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Monday, May 07, 2007

A Forced Observation

Anyone who reads here knows that I don’t accept the divisions being thrust upon the body of Christ as being valid. Throughout Church history I find only one real division and that only because the contrast simply cannot and should not be ignored. To be honest, like others who find a division, I too wonder if any of those on the one side and not the other really are a part of the body. At present I have hope that some were and are and are only in error but regardless I shudder at the effect of their beliefs on the body and the world, and on themselves in judgment. These groups cannot be identified by denomination but only by their personal theology which, for one side, is often masked. Please consider this division I find and decide if it is valid, and if so, on which side you fall.

The first division is the persecuted Church. It’s not hard to trace the origin of this group as it obviously began with Jesus who is their head. Some of these have suffered death as well but the actual degree of persecution varies from mere verbal assault to open torture. This group is also marked by their unique belief that the Church is sustained by the power of God. This group promotes love for God in Christ and love for others and utilizes teaching as their primary tool for accomplishing this goal. They not only continue to exist, but often flourish under persecution.

The second division is the persecuting Church. This division believes the Church should be empowered and sustained through government authority of which they, of course, have a God given right to be head. This group seeks power and control in and of the world and will justify any means to that end.

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37 Comments:

Blogger Missy said...

KC, like you, I am careful not to judge anyone else's place before the Lord. But, I am definitely called to have discernment and carry the responsibility of maintaining Jesus as Lord of my life. I think I could agree with your assessment, if for only this reason:

If Christ is not the head, then how can it be His body?

5/07/2007 07:14:00 AM  
Blogger Penless Thoughts said...

I've been following your blog and the comments made for some time but I think this is the first time I've posted a comment. To me this is a no-brainer. It must be the persecuted church since Jesus was the first and we are to become like Him. I eagerly wait to read further comments on this one.

Susan

5/07/2007 09:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Gordon Cloud said...

This is a good observation, KC.

5/07/2007 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger Mrs Zeke said...

A vast difference between judging a soul and judging an action exists.

We miss the mark more then not in what we think our duties are in the judgment of an action. Often I see and maybe even been guilty of the thinking of "I see God's law being broke I must fix it"

The reality is battles are God's unless expressly called to take up a sword. Because I believe we are much more inclined to cut then be silent and wait.

I shudder when thinking how many times I have openly thrown God's laws aside to do as I wish. The reality is if a brother or sister in Christ would have in most of those moments come to condemn me it would only have sealed my self hatred and pushed me away more.

There were other times intervention was a blessing but thankfully the people who did that were letting God lead them.

I am not saying to sit and wait all the time but in something as important as exposing a difficult place in someone I think making sure we are crystal clear is in the will of God is important.

God fights His battles with who He calls I worry we call ourselves sometimes and say it is God.

There is no promise of tomorrow love now.

5/07/2007 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

So, KC, to kinda put us all on the spot here. In your opinion what theology in general lends itself to the persecuting Church division more. I know we run the risk of being this same "persecuting Church" if we think we think we can answer this.

Man, this is a touchy subject which makes your statement:
"These groups cannot be identified by denomination but only by their personal theology which, for one side, is often masked."
being ever more true.

This is a big stumbling block for me. Many times(though not as often as should) I have to just get away from "theology" debates all together for awhile. Because I am ever so prone, the longer the debate goes on, to think myself to be the only one who sees between me and the person I am debating. And it is really true when I look at my own denomination(SBC) and shake my head at what we/they come up with as resolutions. I think for the most part these "leaders" are sincere men in their beliefs.....but then again I think so were the pharisees.

Someone somewhere said:"..."For judgement I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind."

Those are really tough words to swallow when I am trying to be guide to the blind.

5/07/2007 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Missy thanks again and for always taking the time to consider these things and respond. I really hadn’t intended to cast doubt on the salvation of the persecutors but I had to be honest. According to John if one would say he loves God and hates a brother he is a liar and the truth is not in him. What could possibly give one believer justification for ridiculing, torturing or even murdering another over a difference in interpretation or theology?

Ms Susan it is a blessing and an honor to have your thoughts on this. I agree, in spite of my desire not to see any division, it is a no-brainer. I hope you’ll feel welcome to always add your thoughts here.

