"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

A Spirit of Forgiveness Is Peculiar to God's People

I've got three seconds to pique your interest to read this article. Some of you have already scanned it and said, "I'm not reading it, it's too long." Here's the reason why you should.

You may be the woman whose husband left you for a younger, prettier version of yourself.

You may be the adult who endured trauma during your childhood at the hands of one who should have loved you, but instead abused you.

You may be someone who has been falsely accused by others in an intentional attempt to ruin your reputation and career.

You may be the church member who experienced spiritual abuse by authoritarian church leaders who seemed more interested in protecting their institution than offering loving support to members of said institution.

In other words,  you may be a person in need of an understanding of biblical forgiveness.

Let's begin:

"Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." 
 
These words are from Jesus on the cross. Matthew Henry, in his Concise Commentary on the Scripture, writes "As soon as Christ was fastened to the cross, he prayed for those who crucified him."
 
A couple of things need to said about those for whom He prayed:
 
(1). They were intentional. They were intentional in their shouts "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" They were intentional in their desires that Jesus be killed. They were intentional in everything they did.
(2). They brought injury.  It's self-evident that crucifixion brought injury to Jesus. Yet, not many consider the injury that came to His mother who watched Him die. Nor do any of us fully understand the injury of those who had followed Him every step of the way for the previous three years.
(3). They possessed ignorance. According to Gill, "they did not know that Jesus was the Messiah, nor the prophecies concerning him, nor the evil they were committing." Paul said had they not been ignorant, they would not have crucified the Lord (Acts 3:27). This ignorance is simply descriptive of the persons crucifying Jesus, and is not the basis for their forgiveness. Remember, they were intentionally injurious; the ignorance was in relation to "Whom" they were crucifying. Had not this forgiving spirit been in the Son and His request to forgive been made, the Father very well may have struck all the crucifiers down immediately and catastrophically in righteous judgment.
 
These ten words of Jesus, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do," comprise the first of seven last statements of Jesus from the cross. They also fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 53:12; "He made intercession for the transgressors."


This spirit toward intentional, injurious, and ignorant sinners is a peculiar character quality of God's people. Nobody else in the world has this spirit.

A Difference Between the Spirit and the Act of Forgiveness

Much of the confusion about "forgiveness" can be resolved when one understands the difference between the spirit of forgiveness and the act of forgiveness.  Only God can ultimately forgive sin. ("Father, forgive them...") for in the end, all sin is ultimately against God.

Though our God alone is ultimately the One who forgives, we are called to maintain a spirit of forgiveness toward all people, just as Christ had this spirit on the cross.

Albert Barnes put it like this:
"No other religion "teaches" people to pray for the forgiveness of enemies; no other "disposes" them to do it. Men of the world seek for "revenge;" the Christian bears reproaches and persecutions with patience, and prays that God would pardon those who injure them, and save them from their sins."
We must actively maintain a spirit of forgiveness toward the injurious, intentional and often ignorant persons who are in the act of harming us. Jesus language on the cross was in the present, active tense, "Father, forgive them for what they are doing..."

Here's the hard part. When the injurious, intentional and often ignorant person says "I repent," we are to forgive. Forgiveness is not granted until there is repentance, but I've found that as long as there is always a willingness (spirit) to forgive, the act of forgiveness is relatively easy. It's a little bit like "We love Him because He FIRST loved us." In a spirit and climate where people are known to be willing to forgive, real repentance grows like flowers in a well-water garden.

Someone has said, "Forgiveness without forgetting is like loving without liking." I tend to agree. That's why it is impossible for people to judicially forgive, and why we should remember that ultimately only God forgives sin, but we should all possess His Son's spirit of forgiveness. We should want the intentional, injurious, and ignorant sinners who cause harm to others to come to the place of repentance, find peace with God, and change their injurious behavior.

Until they do, we will always maintain a spirit of forgiveness, forgiving them when they say, "I repent." In addition, until they come to repentance, we will in love continue to point out sin when it occurs. Further, we will even forgive the intentional, injurious, and ignorant sinners for the same sin, again-and again-and again -even if they sin repetitively (seven times in one day) or infinitely (seventy times seven) because this is precisely what Jesus commanded us to do.

Two Key Questions

So how do we know that we have the spirit of forgiveness?

Answer: We don't question the motives of the intentional, injurious, and ignorant people who cause us harm when they say they repent.

So if we 'forgive' does that mean we don't remember their sin in the future?

Answer: No. We are human. Only God can judicially forget. The child predator's actions must be remembered and standards of accountability implemented. The unfaithful spouse's actions must be remembered and the consequences of the infidelity felt (i.e. "divorce, annulment, etc...). The action of an oppressive church leadership government that places a covenant above a congregant must be remembered and steps taken to stop the spiritual abuse, if not completely abandon of the abusive church.

But the entire time we stand for truth, we must always display a spirit that is willing, hopeful and desirous of God to forgive and bring to repentance.

Though Jesus was willing to forgive those who crucified Him, they were not forgiven until they acknowledged their wrong and repented of it (Luke 23:34; Acts 2:36-39). When one refuses to repent, he is to be regarded as a "heathen and a tax collector to you" (Matt. 18:15-17).

Here's the difficulty for us all. "How do we know someone has 'truly repented?'" Answer: We don't. All we can do is maintain a spirit of forgiveness, speaking truth where we see sin, and granting forgiveness when a brother or sister in Christ says "I repent."

So here's the formula: Speak the truth in love. Be a person full of grace and truth. Be willing to forgive when repentance comes, and don't be a judge of whether or not repentance is real by questioning the motive of someone's statement of repentance. Forgive and forget as much as humanly possible, but never be afraid to speak out against sin, and never neglect the protection of helpless.
Maintaining a spirit of forgiveness means we must make a separation between the actions of the injurious person and our acceptance of that injurious person.
(1). In having a forgiving spirit I will want those who injure to ultimately be blessed by God in the same manner that I am blessed by Him - "Father, forgive them..."
(2). I am not dependent on the behavior of others for my personal happiness; I look to God for my inner satisfaction and happiness. To the extent I am able to trust God with my past, present and future is the measure of my ability to pray- "Father, forgive them...".
(3). I will never confuse actual forgiveness with a spirit of forgiveness. Ultimately God will cast sin and its consequences into the sea of forgetfulness, but until then, I will continue to point out injustice, I will continue to protect the helpless, and I will continue to encourage the broken -- all the while praying for the intentional, injurious and ignorant persons who harm the innocent.  
This spirit is unique among Christians. It's peculiar to we who follow.

It's the mark of genuine Christianity.

67 comments:

Flicker said...

I've written elsewhere about my rubber-meets-the-road with repentance and forgiveness, but let me ask here:

In the case of the robber, who half-confessed or duplicitously confessed, should he get off with time served?

Does it matter if he didn’t ever understand that it was the bank robbery itself that was wrong? If he knew it was wrong, should his smoke-screen of an apology in which he minimized his offense be given any consideration?

In other words, if the "I repent" is obviously a lie, as obvious as the original "sin" was, or if the sin never is actually confessed, do we still have to forgive? Is the bank robber's confession and request for forgiveness, when he half-confessed or duplicitously confessed, anything?

Or are we to forgive preemptively.

Wade Burleson said...

