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[thoughts] Church Authority (May 7-13, 2001)

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  • Mark Roth
    Yahoogroups placed the above message; not I. ... This edition goes out today to 1326 subscribers. Thank you! ... Remember to get your own free @godspost.com
    Message 1 of 1 , May 6, 2001
      Yahoogroups placed the above message; not I.

      This edition goes out today to 1326 subscribers. Thank you!

      Remember to get your own free @... email:


      The Jerusalem Council
      (Acts 15:1,2,6-15,19,20,28)

      Does God recognize the binding and loosing of the church?

      This question obviously addresses the authority of the church to make rules
      pertaining to its members. One factor that makes this issue so perilous and
      controversial is people legislating requirements which God didn't "bother"
      putting in the Bible. Did God keep silence on a particular issue because He
      doesn't care what we do in that regard, or because He gave us principles to
      apply in its case? Generally speaking, I think the answer to that question
      is the second option: God has given us principles to apply.

      I do not believe that God recognizes the church's binding and loosing when
      it violates His expressed will. I believe His expressed will includes the
      life principles He has established. For example, I believe that God does
      not endorse a congregation's decision to approve same-gender marriages.
      That is a violation of His expressed will. On the other hand, I believe
      that God does approve of a church's decision to ban tobacco farming on the
      principle that we ought not participate in that which brings harm to His
      temple, our bodies.

      But what if my congregation decides to tackle the issue of the Internet?
      Well, praise the Lord! I think Internet use needs guidelines and even
      restrictions. However, other folks believe that it needs banning, and
      others, that it needs no further oversight than the Spirit of God in the
      heart of the individual believer. So prior to the group establishing an
      Internet policy, I think each person needs to determine which elements of
      his position are Biblical and discard all others. Each person also needs to
      search the Scriptures to determine if his position is missing other
      elements. Then we're ready for the next question....

      What is required to overcome disagreements?

      Divisions, disagreements and contentions rack the church in our day. That
      this is so surprises few and discourages many. Unfortunately, many harp
      about them while participating in them, but few work to overcome them.
      Perhaps if more knew what it takes to overcome disagreements, more would
      work at such a project. So let's consider just several of the requirements.

      A COMMON GOAL AND PURPOSE. Before we can overcome our disagreements, each
      of us needs to have that as one of our goals. Aiming to win an argument
      (pardon me; a "discussion"!) has little resemblance to striving to overcome
      a disagreement. We must also purpose to find out what God has to say about
      the matter. Our own opinions and convictions should not be set aside just
      because we want agreement; however, they should give way to God and His Word.

      A COMMITMENT TO TRUTH AND UNITY. We need both of these factors to maintain
      our balance. Some folks cling to truth (or at least their version of it) so
      tenaciously that they can achieve unity with few others. Others value unity
      so highly they willingly sacrifice truth on the altar to oneness. So when
      differing parties get together to honestly seek agreement, they must all
      come with a commitment to both truth and unity. And their commitment to
      these must exceed their commitment to their own way. *That* can be very
      difficult indeed!

      AN OPEN AND HUMBLE MIND. It seems we expect others to be open to additional
      truth, but we feel we are too right to benefit from that type of openness.
      Though we should be firmly convinced of what we believe, we need to
      maintain a certain openness to the possibility we might be in error. This
      kind of openness has nothing to do with flimsiness of conviction and much
      to do with humility of mind.


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