Thanks Preacher! I miss reading your post but I’m thankful God is blessing you with a full life and ministry.

Lady Z, I agree with all you’ve said but I fear I’ve missed a valuable connection. Are you saying it may be out of place to condemn persecution or that the persecutors must first pass judgment on others?

Kris my Brotha! Actually I do believe that Systematic Theology has been used historically and is often used presently to vilify dissenters and create an opportunity for condemnation where there should be none. Many go so far as to equate it with scripture. I’m not saying that Systematic Theology is inherently evil, just that it is often used as such by those who persecute.

5/07/2007 06:19:00 PM  
Blogger Mrs Zeke said...

Kc it was my fault about the connection not you missing something.

It is never out of place to condemn persecution the nature of persecution is injustice.

The persecutors can not pass judgement because of the nature of persecution any attempt at honest judgement is moot for the persecutions needs for the outcome of judgment to be guilty to justify there action.

It should as a Church break our hearts when a brother or sister are committing sin, instead it is often the foyer talk after service.

Those who are persecuted for Christ sake are blessed how tragic when that persecution comes from the same church home as the persecuted.

If I do not go to a brother who is in need of intervention if you will, with the heart to serve him then I become his persecution er not his way back home.

make more sense?

btw I love you

5/07/2007 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

And I love you Sis! You rang the bells this time.

“It should as a Church break our hearts when a brother or sister are committing sin, instead it is often the foyer talk after service.

Those who are persecuted for Christ sake are blessed how tragic when that persecution comes from the same church home as the persecuted.

If I do not go to a brother who is in need of intervention if you will, with the heart to serve him then I become his persecution er not his way back home.”

I think those three statements address nearly every aspect of this problem.

5/08/2007 06:52:00 AM  
Anonymous rrbj said...

Kc good comments . I have to agree with the first division of the persecuted Church ! I like so many before me were taught by the old timey preachers about what Jesus expected out of us and most of the Times if they were differences the words of the Bible would in love, serve as the moderator and come to an agreement with the disagreeing ! Blessings. Ron.

5/08/2007 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger Missy said...

So, what do I DO if I find myself in a persecuting church? I'm not saying I am - at least I don't think I am. But I think a persecuting church might not start out as one?

5/08/2007 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger pecheur said...

As we have discussed this before, in those wonderful face to face times that I miss terribly, this perspective of church history is a challenging one to me. It is one that I can't argue too much with.

What do we do with the congregations who are clearly outside biblical practices? Then, the persecuting church becomes the less prefered and the persecuted church becomes most prefered. Which may be a bad scenario.

As Missy stated, what do we do if we find ourselves in a persecuting church? And I guess I am defining "persecuting" in a broad manner. Could one be considered "persecuting" if they are standing against congregations well outside of biblical principles? That is what I want to avoid, giving a martry status to unbiblical acting/teaching entities.

5/08/2007 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger Mrs Zeke said...

Missy I think people with good intentions only become a persecuting when afraid.

We are never more venerable then when we are thrust into a world or situation we can not understand, when that world or situation is contrary to our belief and when we happen to also love that person(s). What happens is the well meaning person instead of making choices out of love start to make them out of fear. Fear is controlling, has its own interest in mind and never considers others.

All we can do when we find ourselves or our Church group is take a step backwards and say "where is God in this action?". If you are in a church that is bent on persecution and God is not the leader of the issue ask God if this is where your church home should be and if so ask Him to guide your steps in dealing with the issue.

Zeke and I have many times found ourselves on the opposite side of our loved church. We first had to make sure we lined up with the Bible and then that any action we were going to take would be pleasing to God and about His Kingdom not about our disagreement on the issue.

I hope this made sense.
Be loved you are

5/08/2007 11:46:00 AM  
Anonymous rrbj said...

