finally was reconciled to what I now know the Lord has shown me in this matter. I believe the scriptures are clear on this subject, and so I am settled.

        But, yes, I agree there are godly people attending institutional 501c3 churches and that at least a minority of these churches have not compromised the truth in order to appease the flesh of man.

        Thank you for responding and for your graciousness, too. Sue

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      5. You’re a special lady Sue and I am honoured to call you my friend. I will do as you ask and I will get back to you, you have my word. Also willing to read over any links or documentation you might want to send my way. I sincerely appreciate your graciousness too. God’s grace, peace and blessings to you and yours.

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      6. Just to let you know Sue, I’ve been doing some research and I agree with your valid concerns about the institutional 501c3 ramifications. Still working on the Babylon aspect. I can see how one could lead into the other. Can’t help thinking that there are probably many who attend a church that is utilizing this tax break without realizing the restrictions or limitations that it could imply. I also agree with your use of the word “minority” versus “majority” because there are a large number of churches that follow a watered down version of Christianity. Spent about four hours on this last night. It kind of makes you sick when you see the pieces coming together. Haven’t got there yet but I’m thinking that your reasoning is not that far off the mark as I thought it was. Also bear in mind that there are some churches that have opted out of making use of this non profit tax exemption due to it’s ramifications. Still working on it. Have a blessed day Sue.

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      7. Bruce, thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to look into this. And I agree that many are doing so unknowingly. Rick and I were in church planting for awhile. We were told we had to do the 501c3, so we did. We thought it was required. But the Lord closed that door for us and then he began opening my eyes to all of this through dreams, actually. And that led to me doing research on it and comparing it to scripture and then I became convinced of the wrongness of it and the dangers of it.

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