Tag Archive: church


Silent Majority

Many years ago, we began a journey together on a ship called the ‘Oasis’.

The captain set the course, simple, straight forward, and we all got on board, with hundreds boarding the ship at various ports along the way. 

The beloved captain, took a fall, but the crew stood ready, to stay the course.

The first mate took the wheel, and we moved forward, together.

The crew became concerned, and came to the new captain, saying ‘I believe we are off course’.

The new captain assured them, ‘we are on course’.

But the ports we began to stop in, were not on the original course.  Some of the crew and passengers recognized the foreign ports and began to disembark, looking for new ships to get them back on course.

The new captain’s words continually assured the crew and passengers that he had not changed course.

And yet there was no denying the evidence, the ship had most certainly changed course.

Most of the crew and the majority of the passengers decided to disembark, some speaking to the captain first, some leaving quiet and confused, some feeling they had no voice at all. 

Eventually, the new captain himself recognized the change of course and set sail on his new craft, ‘the City Church’; taking a few remaining crew members and passengers; leaving the ‘Oasis’ to drift away.

Passengers and crew members of the ‘Oasis’ now scattered at various ports; as they work to get back on course, perhaps can’t help but grieve what was once a beautiful ship, setting sail on a simple course.

Over the last several months, perhaps years, so much has been said and done, but in the simplest of terms, the Silent Majority has spoken. 

“This was not the course we set sail on when we boarded the ‘Oasis'”

My Prayer for the Silent Majority

May God hear the voice of all who lost their home,

May he bring them into fellowship, especially at His throne.

 

May God hear the voice of those who left in tears

May He comfort their heart and quiet their fears.

 

May God hear the voice of those who left confused,

May he bring clarity, where His word was misused.

 

May God hear the voice of those who left betrayed,

May he bring restoration, To relationships frayed.

 

May God hear the voice of those who left offended,

May he bring confirmation, their rebuke be commended.

 

May God hear the voice of those who left mad,

May His righteousness remind them, anger isn’t always bad.

 

May God hear the voice of those who left defeated,

May He remind them, their gifts are needed.

 

May God hear the voice of those who left in pain,

May He mend their broken hearts, Their efforts were not in vain.

 

May God hear the voice of those who stayed behind,

May His promise be true for them, “Seek and you will find”

 

May God hear the voice of those who are misled,

May they be reminded, ‘for your sins, Jesus bled’.

 

May God quiet the voice, of those who’s words deceive

May He bring to mind the simple truth ‘in whom did you first believe’.

 

May God’s voice be heard, may truth resound,

May He comfort His people, to His heart may they be bound.

Advertisements

Over the last several months, for variety of reasons in my own life and the lives of those around me, the issue of elders in the church has become a topic heavy on my heart and mind.

I had a vague idea of what I thought a biblical elder should be, then I began hearing conversation about the position of an elder.  A few issues came up, such as, What are the responsibilities of the elders? What authority do the elders have?  Why it is dangerous to confront an elder or pastor? 

I began to wonder if I really understood the job description of an elder. I needed to stop all the noise, even if it was from people I respected, and find out what does God have to say about all this.

I started my research at CARM (Christian Apologetics Research Ministry).  Only because I knew the leg work of locating scripture would be done for me.  Sure enough I found thorough research on the elders in the church, their job description,even an outline of responsiblities and qualifications. 

There was so much good information I didn’t know where to begin reading.  I was pretty familiar with the qualifications, (although I did learn that the word elder is masculine, making a point for the side of no women elders).  I was primarily interested in the responsiblities of the elders and pearing down what that looked like, not just what I had seen modeled.

I chose 1 Pet 5:1-3 as a catalyst to defining the role of the elder.

The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly,not for dishonest gain but eagerly;  nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;

Key words in the job description in this verse are Shepard and overseer.

Well, we know what a shepard does, it feeds the sheep, keeps them safe, and keeps the wolves out.

But I wanted to examine ‘overseer’.

I went to the Greek definitions for overseer.  I looked not only at the initial definition given, but continued to the root word, and found that the word for overseer was born from a word meaning WATCHMAN.

Wow!  Have a got a good analogy for this one!

So go with me for a moment to a camp in a deserted area.  A group of men, women and children, have set up housekeeping in this vast wilderness, and they choose watchman, who will rotate standing guard.