Mrs Zeke I agree with most of what you said ? The point that I don't understand is the Fact that so many quit attending a certain church because of differences but my outlook on this as you said that we should do it in a pleasing manner that would be pleasing to God ! The main question that puzzles me is does someone attend church to please everyone else that is there or do you attend church in hopes of enriching your heart to appreciate Gods Blessings ! It is human nature to cling to what you believe but anyone should be able to compromise in order to have a church that would be pleasing to God by doing it thru the Grace of God that you should have already received ? Just rambling cause I go to church where I go no matter what I think others think about me because I go for myself trying to fill the holes in my head that God would have me learn ? Mrs Zeke I'm not singling you out even tho it might seem that way . Lol and that don't mean lots of laughing it means that I love you and Mr. Zeke . Blessings. Ron.

5/08/2007 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Mrs. Zeke's comments on this thread are so right on. When I am walking by the Spirit that is exactly what I think and pursue.

The problem is I don't always walk by the Spirit and the war in my soul is so overwhelming.therefore my flesh is empowered and the temptation to be part of this "persecuting" church is great.

You have been such a blessing to me Mrs. Zeke.

KC, I agree 100% with your thoughts on systematic theology. I have never been a big proponent of of a system for interpreting. Especially one that presumes to fully understand how a sovereign God exercises His sovereignty with the results being destroying literally clear passages on salvation to make them fit the system.

5/08/2007 05:11:00 PM  
Blogger Mrs Zeke said...

Ron, no worries I love to be loved :)

I don't know all the reasons people go to church I know I go cause I want to worship God with other people. I avoid the foyer if you will. I don't want to know who is doing what or things like that I just want to set aside a time with others and worship. Simple. It has to be about God or not. When my mind is elsewhere it is my problem.

Thank you Kris we all have that flesh each and everyone and while we know how to combat it easy it is not.

Be loved then love

5/08/2007 06:53:00 PM  
Blogger dorsey said...

Good thoughts, especially about the idea of the persecuting church.

I also think a discussion of the persecuted church must necessarily address the phenomenon of the self-fulfilling persecutorial prophecy. It's easy to point out wackos like Fred Phelps and Paul Crouch, who pull their scheming theo-scams out of their, um, hats, and then justify themselves by the "persecution" that follows.

More subtle, though, are Christians who, with insufferable obnoxiousness, alienate everyone around them. Then, with solemn expressions and set jaws, they proudly play the martyr, as if they stand to be rewarded because someone refused to put up with their arrogance.

Can entire congregations be so categorized, or are these folks scattered through every church, like tares among wheat?

Dorsism Point #9: "When people hate you, remember they hated me first." Then, remember that you might just be a jerk.

5/08/2007 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger Missy said...

Mrs. Zeke, I think your answer is one I will cherish. It sounds very much in spirit with the love of Christ.

Would the fact that Jesus continued to go to Temple, despite his teachings being very different from the Pharisee's in leadership, have any bearing? Would you consider that a persecuting church, or am I way off mark?

5/08/2007 09:40:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Ron I’ve found that most believers have limits on what they’re willing to discuss concerning their beliefs and that usually their limits are inverted. We won’t listen to anyone about what we’re certain of and we won’t talk to anyone about what we’re unsure of but I agree, we need to learn to love with or without agreement. ;-)

Missy I really appreciate your question. My observation is that persecution begins and ends within an individual. If that individual is a leader then many of his or her followers will likely persecute as well but it doesn’t have to be that way. I do find the more structured the assembly/denomination the greater the persecution when it arises. I think we’re all susceptible to becoming a persecutor when we fail to acknowledge that we are each made free in Christ alone and are likewise bound to righteousness in Him alone. All judgment is given to Him.

Pech you are constantly before my eyes. ;-)

That’s a great point brother. We can stand against sin and evil our whole life and never take a stand for Christ.

I’ll call soon.

Lady Z, thank you again for gracing us with your wisdom. I’m enjoying your conversations on this. ;-)

Kris thanks for pointing out that critical difference between these two divisions. We must all walk in the Spirit or risk the same error or worse.

I think we can trace the origin and divisive use of Systematic Theology at least back to the third century if not before.

Great point Dorsemeister! Not everyone who is suffering persecution is doing so for the sake of righteousness!
We need to formulate a strong doctrinal statement with heavy penalties for practicing Jerkism! (hehe)

To all:
Do you think it’s possible that this problem could be avoided if we learn to practice discipleship/discipline in accordance with Christ’ teaching?