I don't think you can forgive preemptively by any means. A "spirit of forgiveness" is a ready and willingness to forgive when there is confession and repentance.

The struggle is "who judges whether or not repentance is genuine?" It seems to me that only God can judge the heart - so we are called to accept the repentance and confession when it is communicated.

The bank robber's confession in your illustration shows that there is no understanding of sin. The parallel is TVC doesn't know HOW they've sinned - just that they've hurt their congregants by adhering to a policy more than loving their people. I think your illustration of a robber is genius, but in the one area it fails is that EVERYONE agrees walking into a bank to steal is sin, but not everyone (and some would so not even a majority) see covenant membership at churches (like practiced by TVC) is sin. In fact, TVC elders would say they are following God's call.

You and I are in agreement that there is a systemic problem in the structure and leadership positions at TVC. I would never oppose writing (again) and calling out (again) and assisting others to see (again) the problem with authoritarian leadership structures (like the one at TVC), but in THIS specific instance, I am accepting their statement of repentance as genuine and not judging their motives.

But I sure understand why others wouldn't.

I'm simply attempting to effect some change in Chistendom as a whole.

Flicker said...

I really agree with you. And I do think that we can't know hearts, or read minds. And it's a new thought to me that forgiving, as in, "as we forgive those who sin (or trespass or transgress) against us", is a willingness to forgive rather than a legal or effectual thing. David said against thee only have I sinned. But he did also really sin against Bathsheba and Uriah from what I understand.

But I have had words like, "Okay, then! Forgive me!!" shouted in my face. Though I can't read minds, I wouldn't call that repentance and a request for forgiveness.

Let me give my basic hypothetical example: In the movie Dirty Harry, the villain buries a girl in a box. Say that the villain has given enough food and water to last indefinitely. He admits to the parents every day, that he has does so, but won't reveal where the box is located so she can be freed, and every day in plaintiff tones, he begs for forgiveness. We can't read his heart. But clearly he is unrepentant. At what point is forgiveness and obligation, and at what point is it impossible?

And actually, in the robber story, the guy really didn't know that robbing a bank was technically "illegal", just, you know, frowned upon. All his friends did it, and never had a problem. Now, does his sentencing statement get him time served? :)

Flicker said...

In the case of the TVC thing, I believe that there were people that knew what they were doing was wrong. And many who didn't. Nonetheless, an unnumbered group of anonymous people signed the Apology. I wonder if there were elders who had private reservations about the Apology, either because it indicted people that weren't actually involved, and lumped everyone together equally into one box of muddy sins, or because it was not forthcoming enough.

Personally, while it may be interpreted as a coded confession of ignorance, I do not think it was a confession of any other wrong-doing. I would sum it up in three sentences that probably apply to the bulk of those involved. "We had no clue! We still believe what we did was the right. And help us here!" I think this kind of "confession" is exactly the kind that needs MORE to be said from the outside, not to box it up and put it away.

Wade Burleson said...

Flicker,

"Dirty Harry, the villain buries a girl in a box. Say that the villain has given enough food and water to last indefinitely. He admits to the parents every day, that he has does so, but won't reveal where the box is located so she can be freed, and every day in plaintiff tones, he begs for forgiveness. We can't read his heart. But clearly he is unrepentant. At what point is forgiveness and obligation, and at what point is it impossible?"

Good, visual and vivid illustration.

A spirit of forgiveness is always an obligation for us, but actual forgiveness is only an obligation if there is no repentance. It's EASY to see if repentance were to occur in your illustration - the wrongdoer reveals where he buried the girl.

Now jump forward to TVC. The actuality of the leadership "sinning" and "repenting" is not as clear as burying a girl in the ground. TVC leadership claims to protect children from predators, they claim the covenant members sign is binding, biblical and "for everyone's good," and so what they are apologizing for is the manner in which they sought to do their God-called duty (in their minds). I am advocating that we will never convince them of the systemic problems with the structure of leadership until we grant them forgiveness in their statement of repentance. If we keep personally hounding them, our message will be lost in an array of what THEY would consider personal attacks.

You and I believe there is a systemic fault in the structure of leadership at TVC which caused them to fail Karen - they don't see it yet - but I'm advocating that they never will as long as we question their motives in their statement of repentance, refuse to "grant" forgiveness after they repent, and refuse to always maintain a spirit of forgiveness.

Having said that, some people who are in pain because of abuse in an institutional church feel like a girl being buried in the ground - so they react as the parents in your burial illustration would react when the leaders apologize "for doing their duty" in a poor, unchristian manner.

I don't see as much closeness between TVC and a bank robber or a murderer as some do. The former doesn't even think their structural leadership is sinful - but ALL would agree the latter two illustrations you created are pictures of sin.

Flicker said...

I take it to the extreme.

So there's a difference between a sprit of forgiveness, and spiritual forgiveness, and effectual (freeing) forgiveness? Maybe you could explain this a little more specifically? It still sound very technical, as if it is imputed forgiveness, or potential forgiveness. I'd really rather forgive, but sometimes I think that it's just not right and practical;

Let me give an actual example. A couple of years ago I was verbally threatened with violence at work. I was flabbergasted. And I knew if he ever punched me it would only take one to break my neck. But then he denied he ever said it. I was very concerned for my safety for months. In fact I still am, in the back of my mind. And it's been a couple of years. Am I supposed to forgive this guy?

Look, I really don't want to see any of these guys at TVC pilloried. All I'm saying is that the TVC Apology seems more like the Robber's Weasel Reasoning than any sort of confession born of repentance. I'm sure they will put in cameras, and maybe given Jordan an RFID. I'm sure they will never let this particular fiasco happen again. And I suspect they will never fully apologize. Some won't because they've been so heavily burned they want to forget about it, and the lawyers say not to. And the others because they just don't care.

But as of now, there is no specific statement of any real wrong-doing, except that they were new to this and didn't love her powerfully enough to push her under their care.

And we don't have any names. To take it to the extreme again, we don't even know if this was created by an apology-writing 'bot program. If each person who had any involvement with Karen would write an individual apology, explaining what they did and why, and admitting any particular sins that they feel they have committed (if any), and then send it to Karen's lawyer with express permission for her to publish it or not, that would satisfy my sense of propriety.

If Karen can simply write, "Dear friends, I just got apologies from these 11 people at TVC involved in our recent published disagreements, and I have accepted them without reservation as being sincere, except for those of John Doe's, John Q. Public's whose apologies again misrepresented facts, and Thomas Richard Harry's who didn't send any apology at all," I would think, Okay, it's done. But equivocating and parsing is never a sign of repentance.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
I agree: “I am not dependent on the behavior of others for my personal happiness…”

I believe “Be willing to forgive WHEN repentance comes…” is not in keeping with the statement above because my “forgiveness” would depend on the action of someone else.

My widowed grandmother had a neighbor that kept moving his fence on a road between them to gain more land. They named it “Stingy Lane”.

He did a lot of other things. It didn’t bother her and when her children complained, she would reply it would be settled at the Judgment. One ten-year old of her 8 children said, “Mama, we got to start writing these things down or we might forget some.”

Off topic

Science has proven that under extreme pain some blood will turn to water. Thus the spear brought water from the side of Jesus.

