Posted by: larry | November 15, 2008

Not fit to be a Brother!

handshake-2THINKING WE ALONE HAVE SOMEHOW MANAGED TO interpret God’s word exactly as the Holy Spirit intended, and certain that everyone who disagrees with our interpretation is up a creek without a paddle, places us in a small group of ultra-conservative Christians that believe only they have the answers.  Anyone refusing to lock-step to the same scripture interpretations these churches promote is deemed unfit to fellowship.

Rick Atchley and Bob Russell, in their book; Together Again, Restoring Unity in Christ after a Century of Separation, quote an unnamed man who wrote:

Believe as I believe, no more no less,

That I am right-no one else-confess,

Feel as I feel, think as I think,

Eat what I eat, drink what I drink,

Look as I look, do always as I do,

Then and only then will I fellowship with you.

Refusing to accept a person as being a child of God because they don’t conform to our understanding of His Word, or belong to our little church group, is a serious matter.   When we refuse fellowship to another person who believes in God, and is trying to follow Jesus, we make a judgment that only God is qualified to make.

I had rather err on the side of extending fellowship to a person who I may differ with, than to exclude that person from my fellowship, then discover on the Resurrection day the person I refused to fellowship is God’s child; thus my brother…not good!

Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. —Romans 14:4 (ESV)

God can save whoever He chooses, under whatever circumstances, for whatever reasons; nothing is impossible with God.

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Responses

  1. Larry,

    Absolutely. I would pray I would never fall into such a behavior. What I post is my opinion. I have a viewpoints that differ from others on certain things. My writings are myself trying to work through my thoughts ofttimes. I would not want anyone to reject me because of a different viewpoint. There are some basic beliefs we must hold in common to call ourself Christian, but they are not usually the problem. The split between Christians usually comes over less important matters, even as minor as what we wear or length of hair. I myself was through out of my membership of many years with a church just two years ago on a “believe as I believe, no more, no less” interpretation so I know first hand the dangers of ultra-conservatism.

    Larry E.

  2. “we make a judgment that only God is qualified to make.”

    Thanks for stating this the way you did. This is exactly what is meant by the rediculous misunderstood, incorrectly overused verse that says:

    “Do not judge lest you be judged”.

    The different Greek words are what give us the understanding of what kind of judgement is being spoken of here. There are two Greek words for judge that I know of. One is diakrino – to estimate, evaluate. The other is krino – This is to say something like: “If you think you have the power to condemn, you play God by using a judgement that is reserved for His use. So, since you feel confident to pass this kind of Judgement, you will be judged by the very same judgement.”

  3. Larry,

    I noticed the other day that my Posts are not updating in anyone’s Blog List. I got a comment from Jim about this as well. I don’t know the cause, but I have Posted items since Veteran’s Day. I hope everyone will simply check on my Blog regularly until, and if, this bug in the Blog List corrects itself.

    Larry E.

  4. Larry E.

    Being raised in a very conservative, if not legalistic church, just about ruined my whole attitude towards God and His church.

    Everything I have thought was absolute truth in God’s Word is now something I have to restudy without my colored glasses, in an attempt to get it right this time.

    I also post things in an attempt to unscramble some of my thoughts, and they are my opinions, but by readers who comment on the post I’m able to see different perspectives and make changes when necessary.

    Appreciate your comments.

  5. Jim

    God alone is able to judge our hearts, and when we assume the right to judge another person we wade into dangerous territory.

    Thanks for coming by with the great comments.

  6. Larry,

    I noticed on a comment on a Blog you signed yourself Larry M. I had started signing myself Larry E. to distinguish us and seeing that made me laugh when I realized if I had chosen to use my last name rather than my middle initial, I also would have been Larry M. and accomplished nothing.

    LEM

  7. LEM

    LVM :)

  8. Larry, and Larry; my initials are-LEM also, and I also sign some of my comments lem.

  9. LEM2…

    That’s you Laymond :)

  10. Laymond,

    I thought I saw your last name on something and it was similar if I did. My last name is Meredith.

