"Nothing more impressive than an intellectual and spiritual approach to seeking truth and a willingness to embrace it unconditionally."

Thursday, October 27, 2011

To Receive or Not to Receive, "Who" Is the Question By Daniel McDonald

II John 10-11
v.10- “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house,
neither bid him God speed:”
v.11- “For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”

This is a Scripture that isn’t so much misquoted as it may be misunderstood.

I have heard some interpret this Scripture with a strict, legalistic view. Their interpretation is that nobody is allowed into their home who does not “abide in the doctrine of Christ” (v.9). While some interpret these Scriptures with a legalistic view, they do not observe it with a legalist view. Negligently, these verses are applied as matter of convenience.

For example, do we question the plumber, landscaper or the pizza delivery boy as to what they believe doctrinally before we invite them into our house? What about our family members who are not in the truth? Are they allowed in our homes?

This verse is not teaching us, in the home setting, to not be hospitable to somebody in need or to not show ourselves friendly with those whose doctrine may be different than ours. How many conversions to the Apostolic truth have been done through Bible studies in the setting of the home?

The issue at hand takes place in a public worship service. Interwoven in the New Testament is the fact that worship services did take place in the home. Many Christian homes fulfilled dual roles-they became a place for public worship.

The Apostle is warning us of those who propagate error. They are bringing/carrying false doctrine. These are false prophets, false teachers, false Christ’s, etc. They bring not the doctrine of Christ. “Know them who labour among you” certainly comes to mind. They are not to teach nor instruct the saints. They are not to be received in any leadership capacity within the church. Apostle John admonishes us to not even “bid him God speed.” Our stamp of approval on false teachers makes us a partaker of their evil deeds. It makes one wonder if John had one specific man in mind, from his day, who was trying to infiltrate the church with his false way.

Many speak of having dialogue with the “xyz” religion. I don’t have dialogue, I have monologue! It’s me talking to them. It’s me converting them.

The New Testament Church was hospitable in entertaining Christian ministers (III John 5-6). Jesus taught that those who received His disciples received Him; those who received a prophet and righteous man received their reward (Matthew 10:40-41). False prophets and false teachers knew the charity the Church had toward each other. No doubt, they would have used the Church’s hospitality to “prey” on them. With feigned words they make merchandise out of the saints.

II Timothy 3:6- “For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women
laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,”

In I John these false teachers have “gone out.” In Jude these false teachers have “crept in unawares…” False prophets and false teachers are creeps. They crept in-you can tell a lot about somebody by the way the walk!

These men are not to be received into the church in a teaching, leadership capacity.

Ezra 9:2- “the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands:”

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

With Such A One No Not To Eat

"But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat."
1 Corinthians 5:11 KJV

This has been a verse that I have misunderstood all my life. I have always understood this to mean the common meal. In other words, if a brother was a fornicator, I understood it to mean that I could not eat a common meal (breakfast, dinner or supper) with that person.

However I have come to realize there is a much bigger issue at stake in this text. It is not speaking of the common meal; it is speaking of the covenant (Lord's supper) meal. It is not speaking of the common table; it is speaking of the communion table.

The first reason this must be true is the context is dealing with public church discipline when the church gathers together (1 Corinthians 5:3-5; Matthew 18:18-20).

The second reason is the context of "eat." What is eating in the context of 1 Corinthians 5? Is it the common meal or the covenant meal. I believe the context will prove that it is the covenantal and sacramental meal of the Lord's Table.

If we can settle what the feast of verse 8 is, we can settle what the eat of verse 11 is. On is forced to accept that eat in verse 11 refers to the feast in verse 8. I believe that feast is the Lord's Supper.
"Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 KJV
The feast that we are to keep is the one that memorializes the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf. What feast does this? The Lord's Supper and the Lord's table is the only event and place that can possibly do this. In my opinion, since the feast seems to be the Lord's Supper, the command "with such a one not to eat" refers to the same.

There are a number of problems that we encounter if this refers to a common meal. If you want to discuss these then comment and I will be glad to.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Permanent Presence of Political Posturing Part 1b

I am writing this as a little further clarification to my first post on this topic. Many times in conversations you hear guys voice their disapproval of a fellowship or an organization on the basis that they are too political.