Did the nails and the cross cause the water that revealed Jesus was already dead? If so, why were the thieves not dead?

Jesus told them they would all forsake him but he believed his Father would not: “…you will be scattered…leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me.” (John 16:32)

When Jesus told his disciples, “God will strike the Shepherd” (Mathew 26:21), how did he think God would kill/execute him? God had not revealed the awful truth that God would forsake his Son on the Cross. When Jesus became our sin, his Father could not comfort sin; and Jesus cried, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

Christians do not die as Jesus but like those torn apart by lions with smiles on their faces because they were not alone.

Victorious said...

I don't think we're called to analyze or judge the motive of an apology or request for forgiveness. I think it's equally controlling to demand or expect another to use the exact words we think should be used.

My father was dying and was heavily sedated with morphine. He wanted to die at home so we had him in a hospital bed in the family room which was adjacent to the kitchen. I was in the kitchen doing something when he looked over and asked, "who is that over there?" I said, "it Mary Ann, daddy." He asked me to come over to him. I did. He said to me, "you have a lot to forgive me for. I can't remember what for now, but you will." Note: "you WILL." I don't remember what I replied, but I know I was dumbfounded because I realized by his words that he KNEW he was treating me badly all my life and did it anyway.

To make a long story short, I didn't want to think about it after he died. I tried to just forget the words he used. But know this...even though I wanted to forget it, the Holy Spirit didn't. For a period of about a year, every time I turned around I heard the word "Father." It was magnified...it was everywhere. Eventually I recognized the Lord was expecting me to forgive my father even though he had passed away. I remember distinctly refusing. I actually said "NO" out loud once or twice.

But at a prayer meeting at an Episcopal church with a friend, a priest started to pray for those who had been hurt while in kindergarten by cruel friends; in grammar school by bullies; in high school, etc. When he got to "by parents" I broke down, cried like a baby, and gave up. I forgave my father for all the humiliation.

Forgiveness is a very freeing act and brings spiritual health that enables us to move on in both the spiritual and the natural. Unforgiveness binds us to the source of pain and sorrow.

So...the lesson I learned and have applied many times since that (40 yrs. ago) is that we can't know everything involved in a confession or an apology and I don't think we need to or should. But as Wade as so wisely advised, forgiveness is needed for the good of both parties in order to move on in our spiritual lives.

I have to add that while forgiveness is extended in the spiritual, consequences as determined by our legal system must still be expected if the actions were illegal.

Mary Ann

Wade Burleson said...

Wow, Mary Ann,

What an amazing story. Thanks for sharing.

Very moving.

Christiane said...

I was very moved by Mary Ann's comment.

I look at this: "“Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous, love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offense, and is not resentful. . . . ” (from 1 Corinthians 13)

and I think that this kind of 'love' must be of a supernatural origin
. . . I think this 'love' flows from the same calming and quieting Presence that allows us for a time to be less petty and less self-centered

Christ has the power to detach us from our pride, and once we are freed of it, He gives us the grace that lives within all humble souls.
This gift allows us to let go of the bitterness which has kept us from forgiving;
and we are freed to experience 'love' in harmony with the Giver of Gifts Who 'is love'.



Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

Very good comment and off-topic comment! Thanks.

Wade Burleson said...

Flicker,

"Let me give an actual example. A couple of years ago I was verbally threatened with violence at work. I was flabbergasted. And I knew if he ever punched me it would only take one to break my neck. But then he denied he ever said it. I was very concerned for my safety for months. In fact I still am, in the back of my mind. And it's been a couple of years. Am I supposed to forgive this guy?

It seems to me, Flicker, you have four options:

(1). Continue to press the man toward repentance...
(2). Come to the personal realization that you misunderstood him because you believe his word to you that he never said it.
(3). Capture the truth "Love covers a multitude of sins..." and love this man in spite of his sin of lying (and anger).
(4). Keep your distance from this man, believing him to be a liar, unrepentant, and one who could cause you further problems in the future. In other words, "treat him as a publican ..." (Jesus' words).

I can't tell you how many times I've chosen option #3. A bunch. In addition, particularly in my wife's and my relationship (or others that I implicitly trust), I will back off if those I trust say "I never said that to you..." believing that I very well could have misunderstood.

I don't think Option #2 is a good one for you in this situation, so you are left with Option #1, Option #3 or Option #4.

I think you are probably inclined toward Option #4, but I would say that in every scenario where wrongs are perpetrated, a judgment as to which option you should take must be made.

As for me, I always lean to option #3.

But that's not for everyone.

Rex Ray said...

Mary Ann,
Of all the good comments you’ve made, I’ve never read one with tears in my eyes until today because it brought remembrance of the darkest day of my life when I learned a loved one had a bad side in their life. Since decades have not helped it may take heaven to remember no more.

Wade Burleson said...

Flicker,

"But I do think forgiveness requires an admission of the wrong-doing. If we CONFESS our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from unrighteousness. Am I missing something here?"

This is a tough one for me to answer. I'm going to give you what I believe, but freely admit that I could be wrong, and simply ask you to continue your outstanding search for the link between repentance and forgiveness.

The EVIDENCE of forgiveness, in my mind, is confession. God forgives His people at the cross, and in time, His people embrace by faith the work of Christ on the cross. BUT, God doesn't love us BECAUSE we repent, He loves us and brings us to repentance through that love.

Forensically, forgiveness is the "promise never ask for someone to pay for their sins." Only God can forgive. The evidence that He has forgiven you is your "confession" of sin. A person who freely, transparently, and openly confess sins -- and repents of them -- is showing the truest sign of regeneration.

In human relationships, forgiveness follows repentance, but in some rare cases - when a person is strong in love - "love covers a multitude of sins" and repentance is never demanded for relationship to continue. This unconditional love sometimes produces repentance. Honestly, I think there is NO FORMULA.

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

Flicker,

"But I do think forgiveness requires an admission of the wrong-doing. If we CONFESS our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from unrighteousness. Am I missing something here?"

This is a tough one for me to answer. I'm going to give you what I believe, but freely admit that I could be wrong, and simply ask you to continue your outstanding search for the link between repentance and forgiveness.

The EVIDENCE of forgiveness, in my mind, is confession. God forgives His people at the cross, and in time, His people embrace by faith the work of Christ on the cross. BUT, God doesn't love us BECAUSE we repent, He loves us and brings us to repentance through that love.

Forensically, forgiveness is the "promise never to ask for someone to pay for their sins." Only God can forgive. The evidence that He has forgiven you is your "confession" of sin. A person who freely, transparently, and openly confess sins -- and repents of them -- is showing the truest sign of regeneration.

In human relationships, forgiveness follows repentance, but in some rare cases - when a person is strong in love - "love covers a multitude of sins" and repentance is never demanded for relationship to continue. This unconditional love sometimes produces repentance. Honestly, I think there is NO FORMULA.

Flicker said...

Yes, and I should have said forgiveness MAY be harder than talking about it.

Jesus asks, Who was the good son? The one who said No, and went and did it anyway? Or the one that said Yes, and never did it.

The forgiven criminal on the next cross, didn't actually ask for forgiveness, but my sense is that he was accepted as having confessed using other words.