This Watchman will be looking for anything that may threaten the security of the camp.  He is guarding so that when a potential threat arises, he can take precautions to prevent entry into the camp.  Should he be unable to prevent an attack on the camp, his job would be to sound the alarm, so that all those within the camp are now aware of the pending attack, and can take precautions or flee. 

What this watchman would not do, is greet the attacker, ask what his plans are, then well aware of the threat to the camp, say “Have at it, but I can’t stand by and watch I’m out of here.” and then silently walk away.

I think it is important to note that if an attacker approaches, and the watchman is doing his job, he is going to be the first one fighting for his life. 

 He wasn’t hired to abandon his post at the first sign of a threat.  He was hired to keep watch, alert everyone of potential threat, and do everything in his power to prevent the attack, even if it meant loosing his own life.

The Watchman’s job is first to ward off any potential threat, and second,if unable to prevent it, to alert the entire camp of the threat.

So now we have an elder, who is to give food to, provide shelter for, and be a watchman of, the flock.

I came to this topic full of emotions because I felt our church had been abandoned by the elders, and because I was aware of another local church where there is a cycle of elders leaving their positions and yet the congregation remains helplessly unaware of what their Pastor is doing.

After seeking the Lord, studying the Word, and concurring with my husband, I still wanted confirmation that my concept of a biblical elder was not off base.  I couldn’t believe that I could be right, and that these men, who were suppose to be fulfilling these positions were dropping the ball.  These are Godly men, whom my husband and I respect, and yet they have left us fending for ourselves, unwilling to even talk about why privately, let alone sound an alarm publically.

Well that confirmation came, very quickly. 

We met with a newly appointed elder of our church, and we were careful to ask him questions without leading him to the answeres we wanted to hear.

What we heard was a resounding “I will be your WATCHMAN”

False teaching and spiritual abuse are running rampid and elders are walking away.

Where is the alarm? Where is the warning, Watchman?

You may dismiss my whole argument right now, saying that the threat is coming from inside the camp and so the rules are different.  Consider that a wolf in sheeps clothing may not be recognized immediatly upon entry to the flock, but when his identity is revealed it is still the job of the shepard to save the sheep!

Being an elder is a highcalling, and if a man believes he was called to this position by God, not just chosen by a pastor seeking “YES MEN”, then he ought to be willing to follow through on the responsibilities God called him to fulfill.

If these Pastors I refer to are quilty of  spiritual abuse, the elders walking away from them, and allowing them to continue, are at the very least quilty of spiritual neglect.

I must warn you, I am on a soap box this morning!!!!

Gossip!

Nobody wants to gossip!  Atleast in Christian circles, no one wants to gossip or be accused of gossip, or slander. 

An admirable goal.  I don’t want to be a gossip either. 

But let us consider Matthew 18 for a moment:  (a brief summary)

Confront a brother privately.

Confront a brother with witnesses.

Confront a brother before the church.

The Church is the body of believers. It is not the staff, it is not the elders, it is not the building, it is the BODY OF BELIEVERS!

So the first stop on my soap box is

1) Why do people stop short of confronting an offender infront of the body of believers?

Why does a pastor, who’s behavior has come into question, have the right to defend himself behind closed doors, and never be confronted infront of the Body of Belivers?

Why are elders and staff pastors busy about protecting the reputation of a lead pastor, and not busy about protecting the sheep in the flock, and even worse, not busy about protecting the reputation of the Lord?

Next Stop on the Sliding Soap Box:

2) Why is it gossip to tell someone, sitting in a body of believers, what is going on in that body?

If it is true, and it concerns the people you are talking to, why is it gossip?

We quarintine people who have diseases, and we tell everyone not to go near them, lest they be infected.  It isn’t gossip, it is sharing relative, valuable information that concerns the people to whom you are speaking.

I am a part of a church, in a relatively small community in Central Oregon that has been on a roller coaster for the past few years. This church started with solid teaching, and a mission to raise up Men of God, that would lead there families, and be a testimony in this fallen world to the truth of God.

 It was truly an Oasis in the desert.

  Our Pastor fell, he committed ‘the ultimate sin’ and our associate pastor took over.  He has changed the dynamic, the teaching is different, the emphasis has changed and one by one, elders are leaving, staff pastors are being let go and recently 3/4 of the church including elders, lay leaders, home group leaders, and staff pastors are fleeing from their positions because they disagree with doctrine, and the direction of the church.  

Hundreds of people, are willing to walk out the door, forsaking their place of fellowship, because they believe the Word of God is being corrupted, they believe God’s honor is at stake, and yet they won’t stand up, infront of the BODY OF BELIEVERS and say a word.  