5/09/2007 05:32:00 AM  
Anonymous rrbj said...

AMEN ! KC I agree with that !! Blessings. Ron.

5/09/2007 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger Missy said...

KC, I have never really thought of what Christ teaches specifically about discipleship/discipline - at least I cannot recall any specifics.

But I know that one of the things I have been studying and trying to imitate about Christ for a very long time (usually unsuccessfully) is His consistent treatment of those who wronged Him. He did nothing. Everytime. He stood up when the temple was disgraced, when the adulterous woman was about to be stoned - but when injustice was thrown at Him, He did not even attempt to defend His obvious innocence. He died for people with screwed up theology then and now. He seemed to place no importance on convincing people He was right and they were wrong.

He taught that you turn the other cheek, give the tunic off your back, love your enemies.

I often imagine Him with his face in His hands after a lesson with His disciples, just shaking His head because, once again, they did not get it. Did He yell at them, break fellowship, find new fishermen? No, it seemed to me He often went off to pray.

Is this what you mean?

5/09/2007 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger dorsey said...

"He taught that you turn the other cheek, give the tunic off your back, love your enemies."

But who can relate to a guy like that? I have a far better handle on the Smiting Jesus. I can imitate him, no problem.

; )

5/09/2007 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Missy, I'm so glad you asked! (grin)

I think it's a critical aspect of our relationship with each other in Christ. Here's the link to an index of the articles I wrote on the subject.
http://justsoyouallknow.blogspot.com/2007/02/church-discipline.html

5/09/2007 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger Missy said...

Whew! KC, that was a lot of reading - but some of the best I've read in a long time. I think I read some prior, but not all.

So, now that I am more educated, back to the question:

"Do you think it’s possible that this problem could be avoided if we learn to practice discipleship/discipline in accordance with Christ’ teaching?"

No.

5/09/2007 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Missy said...

KC, :)

What I mean is that enough people in the church will refuse or be unable to practice it in the right spirit for persecution to be avoided.

But I do believe it to be the only solution.

5/09/2007 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Realist! :P

Missy it was so kind of you to take the time to read those articles. I think your answer is backed up by far too much history to ignore. Maybe we can work for it in our local assembly and family. ;-)

5/09/2007 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Oh, and in the Blogosphere of course! ;-)

5/09/2007 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

Don't you think you are being a bit judgemental? Who are we to decide who is sinning and who isn't. Go back to your bibles and read to story of the woman caught in adultary and see what Jesus' comments were. There are so many stories of Jesus enjoying the company of sinners, or at least, who the Pharisees called sinners and I'm sure you know what Jesus thought of the Pharisees.

5/09/2007 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger danny wright said...

Amen!

5/09/2007 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Lorenzo welcome and thanks for your thoughts. I have to admit I am being very judgmental concerning the act of persecution but you’re right, I cannot judge the person who commits it, only the act. With respect to the example you cite I would hope the thought here would be, “go and sin no more”. ;-)

Danny I’m not sure if your approval was for the article or for Lorenzo’s comment but in either case thanks for reading and commenting! ;-)

5/09/2007 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger dorsey said...

I agree with the spirit of your comment, brother thellama. I enjoy hanging out with sinners, too (they're more likely to show up with beer). But Jesus DID say, "Go, and don't sin anymore." Therefore, while he didn't condemn her, he did make a value judgement.

5/09/2007 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

Yes I know Jesus said to sin no more. His words to sinners are so beautiful. It makes me so grateful when I read about the prostitute (some say Mary Magdalene) annointing his feet with perfume, the words he says to the woman at the well, and those incredible words on the cross to the thief 'you will be in Paradise with me today'.
What I struggle with, is the certainty of evangalist Christians. They can come over so smug and self-righteous and I suppose the truth is it makes strugglers like me uncomfortable because we struggle so much. I think it was Blaise Pascal who said 'you would not seek God if you had not already found Him'. Ask, Seeking and Knocking seems to me to be a life time's work, especially as just when you think you are getting somewhere, the carpet gets pulled from beneath your feet!