As far as any church hierarchical leaders who wrong their congregants, the nature of forgiveness may be as hard to determine as any other forgiveness that you may extend. In my view, some leaders fall into a gray area of: I Don't Believe I Did Anything Wrong, But SOMETHING Didn't Go Right. I don't consider this a "heathen" category, nor a fully unrepentant category, but as you pointed out, a beginning.

But furthermore, any such church is not a "church", it is an association of people with varying degrees of involvement; and those who were wronged are just as much members of the same body as those who did the wronging. Each individual should have something to say, either in his own defense or as a confession (or in combination) and not be protected under a corporate blanket of anonymity and church-speak double-talk. This is an example of the "clergy/laity" distinction in which the clergy can speak as one body, and the laity, as best, as another. And this in itself can't work, and is in my understanding unscriptural. Any restructuring of the church hierarchy which still carries this doctrinal or social distinction will likely repeat this process of abuse over and over.

And thanks for letting me post my opinions and views here.

Debbie Kaufman said...

I heard the sermon where Matt Chandler apologized and thought it very good.

Chris Riley said...

Debbie, thanks for saying that. Your opinion is well respected. I know some of the elders involved including Chandler. I may not (which I don't) agree with the practice of the local church, but I believe in the autonomy of the local church. They have sought to interpret and implement how they view Scripture. People have agreed to sit under that interpretation. Chandler apologized for the implementation portion. I thought it was heartfelt and struck at the core of their interpretation. Love and grace must reign is what I heard from Chandler. Again, I hope everyone involved grows closer to Christ, God would be glorified, and positive change comes from this experience. Forgiveness is one tool that separates Christianity from the rest of the world because it is expected by God in the midst of living in a depraved humanity.

chapmaned24 said...

What exactly is Wade forgiving? How is Wade a victim of Matt? What did Matt do to Wade?

When Jesus said, "Father, forgive them...", Jesus was the victim. When we see Stephen asking God to not lay this sin (of murder) against those stoning him, Stephen was the victim.

I can't forgive a bank robber if I wasn't the victim. We can ask forgiveness from God, because all sin are against God.

We need to identify and categorize what sin was committed, and against whom.

Did Matt sin against the body of Christ? If so, what is the sin? It needs to be identified.

And, there are more victims, too. Individual victims. Karen is the main character here. Karen was sinned against, personally.

I find a lot of fault in the use of Matthew 18. I do not see any indication of church "discipline". When one is to be treated as a publican, tax collector, or heathen, they are not a part of the exclusive club of Christianity, aka, an unbeliever, those outside the church. There is no such terminology as "discipline" in Matthew 18.

Church's, in the "discipline" mindset, are using Matthew 18 as a first step, rather than a last resort. And, in doing so, have redefined the phrase, "The Church" from "assembly (aka pew sitters)" to "Pastor/Edlers".

Matthew 18 is very simple to read. It is for individual victims to forgive, not the general Christian population. Three very simple steps.

1. Victim to Perp.
2. If perp denies (lies), you must have witnesses, because out of 2 or 3 may every word be established (witnesses establish truth).

Note: If no witnesses, it stops at step 1.

3. If perp still denies, the pew sitters hear it, and if the perp still denies (as the witnesses already established truth), kick the perp out of the church.

Note that step 3 is the last resort. It is not a first step. The church is not to get involved unless the victim brings it to the church, after step 2. If no witnesses, the church does not hear it.

Civil and Spiritual are two different things. A repentant sinner still has civil consequences, regardless of how sorry he/she is.

We don't have authority to forgive anything unless we are the victims of sin.

Who are the victims of Matt and "his" elders? What are the sins? Who has authority to forgive sin #1, vs., who has authority to forgive sin #2, and so on? I feel that there is a laundry list of sins here.

Victims do not need to forgive, for God gave us "bind and loose". If the perp wants forgiveness, he can go straight to God, bypassing the victim. Forcing someone to forgive is feigned forgiveness. How many perps think that they are forgiven, when they aren't? Forgiving is a process, and is not easy to do. It means that the perp no longer has power over you. And if the victim feels that the perp has power, there will not be forgiveness, and that it is not a sin to not forgive in this matter.

I think it is way too early to forgive Matt, when there are many questions that need answered. If Matt is "repentant" to the body of Christ, then what did he "change his mind (repent) from/about?

I think that the first thing that he needs to do is to scrap the idea of a "covenant" membership. We are a free people. We are not to be held in bondage. We can go to any church that we want, any time that we want, in all the world that we want, because we are already "members" of Jesus Christ, his church. A place of fellowship is not "the church". People are "the church".

Yes, there are many sins going on here, against the body of Christ, and to individuals. We need to SEE the "Change of mind" in action. Many say that we can't see the heart of people. Yes, we can. For out of the heart, action speaks. Fruit speaks.

Ed Chapman

believer333 said...

Excellent article Wade.

Miriam and Aaron complained against Moses , after God corrected them, God directed Moses to pray a blessing for Aaron and Moses. I would call that a power blessing. It is the principle of the cross. And I think we need to live these things for the world to see the healing that God wants for all.

pattij553 said...

Victorious,
Your dad sounded sincere. But what if he had said it like this, "we all have things to forgive each other for, so forgive me."

I do judge the words, and that is how MC apologized, by reminding his church that everyone wanders.

My father took his last breath at home also. His last apology was to my mother. Before leaving the hospital to go home on hospice he confessed marital infidelity to me and wanted to know if I thought he should tell her. I had a suspicion of ulterior motive that he may be thinking his non-confession was preventing his healing (he was WOF), so I called him on it. After inside voice screaming at him for a bit, I said if that is the case, then no, I will take the secret to my grave, that would be a very cruel thing to do to her. But I know God can change hearts, and if you pray about it and decide that the only reason you would confess to her is to set her free from the damage your guilty conscience has brought to her over the years, then yes, tell her. Two days later I knew his apology to her was pure. It was good for both of them. BTW, I believe if he had ever confessed to her earlier, his apology would have been wrought with justifications, something I still hear in many church apologies, including MC's. Reminding everyone that we all wander, saying that he doesn't have authority but the Bible does . . . red flags that it is not 100% sincere which leaves cracks wide open for re-offense.

pattij553 said...

Believer333,
What did Moses need to apologize for? I'm not following your application.

chapmaned24 said...

Does anyone remember that part of the Bible that states that scripture is to be used for rebuke and correction? Who is going to be the Apostle Paul to put Matt in his place rebuking him and correcting him on his doctrines.

As of right now, after his pseudo apology, he remains adamant about his doctrines, when the rest of the body of Christ is calling his doctrines crazy. That being said, then Acts 29 doctrines are crazy. And Acts 29 controls a great portion of church's. Controls. So who is going to confront Acts 29?

What is the body of Christ going to do about it? Blogs, or confront? Is the body of Christ going to do something, or just stand by and let it happen, thinking that they are an autonomous group that should not be bothered? A kind of "mind your own business" tactic. If so, does the body of Christ consider them to be "brothers and sisters" in Christ if their doctrines are way off base, and no one is the David that will fight the Goliath?

Oh...I forgot...just forgive, ignorantly, without accountability to anyone, letting them continue in their false doctrines, even tho they have no intention of changing doctrines, but just a change in communicating their false doctrines better, so that everyone understands "covenant membership" in more detail, so that no one can get away with annulments ever again, and not be held accountable to Matt.

