Saturday, November 14, 2009

Child of the Light or Member of the World?

Thelma, my aunt-through-marriage, owes me money.

Following the steps of Matthew 18:15-17,

(Matthew 18:
15. Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
16. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
17. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.)

in 2006, I took the issue to her pastor, Paul Anderson, of the Zion Lutheran Church in Fairfield, WA who agreed that I was doing the right thing. He asked what kind of reaction he might expect from her when he talks to her and if he may show her the letter I had written documenting her behavior in avoiding to pay me. I gave my permission since she already knows what she's done.

But, he never spoke to her nor did he gather a group of church members to talk to her. Granted, she winters in Mesa, AZ but still, he's had time enough and then some.

As a result, last month I wrote a letter of complaint to his bishop, Martin D. Wells, of the Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod located in Spokane, WA.

If I'm generous, I'll say that Wells is apparently ignorant of 1 Corinthians 6:1-7 that says we are not to go to court against one another but to resolve issues within the church.

(1 Corinthians 6:
1. Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?...
7. Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another...)

However, ignoring Matthew 18:17 that I quoted in my letter to him, Bishop Wells replied:

"...You are attempting to use his sacred influence with a parishioner to get something you want from that parishioner...

Your recourse is through the courts. Please leave Pastor Anderson out of this matter... Please fight your own fight and leave this pastor out of your triangulation."

Yes, I wrote back, challenging the bishop with a dozen questions and scripture verses that I pray will prick his conscience and lead him to repent. Since the letter went out with yesterday's mail, his reaction remains to be seen.

However, for a person to be in church, a church leader for as long as Wells has been, and a bishop at that, to instruct anyone to do precisely what the Bible says not to do, is the antithesis of Christianity. Telling me to disobey God is an action of Satan's servant, not a servant of Christ.

Harsh words? Or am I calling it as it is?

Now, here's the point to this post:

If church leadership ignores the Bible in favor of the ways of the world, is it any wonder that Christians can't be distinguished as being Christians or as being any different from members of the world?

Since we can read the Bible for ourselves and have the Holy Spirit to guide us if we're willing to be led by Him, our worldly behavior isn't excused because church leadership erroneously says it's okay or ignores it since we are responsible for our own relationship with the Lord.

So, if you call yourself a Christian, what practices do you engage in that make you look like a member of the world?

Why don't you stop?

I hope it isn't because you love the world and its ways more than you appreciate the Lord who was crucified for us.

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