5/09/2007 02:41:00 PM  
Anonymous rrbj said...

Lorenzo I think that the story of the aldutrous woman , Jesus was using it to show the pharasee's and teach the fact that the judging of someone else was none of your business because the judging was left up to Him. That is why Jesus said " He without any sin cast the first stone " ! I believe that jesus used the example to teach with because it was a real life example and yes Jesus spent a lot of time with sinners because He loved them and was trying to show them the way to their salvation? As Jesus said to the woman " go and sin no more " left it up to her to either accept His plan for eternal life or be punished on judgement day ? They are also other examples that Jesus taught by to express His authority ? Blessings. Ron.

5/09/2007 02:50:00 PM  
Blogger Missy said...

I think this comment falls in the relative arena of this discussion, but reading your articles on church discipline, KC, reminded me of a visual I developed once after reading the "plank in the eye" scripture.

I saw myself staring eye to eye with someone, and the plank in my eye made it appear as though there was a speck in the eye of the person across from me.

I don't think this was what the verses intended, but I could never shake that image. But I did take for sure that this meant I should spend a great deal more time on my own sin than someone elses.

I think that's part of what it takes and maybe the rest is simply love. I am probably making it naively simple, but anything more would create a dogmatic approach that no longer requires these two things. These methods in the Bible, I think, only work if we have love for one another. Otherwise it is simply a corporate admonishment, even when done by the wisest, most patient elder.

I can and have practiced and recieved the kind of love that changes the course of sin by brothers and sisters in the church. I love and depend on that discipline. But a brother or sister I have a corporate love for through Christ, but I do not know, never has the same effect as someone I confess my joys and afflictions to - a friend.

Maybe a persecuting church becomes one in the same way I become a persecuting individual, when it has no friends, either by self-inflicted isolation, arrogance, etc. or prior persecution.

5/09/2007 02:57:00 PM  
Blogger dorsey said...

"What I struggle with, is the certainty of evangalist Christians. They can come over so smug and self-righteous and I suppose the truth is it makes strugglers like me uncomfortable because we struggle so much."

Brother thellama, you and I are in agreement. I don't have a problem believing in right and wrong. It's the failure of Christians to recognize that we're all in the same boat that chaps my, uh, buttocks. In other words, Just because you commit a sin that everyone can observe doesn't make me a better Christian than you. It just means that I did mine when no one was looking.

5/09/2007 05:58:00 PM  
Blogger danny wright said...

The Amen was for your post. I have a "Favorite Post" list on my blog and I was trying to figure out how I could put this one on it.

Good Job Sir

5/09/2007 08:17:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Lorenzo thanks so much for sticking with this. I’m not sure when or if you’ll read this but, if so, I hope your trip went well. I’m looking forward in the hope of much more dialog with you and Jim and I hope you’ll always feel comfortable in offering your thoughts here and especially so when we disagree. ;-)

Ron I appreciate your contribution as always. ;-)

Missy those are great points IMO. That’s a kewl visual and though I agree it may not clearly illustrate the concept put forth in those verses it certainly exemplifies the necessary attitude.

I agree that love is perquisite in all things. I think you’ve made a good point concerning the consequence of isolating ourselves. If we involve ourselves with our brethren, as we should, then there would likely be none occasion for admonishment from any other than them. They will be there to give guidance and encouragement because we will be there to receive it. If on the other hand we have isolated ourselves then everyone is an outsider and admonition can only come from a fearless servant that loves without dissimulation.

Dorse I hope I’m never in a boat without you! (Bro. I think Lorenzo is a lady) ;-)

Danny thanks o much for the visit and the kind words. I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts and I pray we can always be a blessing to one another here in the blogosphere. ;-)

5/10/2007 05:09:00 AM  
Blogger dorsey said...

Aw, dude, now I'm embarrassed. It even says female right there in the profile. I'm an oblivious dolt.

Please forgive me, uh, Sister thellama. In my head, I was picturing the real Lorenzo Lamas. It was an honest mistake. I mean, really, who names their daughter Lorenzo? Apologies, nevertheless.

I still agree with your perception of evangelicals.

5/10/2007 06:53:00 AM  

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