It seems to me that the reformed needs reformed.

Ed Chapman

chapmaned24 said...

Matthew 3:8 (Strong's Concordance references)
Bring forth 4160 5657 therefore 3767 fruits 2590 meet 514 for repentance 3341:(meet…: or, answerable to amendment of life)

Meet:
Word: axioj

Pronounce: ax'-ee-os

Strongs Number: G514

Orig: probably from 71; deserving, comparable or suitable (as if drawing praise):--due reward, meet, (un-)worthy. G71

Use: TDNT-1:379,63 Adjective

Heb Strong: H1121 H4392 H7737

1) weighing, having weight, having the weight of another thing of like value, worth as much
2) befitting, congruous, corresponding to a thing
3) of one who has merited anything worthy
3a) both in a good and a bad sense

Acts 26:20
...that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

In other words, prove that you have repented. Words mean nothing without action, hence, faith without works is dead. But you say that just because one repents, you must forgive. You say you have faith, well, show me your faith by what you do. Don't just say it. Do it. Do it, to prove it.

Ed Chapman


Anonymous said...

I have a very hard time with the blogs who demand public apologies over certain cases (TVC being the latest example) and then an apology is issued and the blogs over analyze and tear the apology apart publicly. Can't they see they cause just as much harm?

Thank you so much for this article. :)

Debbie Kaufman said...


"Love and grace must reign is what I heard from Chandler."

That is what I heard as well. I heard a heart that was grieved and he called it sin not a mistake. Thank you Chris for your kind words.

Tom Ross said...

The Abyss, present from Day 1 of creation, is a place where unrighteous people go when they die. In Genesis 2:17 we are also told that if we "sin" we will die the 2nd death, but are not told when this will occur.

In the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, there are three places mentioned, Abraham's bosom where righteous people go to await judgement, Hades where unrighteous people, who do not measure up, {which is the bottomless pit from creation}, and a chasm so deep and wide that it cannot be crossed between the other two. These places are within the realms of the invisible "spiritual world." There is no return from our physical death nor is there an ability to change our destiny.

Jesus also spoke about the need to forgive others otherwise they themselves cannot be forgiven. This requirement by God is told in the Lord's pray and also in parables, "forgive us as forgive others."

Forgiveness requires us to accept the full responsibility for the sins against us just as our Father in Heaven did when we singularly and corporately sinned against Him. God through Christ took full responsibility for our sins both personal and corporately.

TVC's sins from a church perspective is the preaching of a different doctrine. Wade as an identity "figure" in the "church" has been sinned against/wronged by the actions of TVC. As such, Wade has to forgive and bless TVC for this wrong.

When Abimelech took Abraham's wife for his own, God required Abraham to bless Abimelech and to heal his household. Genesis 20. Abimelech in his "sin" had become a candidate for the 2nd death and in verse 7 God told him that he had to ask Abraham to pray for him so that he would no longer be a candidate for the second death.

The "church" leadership is required to forgive the sin and to bless the sinner so that they "can live" again with the "sin" forgiven.

God's grace allows us time to repent before he will challenge us over our sin. In King David's case, ≈8 years passed before God sent his challenge to him to repent. When challenged, David could not recall his sin because his "foundational sin" had faded from his memory. It was still there and still needed repentance for. The consequences of his initial sin and the other sins that were also piled up, still had to be worked through and repentance and forgiveness sort, on the part of David.

However, once it is dealt with and forgiveness granted, the sin is remembered no more, unless of course we have difficulty in forgiving others.

My experience is that it is better for me to forgive and bless those who trespass against me and to allow God to deal the other person and their sin as it is God's to deal with.

Holding onto another's sin against me will only eat me up and cause me to not measure up in God's eyes. Forgiving may be costly but the consequences of not doing so will have a big impact on my future destiny. I am trusting that the fruit of my heart will bear record of my life's actions in this regard.

Victorious said...

Anonymous 05:30:00

I wish I could agree, but it's not so simple. You would think that because words have meanings, we could all understand one another's comments. But unfortunately, it doesn't always work that way. For example, if I say "I care for you" you would assume it means I like you or it could mean I love you. So some clarification may be necessary to ascertain what is meant by the word "care" in that context.

When a pastor announces he is called to "care" for your soul, again, we might want to ask for clarification. What does his "care" entail? What areas of my life is he authorized to exert such "care?"

We know from study of either Hebrew or Greek scriptures, words can have various nuances and we must take special note of the usage within the culture and context to arrive at the intended meaning.

Give this short example of the word "care," I find it normal and natural to analyze and question the parameters of "care" and what the speakers intent might entail as opposed to how we might interpret the word.

When I went to my first hockey game, I noted a "foul" was called on a player. I was quickly corrected and told there was no such word in the hockey dictionary, but rather it was a "penalty." What was a correct word in basketball didn't work in hockey.

Words have meaning, but not everyone has the intended meaning so clarification is needed and not inappropriate if we are to clearly understand the intended message.

Just my opinion.

chapmaned24 said...

Tom Ross,

You had said:
"TVC's sins from a church perspective is the preaching of a different doctrine. Wade as an identity "figure" in the "church" has been sinned against/wronged by the actions of TVC. As such, Wade has to forgive and bless TVC for this wrong."

My response:

Step 1.

Matthew 18:15
Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone:

Did Wade do this? Does Matt even know who Wade is? Note the word "alone". Was there a phone conversation, email exchange, or an in person visit?

Jesus and Stephen did the "bind and loose" step, which people were indeed forgiven, without repentance. Yes, without repentance. Although, when they learned the truth, they did indeed repent, for they were indeed sorry...cut to the heart. But their sin for it was "loosed" from them before their repentance.

Blind forgiveness of a sin committed against someone else is wrong. It's not even in the Bible. The term "spirit of forgiveness" is not even in the Bible.

Bind and loose is in the Bible.

Ed Chapman

chapmaned24 said...

By the way, Tom Ross, Matt is not admitting to wrong doctrine as his sin, therefore:

Step 2.

Matthew 18:16
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.

And, since the blogosphere is a kind of "witness's", Matt is still adamant about his doctrines being correct, therefore, he denies his sin, therefore, Step 3.

Step 3.

Matthew 18:17
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.

The people is "The Church". Pew sitters.

Now, in this case, we are not the pew sitters of Matt. I am not a victim of Matt. Matt, in his wrong theology, did not sin against any one of us at all. However, Matt still refuses to see his sin as wrong doctrine as being the sin that you identified. Therefore, the remedy is to treat Matt as an outsider, not associated with Christianity, not to forgive Matt. We are under no obligation to forgive when he denies the accusation, that is, if we were the pew sitters of Matt.

The steps that brings forgiveness are not being adhered to. Step 1 was bypassed, step 2 was ignored, step 3 is not even a consideration, but lets just go straight to forgiving, huh?

Ed

pattij553 said...

Anonymous said...
"I have a very hard time with the blogs who demand public apologies over certain cases (TVC being the latest example) and then an apology is issued and the blogs over analyze and tear the apology apart publicly. Can't they see they cause just as much harm?"

No, I can't, I mean that sincerely, please explain what harm.

Tom Ross said...