    Larry E.

  11. Larry E. so is mine. My folks migrated from Kentucky , in the early thirties , then to Texas in the late fifties. My granddad was Freddie Meredith, I have a pretty extensive tree put together if you think, you might be on it.

    sincerely Laymond Edward Meredith

  12. Refusing to accept a person as being a child of God because they don’t conform to our understanding of His Word, or belong to our little church group, is a serious matter. When we refuse fellowship to another person who believes in God, and is trying to follow Jesus, we make a judgment that only God is qualified to make…

    God can save whoever He chooses, under whatever circumstances, for whatever reasons; nothing is impossible with God.

    Good points. Various church denominations stay divided at times over often legitimate doctrinal differences, but to judge others incorrectly who believe and trust in the Biblical Christ is dangerous.

    A failure to recognize the spiritual and theological value of those with various views within the body of Christ, even if for the sake of argument some are incorrect on points, is one of the reasons it is difficult to build up blog links as a Christian blogger, in my opinion.

    Thanks, Larry.

  13. Exclusivity in our churches has done more spiritual destruction than I care to even think about. It existed in the First Century churches and continues to exist today. So many man-devised rules and interpretations, which have been elevated to the level of “salvation”, only function to hinder the full potential of the Spirit, and ever since I can remember, NONE of them made any sense! I am so thankful to be part of a grace-centered, Spirit-driven, and God-loving Christian family and to know that change is happening, but sometimes, I wish that change would happen at a faster pace. I wish that our CoC families…and their leaders…would be courageous to speak and act more boldly toward making the changes so many people only wish for, secretly, from their hearts, and that logic and common sense, after careful study of what the scriptures say – or don’t say – would prevail.

    Why are Christians so SCARED of not being heaven-bound? Their fright of “not being right” has created massive micro-management of our faith. Don’t the words “freedom in Christ” have ANY meaning at all? Just as it takes blind faith to believe, it takes that same faith to “let go” of the legalism that continues to literally cause spiritual immobilization.

    It is my hope and prayer that true “unity” will someday be realized – it may not happen in my lifetime, but surely, as one of my favorite entertainers once wrote, “A Change Is Gonna Come”. Yes, we might be surprised at whom we see in heaven some day!

    Think of all the time that has been wasted on declaring our “rightness” of the legalism which still haunts our Christian families…and think of what COULD have been done instead…improving and emmulating the love God has for all of us, and even the retention of souls, who may have abandoned their faith because the yoke of Christianity became so heavy, they fell with broken spirits…all from the ultra-conservative, legalistic rules which were heaped upon their shoulders!

    BTW…have you read “The Shack”?

  14. Russ

    Thanks for your comments.

    Finding two people in complete agreement on any Bible subject would be difficult. We are certainly allowed our opinions…even if wrong, as long as we don’t force our opinions on others, and refuse to fellowship them if they don’t comply.

  15. Carolyn

    Thanks for the visit. Haven’t read The Shack yet, but have heard plenty of comments about it…good and bad.

    Perhaps unity will be realized in the future, but not until we are willing to accept our brothers/sisters as they are; not as we would have them be.

    Being raised in an ultra-conservative COC environment allowed little room for admitting any doctrinal errors. In fact, I don’t even remember a sermon on unity.

  16. I have not been able to find time to do any significant blogging this past week. However, I did post a new blog item this evening. It is the one I said I would follow up to my last blog item with. Visit me here at Journaling For Growth .
    Thanks, and blessings to you and your family.
    Jim

  17. Hey man,
    I posted this message last week, also.

    I posted a new blog entry. I have seen your visit a couple of times. Sorry, I have not had anything new in a week.

    Here is the link – Secular Music Vs. Christian Music

  18. Interesting post.

  19. Leon

    Thanks for taking the time to drop by and leave a comment.


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