While being political is not the goal of the ministry/church, it is, however, a necessary and unavoidable hurdle. Political posturing in the church is like the offenses that Jesus said must come (Matthew 18:7); we should seek neither, but should allow neither to isolate us from the body of Christ.

If you are searching for a church, fellowship or organization that is free of politics, then the search is all you will ever enjoy. The church, fellowship or organization that is free of politics does not exist. We must like Paul, who as constantly under attack from the political posturing of the "super apostles" in Corinth that had become his thorn in the flesh, pray until God gives us sufficient grace.

We must also be careful that the charge against others that they are political is not a smokescreen for our own political agenda. Many times that accusation that "they" are political means "they" would not let me have may way.

I pray that God allows me to have a spirit that bears with the brethren and the body of Christ as they have so graciously done with me. I love the church and the ministry and want to help stem the tide of the rising flood waters of bitter disenchantment with the church and the ministry.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Permanent Presence of Political Posturing Part 2

Over the next few blogs I am going to give a few reasons not to despair over political posturing. Here is the first.

1. Christ Is Preached: "And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. 15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. 16 The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance," Philippians 1:14-19 ESV

I will not give an expanded explanation of what is occurring in this text, except to say, there were those who were taking advantage of Paul's imprisonment to promote their own ministries. Our involuntary response would have been to anathematize these men: "They are heretics!" However, this prideful, political, anti-Paul posturing was serving a positive purpose: Christ was being preached.

So, rather than fighting political pygmies, Paul glories that Christ is preached. Even if with envy, rivalry, insincerity and pretense the preaching of Christ and the gospel is always a positive thing. It is better to endure the politician than to pause the preaching of Christ. We must trust that the Gospel is powerful enough to save in spite of the malice and motives of men. Paul is confident that even this will turn out for his deliverance.

The Permanent Presence of Political Posturing Part 1

I know the title is cheesy, but hopefully it got your attention. We as preachers, myself included, bemoan the political posturing of Pentecost, especially among preachers. This aversion to all things political has been the driving force behind many good and bad decisions. This hatred for political power has cause men to: compromise convictions, leave organizations, change fellowships, isolate themselves and worst of all backslide.

The ironic thing about this hatred for politics, is that few things can make a man more cold, calculating and political than a hatred for politics. A perfect secular example of this is the Occupy Wall Street crowd. They have become what they protest; the spirit is the same, the agenda is just different. No one is more vitriolic than a man embittered toward an organization or fellowship.

The reality is, there will always be political power struggles in the body of Christ. Political maneuvering and manipulation will always exist. It will be a permanent reality on every level: local church, regional fellowships and organizationally. As much as we detest politics, we must come to grips with its permanency. Jesus had to deal with it in his disciples, it was in play in Corinth, it was in play through out the New Testament and will be in play through out the duration of church history.

I am not suggesting that we should sanctify it and protect it; however, I am suggesting that we accept its reality. If you do not accept this reality and you pursue an idealistic ecclesiastical climate free of political men you will die a frustrated, bitter and lonely man. We must ask God for the grace to endure.

I will suggest in part 2 that it is a positive thing...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

An Abundance of Counselors Part 3

Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14 ESV

Counselors must be free to:

1. Rigorously, yet respectfully disagree.
2. Inform me when my critics are right.
3. Be unimpressed with who I think I am.
4. Be truthful with me with out fear of being cut off.
5. Hold me accountable for my actions.

many more...

An Abundance of Counselors Part 2

Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14 ESV

Is there safety in numbers alone? No. What good is a host of foolish counselors? What good is a host of mute counselors? What good is a host of fearful counselors?

Counselors must be free to respectfully, yet rigorously disagree. In fact some counselors should be chosen for this purpose. He is a fool who chooses counselors only to affirm himself. In many cases the claim of accountability is a facade. To many times counselors are men hired to back my story, not change my thinking or correct my flaws.

An Abundance of Counselors Part 1

Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14 ESV

Men long to make decisions free of the opinions of others. Yet, all who do inevitably make fatal mistakes. This prideful longing is the greatest desire of masculinity, and its greatest undoing. How quickly would I make bad decisions, if not for godly counselors.

Counselors are not beneath men of greatness, they are the basis of men of greatness. The greater the man, the greater the need for counselors. Who most needs counselors: paupers or kings? Men of great power and influence are most in need of voices of reason. Great Presidents have great cabinets. Great kings have great advisors. So do great preachers.