@ chapmaned24

Perhaps you missed my previously posted on Wade's blog on the topic of the TVC saga, on Sat May 30, 05:05:00 AM 2015, where I suggested the following: –

"The issue is that the leadership of TVC, either singularly or corporately began acting in a god like manner."

This is the primary sin, which is between God and TVC leadership team, whether singularly or corporately.

What is being reported on so far are the escalating manifestations of this primary sin of TVC being played out publicly. So far the additional manifested sins of TVC has had an impact on the life of one particular person so far and there may be ramification depending on the response of this affected person.

What I post about previously are the similarities of the primary sin of TVC leadership team and King David's primary sin. The primary sin of TVC leadership may have occurred in the past and what is now becoming more visible are the sins manifesting out of the original primary sin from a number of years ago.

The primary sin of TVC is between God and the TVC

Yes from a tight interpretational perspective of the New Testament, your three steps may be appropriate but the root cause of the primary sin has to be dealt with by TVC and repentance of this primary sin will be required by God before grace has a chance of working.

I am sure that you are acutely aware of the bigger picture in play here and that the restoration process should be made available to all parties involved. How that should be played out depends on how well the participants are able to hear and act on God's direction. If we are not hearing any direction from God on TVC then perhaps we should all stop commenting on it all together.

In my previous post I warned how easy it is for us to also go down the same pathway of this primary sin as TVC has.

We all should be learning from this incident.

shalom

BentButNotBroken2005 said...

Wade, I love you man & you have always called a spade a spade. However, there is signifant question about Luke 23:34 as a textual variant & it is most likely an insertion of a statement that Jesus did not really say. In my own ESV, it has a footnote that questions its validity.

We are in fact in a new golden age of textual criticism because of the modern photographic techniques & the way information can be widely disseminated.

I would exhort you to study the history of this particular quote from Jesus.

Jerry Salim said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
chapmaned24 said...

Tom Ross,

Hey, Tom. Yes, I do see your point, I do. And no, I didn't see your post in that regard, but I do not see a comparison between King David, and Matt. Sorry, but I don't.

Next, you said:
"I am sure that you are acutely aware of the bigger picture in play here and that the restoration process should be made available to all parties involved."

My response:
I don't see a "restoration" process in Matthew 18. Sorry. I just don't.

It's either one of two choices:
1. Forgive (and that takes three steps or less, depending on step one), or...
2. Kick out of the church (treat him like a publican, heathan, tax collector.

And we see #2 also listed in 1 Cor 5.

Next, I have seen 2 Cor 2 mentioned by some who take Matthew Henry's word as truth, but I see it as Paul talking about himself in the 3rd person. So, in reality, it is Paul who is asking the congregation for forgiveness for himself, for making the congregation grieve. This is not the first time that Paul talks about himself in the third person. He did it in 2 Corinthians (same book) chapter 12, which actually began in chapter 11.

So, no, I do not see "restoration" when we are to treat him as a publican, heathen, and tax collector. Nor, does 1 Cor 5, when it states to kick that wicked person out of the church to Satan. To Satan. There is no forgiveness, no fellowship, no restoration.

Bottom line from me, is that you just don't go around willy nilly forgiving people, thinking that this is what God wants.

Christianity is an exclusive club, and God is a God of order, and no one seems to be following the rules pertaining to forgiving, because no one is willing to kick out the heathen, somehow making Karen into the heathen.

There is some stinking thinking going on about who the righteous are, and who the wicked are. Seems to be a lot of shunning the righteous, protecting the unrighteous, all for the sake of restoring a "repentant" sinner? Come on, really? Nope, I'm not buying into that illogical restoration process at all, not one bit.

Ed Chapman

chapmaned24 said...

Tom Ross,

Any restoration is between the TWO (2) parties in Step one of Matthew 18. No one else is to get involved, period. No one. Again, no one. In other words, the church, which has been redefined as "Pastor/Preacher/Elder/Deacon, or whatever, maybe even down to the usher, who knows, minds their own business, and stays out of it.

Ed Chapman

Tom Ross said...

Chapmaned24

If you do not see the similarities between King David and TVC, then what do you see King David's primary sin was that had occurred over 8 years earlier and he had forgotten.

This sin is something that we all do so easily believing we are "doing the right thing." TVC is not the only organisation where this sin flourishes.

Shalom

chapmaned24 said...

Tom Ross,

First of all, this is what you said about King David:

"God's grace allows us time to repent before he will challenge us over our sin. In King David's case, ≈8 years passed before God sent his challenge to him to repent. When challenged, David could not recall his sin because his "foundational sin" had faded from his memory. It was still there and still needed repentance for. The consequences of his initial sin and the other sins that were also piled up, still had to be worked through and repentance and forgiveness sort, on the part of David."

From my youth, the lesson from 2 Samuel 12 is that sin has consequences, not that God is challenging us to repent so that he can forgive.

The "steps" (Note that I use the word "step" again) to becoming a Christian is to "repent".

You don't continue to repent over and over and over and over and over again.

You change your mind (repent) once.

The book of Galatians tells us that the law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.

We already know what sin is before we became a Christian, for by the law is the knowledge of sin, and sin is the transgression of the law. We cannot "repent" from sin until we know what sin is.

We know what sin is. There is no need to keep "changing your mind", aka repent.

King David did not repent from that encounter with the Nathan, the prophet. He acknowledged his sin. Repenting and acknowledging are two different things.

Repenting states: I didn't know that I was doing wrong, but now I do.
Acknowledging states: I did wrong.

Having said all that, we have no authority to forgive Matt for anything, for we are not his victims. You are not personally affected by what he did to others.

Our job as outsiders is to rebuke him and correct him. But who is going to be the one to do that? Who is going to be Nathan, the Prophet, to your King David?

Ed Chapman

Flicker said...

Capmaned24 said: The term "spirit of forgiveness" is not even in the Bible.

Since you brought it up, I'd like to expand on what is not in the Bible. Forgive the length, please.


In my view, the problem with the Covenant is not that it’s inherently bad, though I suppose it is. It is because it is not a real agreement. Though, for this argument I’ll suppose that pastors engage in it in good faith, and certainly the congregants engage in it in good faith. So the Covenant, right or wrong, should be binding. The problem is that the congregants, and perhaps even the pastors themselves, do not really understand it. This is why they can be taken off guard, and “unprepared”, when they try to enforce it; and enforcing it badly, if not by some commission of sin, at least with an unspoken sin of omission – that is, without some self-perceived level of “love and caring” to “lead” their congregants in their spiritual growth to a higher state of obedience to the commands of Jesus (or whatever the purpose of the Covenant may be) through godly discipline, by encouragement, teaching, guiding, requiring, reproof, rebuke, chastisement, punishment, and finally if necessary, disassociation and public shaming. I doubt any signers ever really know or expect the extent that they may be subject to these things, or the means and specific ways that it will be carried out.

Another problem is that when we try to understand the specifics of how we are to live out lives, where the rubber meets the road, we tend to not only use God’s Word, but also the extensions of it that seem logical and right to us; but then we codify these things into elaborate explanations that create new requirements and systems of thinking, that may not always be accurate or helpful. Yes, the Bible never uses the words “The Rapture” but most of us are convinced that it exist. The Bible never uses the word “pastor” to describe a vicarious (as in, Vicar) surrogate upon whom all the responsibilities and functions of the local church depend and within whom all the power and authority of Jesus rest; but nonetheless many of us believe this position exists. And the Bible never uses the words “church discipline” though many of us are convinced that it exists, too. And then we build a Covenant on this “church discipline”, in many cases the implications of which we can’t even fully understand.

