This notice of withdrawal is wrong on so many levels that it is almost
useless to attack it.
First, they never state what has actually been taught and exactly how and
why, SCRIPTURALLY, it cannot be accepted.
Second, they refused to meet with Marion for fear of being recorded. Yes,
Christian men ought to be able to sit down and talk to one another, but they are
not doing that now either. Broadcasting a notice of withdrawal to the world
because their terms of discussion could not be met sounds more like aggressive
treaty negotiations than anything remotely scriptural.
Third, there is not a trace of genuine love or affection in the letter. Love
without truth is vain, but so too is truth without love. This is nothing but
public posturing for the sake of drawing lines, garnering support, and
Fourth, the final declaration that they will have no further communication
with Marion until he repents. This is not at all what the Bible teaches. We
are not to *fellowship* with those who are hardened in their sin. However,
those of us who are spiritual (which I do realize probably does not include the
authors of this little notice) are to snatch the sinners out of the fire, to
entreat them as brothers and not as enemies, to use every means at our disposal
to win them back. The Bible says nothing about edicts of silent treatment for
those with whom we squabble. These guys probably learned that trick in grade
I have no idea what Marion has taught and therefore cannot say whether he is
right or wrong. But I can say that the way these men are handling the
situation is absolutely wrong.
I am so sick and tired of these rote notices that do not even pretend at
genuine sentiment. They are often, as this one, written in the third person.
They are used as means of covering one's self and preserving power rather than as
earnest entreaties and pleadings for an erring brother to repent. Almost
without exception, they include some ridiculous rule created by man such as "if
he won't talk on my terms, then I'll just show him and disfellowship him
outright," or even more common, "if this brother does not repent within two weeks,
then he's out." Something about that magical two weeks. The man may have been
struggling with his faith for months and been ignored by his supposed
shepherds for longer than that, but if can't pull it together on our terms within two
weeks, then that boy's out the door!
No wonder we are splintered into dozens of different tiny factions. Even
within the factions, we can't resist drawing imaginary lines in the sand and
daring one another to leap over them.
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