They just quietly walk out the door, and leave the rest of the flock to discover the wolves for ourselves.

Elders, and pastors, and leaders, and brothers and sisters in the Lord, should care more about one another than that.

Why are you quietly protecting the interests of one man, or even a handful of men, rather than protecing the interests of the Lord?  If it is important enough to leave your fellowship over, isn’t it important enough to expose to the rest of the body?

I won’t leave quietly.  I have heard one side of the story from the horses mouth.  I am seeking to hear the other side of the story from the other horse.  And when I do, I will tell those I care for, who are still sitting in that body, this is the truth of the matter, this is what is going on, and you need to be informed and you need to make a decision. 

We lost our fellowship.  Hundreds of families displaced from our dear fellowship in our small corner of Central Oregon, because no one wanted to take the final step of Matt 18, and no one wanted to gossip.

Do you think the Lord will look upon this and say to those who have walked out the door, leaving others behind to fend for themsleves “well done, my good and faithful servant”?

We have lost our Oasis in the desert, and we didn’t even fight to try to keep it.

10)  Know what you are getting…You may see a good paint job, but find nothing but problems under the hood.

9) Take a test drive…the engine may purr like a kitten sitting still, but what happens when you shift gears?

8) Consider the average mpg…Gas is expensive, but if you run out, the fuel injection system is far more costly.

7) Check the tire treads…you never know when the road will get bumpy.

6) Find a mechanic you can trust…there are plenty of folks out there who can offer you a quick fix but will it last?

5) Check the Brakes…if there is nothing to stop you once you get going, it could be one dangerous ride

4) Count the Cost…the value will most likely decrease over time

3) Ask for a maintenance record… there are many parts that need to be maintained, and if they aren’t it just won’t run quite right

2) Don’t get too attached…just drive it ’til it dies and then get another one

1) Don’t lose the key… You can pack a bunch of people in, but without the key, you are going nowhere

I am challenged by a response to previous posts about spiritual authority that says the idea of ‘spiritual authority’ or a ‘covering’ is heresy. 

Now I haven’t investigated all that in the Word yet, but I am working through a few scenarios that make our current few of ‘authority’ of the local church over their congregats flawed. 

Go with me on my tangent. 

I am in a women’s group that meets bi-monthly to discuss the Word.

So let’s say I am a false teacher, sitting in the women’s group, teaching a false doctrine.  For fun let’s pick something no one would actually believe…

How about ‘Elmo is a modern day apostle’

So after I have begun proclaiming this false teaching in the group, the hostess recognizes the problem and in accordance with Matt. 18  she confronts me privately, sharing her concern about my Elmo teaching.

I tell her I appreciate her interest, but I am right and she is wrong.

She then brings a witness or two with her from the group who share their concern about my Elmo teaching.

I tell them, I appreciate your concern, but I’m right, and will continue to speak freely about Elmo.

The hostess and witnesses then decide to go to my local church, and tell my pastor, who is in ‘authority’ over me, that I am presenting a false teaching about Elmo.

So my pastor comes to me and I say thanks for asking, but your wrong, and Elmo is who I say he is.

Now what?

The problem clearly is that while I attend the local church, and fellowship there, and am taught there, I have no relationship with this pastor, who is also pastor to 500 other people, so this man who looks like a modern day spiritual authority in my life, because I am supposedly submitted to my local body, actually has no authority in my life.

So now what, that authority figure, actually has no authority, and I can freely continue my teaching about Elmo.

The ‘church’ in this case perhaps should have been the women’s group, who actually hears me talking about Elmo and needs to make a judgement about whether or not my teaching is false, and perhaps cast me out of the ‘church’ if I persist in my teaching about Elmo.

I am only at the tip of the iceberg in discovery and study about this spiritual authority issue.  But I am intrigued by the idea that someone says it is heresy from the shepard’s movement.  And I can already see how this ‘authority/covering’ doctrine is overused and abused in my local churches.

Why are our leaders asserting the idea that they are our ‘spiritual leaders’?

The bible tells me my husband is my leader.

Why are we members looking for a ‘spiritual leader’?

1) We have one, his name is JESUS,

2) it is easier to sit back and let someone else ‘cover’ whatever you are doing, hearing, being taught, than to take time to investigate it all yourself, taking every morsel to the Lord, and not owning it until you have an answer from the Lord Himself.

Like I said, tip of the ice berg, but I am sensing a melt down!