It seems that so much of what we take for granted in the organized church is a compilation of tradition, “undeniable” common sense, and culturally-rooted values (such as voting, for just one example), that may be poorly understood by some, and eloquently argued for by others; logical and right-sounded, but not necessarily Biblical.

One problem with this approach is that though “church discipline” is rational, reasonable, seemingly healthy, and historical, the term never actually appears in the Bible. The word “discipline” in the Bible seems to be used three related ways: for the study and submission to the spirit of God’s commands as one grows more and more in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, that is NOT a response to sin or wrong-doing; for the father’s reproof, rebuke, chastisement, AND punishment for wrong-doing; and for the discipline of the Lord, including reproof, rebuke, and chastisement, WITHOUT punishment. (Please continue to next post.)

Flicker said...

(continued)

One more thing is that Matthew 18:15-17 is not in any way a form of discipline in the reproof, rebuke, punish and shun sense. It is a means of reaching an accord between two Christian bothers. It is NOT a punishment. It is not even a process to determine guilt. It is a reconciliation process. It does NOT require the aggrieved brother to BELIEVE that his brother is a heathen but to regard the brother (let him be unto thee AS…) as a heathen. And it does not require the congregation as a whole to believe that the aggrieving brother is a heathen, or require them to even regard him as a heathen either. It merely instructs the aggrieved brother to merely to get along with the brother as he would get along with the heathens. And it does not require the church to engage in any discipline, certainly not any that would culminate in disassociation. In short, it is not a response to a sin, egregious or otherwise. This is a means for brothers who seriously disagree to GET ALONG together.

And Matthew 18:15-17 does not apply to sin, or rebukes due to sin within the church congregation; and it does not require the calling of witnesses in other matters involving sin. It does not even call for the testimony of witnesses when sharply rebuking wayward believers in front of the congregation. It may be presumed that fact-finding is not necessary when egregious sins are at issue, such as living together in adultery, marrying your brother’s wife, pregnancy outside of marriage, obvious propensity toward drunkenness, notable swindling, physical violence and the like which are a matter of public knowledge and perhaps of the wrong-doer’s own confession. That is, determining the truth of a matter with witnesses in a court-like atmosphere, is not necessarily required. While common sense should require such fact-finding, with witnesses and so forth, and though under certain circumstances I myself might appreciate such things if I were charged with a sin, it is not commanded anywhere in the New Testament for correcting wayward believers. It is given that the one is rebuking another in front of the congregation for ACKNOWLEDGED or UNDENIABLE sin.

Even disassociating form a sinner in the congregation's midst, is not a discipline for wrong-doing. It is a protection for the believers. If it helps a wayward believer come to his senses, all the better. But it is not the intent of disassociation to shame or punish or hurt anyone.

If this is all true, then the very nature of the Covenant, enforcing a church discipline via the elders, with private determinations and decision-making and is thoroughly misplaced. If this is true then even the use of the word "discipline" regarding wrong-doing is misplaced. Though it seems reasonable to think otherwise, it appears that only God vests only Himself with the Authority to discipline.

chapmaned24 said...

Flicker,

The covenant should not be binding, and here is the reason:


Colossians 2:20-23(NIRV)

20 Some people still follow the basic spiritual powers of the world. But you died with Christ as far as these powers are concerned. So why do you act as if you still belong to the world? Here are the rules you follow. 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!” 22 Rules like these are about things that will pass away soon. They are based on merely human rules and teachings. 23 It is true that these rules seem wise. Because of them, people give themselves over to their own kind of worship. They pretend they are humble. They treat their bodies very badly. But rules like these don’t help. They don’t stop people from chasing after sinful pleasures.

And:


Matthew 5:33-37 (NIRV)
Promises

33 “Again, you have heard what was said to your people long ago. They were told, ‘Do not break the promises you make to the Lord. Keep your promises to the Lord that you have made.’ 34 But here is what I tell you. Do not make any promises like that at all. Do not make them in the name of heaven. That is God’s throne. 35 Do not make them in the name of the earth. That is the stool for God’s feet. Do not make them in the name of Jerusalem. That is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not make a promise in your own name. You can’t make even one hair of your head white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ Anything more than this comes from the evil one.

By the way, the word rapture is indeed in the Bible. It is within the "definition" of two words put together, "caught up", using the KJV.

Strong's Concordance Greek Reference #726 harpázō – properly, seize by force; snatch up, suddenly and decisively

The Latin equivelant is "raptus", which is where we get rapture.

The problem that I see is that people are brainwashed to believe that the pastor knows what he is talking about, because he has a theology degree. Big whoopie, I say. What good did the Apostle Paul's college degree as a Pharisee do for him?

God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. The Bible warns us about people like Matt.

Many people are not taught to seek God's word on their own. They are fearful of another denomination being birthed, I guess. Being a Berean has it's advantages. Big time.

We Bereans discover that Matt is abusing people, and he needs to be called out on his behavior, rebuked, corrected, and kicked out of the ministry, because he, with his college education, has a lot to learn about God, and people.

Ed Chapman

chapmaned24 said...

Flicker,

You had said:
" And it does not require the congregation as a whole to believe that the aggrieving brother is a heathen, or require them to even regard him as a heathen either. It merely instructs the aggrieved brother to merely to get along with the brother as he would get along with the heathens. "

I disagree with this.

Treating a person as a heathen is to be interpreted as "kick this person out of the church, for he does not belong to Jesus, for in the face of witnesses, who have established truth (for by the mouth of 2 or 3 may every word be established), this person denies his sin, therefore is deemed a liar. Liar's do not inherit the Kingdom of God".

You do not forgive the liar. You do not fellowship with the liar. You do not share the Lord's Supper with the liar, for he is not welcomed at the table. Being a liar is an additional sin added to the sin that was against the victim to begin with.

Again, Christianity is an exclusive club, and this person that you are to treat as a heathen is not welcomed in the exclusive club.

Ed Chapman

Flicker said...

I wasn't clear. I do not believe covenants are appropriate or right. I fact, I think they are immoral, and sinful for reasons you stated above: do not swear... let your yes be yes, and no, no.

I believe in two covenants, one of which perfects the former.

Heb 8:6-13

6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second, etc...

I was trying to say that though many things in the Bible can have much said about them, when you look at what God said about them, a lot of the subsequent stuff looks off-base. A local covenant looks good, but is a cheap and difficult master compared to the real covenant as described above. Do these church leaders really have no knowledge about what they are teaching and putting on men's backs?

It is either ignorance or malice or both. Unfortunately they say they see. And unfortunately new believers don't know what to think. And are perfectly vulnerable to these men's covenantal skewering.

And yes, we do disagree. I do not believe that Matthew 18 has anything to do with sin or unrepentence. It is a mechanism for two believers, two brothers, to get alone. He is not to treat him as a reprobate, but AS a heathen. There is not necessarily any sin found with this man, only irrepairable hard feelings, on the part of the aggrieved. It is the aggrieved man who is told what to do. Treat him kindly, pray for him, bless him, love him, and not to curse him, or to hate him.

The church is the mediator in this, but beyond this, it has no obligation to be equally aggrieved along with the angry brother.

As always I could be wrong, but I think this accounts for, and answers so much of what is missing from churches, and wrong with the whole Member Covenant fraud.

And doesn't it save you from having to shun a brother because the sheep he sold you (the last sheep he had) died of sickness, and you say It was sick when I got it!, and he says, No, it was perfectly healthy!

There is no particular sin here, just a long-lasting grievance.

Flicker said...

"Get alone" should have read "get along". Sorry.

Flicker said...

Let me give you a real-life example. I asked a church brother to fix a ceiling. He did and I paid him. Later I found out that he had not installed all the insulation we had agreed upon, which was an important part of the work. I asked him to fix it and he said he didn't know what I was talking about. So I went to an elder in the church who was a lawyer and asked he could mediate between the two of us. His answer was: You need to take him to court.

Of, course, I didn't take him to court. And I just let it go. You live and learn. But if we had gone according to Matthew 18, and if he didn't fix the problem, or even say he was sorry, or confess to doing shoddy work, do you really think this would be just cause for excommunication?

Maybe so. I don't think so.

chapmaned24 said...

Flicker,

You are right about the old/new covenant. But...

Sadly, I must say that you really do need to do word study. Matthew 18 is about sin.

21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

Sin. Do you see the word in verse 21? That is the topic of the so-called Matthew 18 "process".

The church (assembly) is not the mediator between the two parties. If the parties wish the church (assembly) to get involved in such a thing, Matthew 18 is not the reference for that.

The Church (assembly) ONLY gets involved when the perp still denies his sin in the face of the witnesses. Other than that, the church (assembly) does not get involved at all. It's none of their business.

The Catholics started the strange teaching of Matthew 18, and it has carried forward to the reformed group.

Heathens are not Christians. We are to treat them AS an unbeliever, not as a brother in Christ.

I'm sorry that you disagree.

Ed Chapman

chapmaned24 said...

Flicker,

In regards to your real life example, civil court to correct a business deal is not the same as sinning against you.

This would be a different "biblical" remedy.

It would not be a Matthew 18 process, but a 1 Corinthians 6 process, where the LEAST ESTEEMED in the "assembly" hears your case...not the leaders.

1 Corinthians 6:1-5

Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?

2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.

5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?

Ed Chapman

Flicker said...

chapmaned24,

"Matthew 18 is about sin."

I think it's about restoration.

In my example, I regarded not putting in the insulation as defrauding me, which is a sin. What should I have done? Or better yet, what should the elder have done?

Tom Ross said...

@chapmaned24: –– You said:

"From my youth, the lesson from 2 Samuel 12 is that sin has consequences, not that God is challenging us to repent so that he can forgive."

From this one sentence in your response to my posed question to you as to what King David's primary sin was, it is obvious to me that you have not answered my question and possible do not understand what King David's primary sin was. David repeated his primary sin a number of times after this and when he realised that he had repeated the same sin he repented again and again and each time took full responsibility for his sin.

Now, because of the blogging limits and the length of explanation needed I will not attempt to explain further on King David's sin except to say that shortly after David established his palace in Jerusalem he began to exhibit his primary sin of acting God like and subsequently turning away from God. Because of the sin of acting God like, other sins began to manifest themselves in what he did and they too began to mount up against him.

Yes, I agree with you that as result of David's primary sin there were consequences for him and if you read the scriptural account you will see how the primary sin's consequences played out. You will also read about the consequences of the manifested sins and how David's first son with Bathsheba, was taken from him by God, when the child was around 8 yrs old (1 Chron 3:5).

I believe that what I have posted is applicable to the situation at TVC and my prayer is that the people who need to hear what I have written will do so and will respond appropriately as their heart leads them.

Shalom.

molly245 said...

I have a question for Wade that is off the subect of TVC.

I was abused severely by a parent for my entire childhood. There are witnesses (neighbors) who witnessed some of the abuse, and we have had several who have documented this fact for us.

Until her dying day my mother simply denied categorically that any abuse had ever taken place, even though all 4 of her children had singly and as a group tried to talk to her about it on multiple occasions.

She truly died calling us liars and bemoaning her ungrateful children...

What should my position be as a follower of Christ who truly wants to do the thing that the Lord is instructing us to do in these situations?

I really value your input on this. It would be a great help to me and my siblings.

chapmaned24 said...

Tom Ross,

You had told me that the primary sin of King David was similarly the sin of TVC, acting in a godlike manner.

1 John 3:4 states that sin is the transgression of the law. We know that there are 613 laws in the law of Moses. I do not recall a sin called "thou shalt not act in a godlike manner".

Let's cut to the chase. This is so simple. King David committed adultery, for he lusted/covetted after someone else's wife. The Apostle Paul stated that "I had not known sin but by the law, for I had not known lust, had the commandment not said, "Thou Shalt Not Covet". And, Jesus equated lust with adultery.

In Romans 3, he also states that "by the law is the knowledge of sin". So, I have no idea where you are coming up with "acting in a godlike manner" as a sin in the first place. I don't even know what that means, and I have been a Christian for many years. I've never heard anyone say that before.

So, King David's primary sin is adultery, and covetting, caused by lust. Then he tried to cover it up by recalling Bathsheba's husband from battle, and that failed. So, King David had him killed in battle.

All of this "repenting" stuff that you keep mentioning, too, is strange. Repent simply means to "change your mind". David knew what sin was. He knew he was sinning when he sinned. He covered it up...he didn't forget. Nathan gave him a "story" and "likened" it to the sin of King David, in which David realized that his cover up was not covered up so well. Verse 9 below states what God states that his "primary sin" was, to wit: "thou hast killed Uriah...taken his wife to be your wife."

The next sentence states, "Now therefore", which ends God stating the "primary" sins of King David (killing Uriah, and taking his wife to be his).

2 Samuel 12:9-12
9 Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.

10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.

11 Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.

12 For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.

Key word is "secretly".

Now, if you think that is "acting in a godlike manner", I don't see it. I see adultery, coveting, murder, all brought about by King David's lust of a beautiful married woman not his own, who tried to cover it up.

Now, how is this similar to TVC?

Ed Chapman

chapmaned24 said...

Flicker,

You had stated:
"I think it's about restoration.

In my example, I regarded not putting in the insulation as defrauding me, which is a sin. What should I have done? Or better yet, what should the elder have done?"

My response:
I'm having a hard time trying to figure out how you get "restoration" from Matthew 18.

If you have been sinned against, you are not looking for restoring, you are looking for acknowledgement from the person who sinned against you.

Play this out for a moment.

You: "Hey, Steve just stole my phone. I laid it on the table, and saw him from the other side of the room just take it."

Jim: He sure did. I saw it myself. Hey, Flicker, why don't you go and confront him, and see if he cops to it. If not, I'll back you up, as I saw it, too.

You: Thanks Jim. All of my photos of my daughters wedding are on that phone.

You: Steve, I just saw you take my phone. Do you realize that you stole from me?

Steve: I don't know what you are talking about, man. I don't have your phone.

You: Well, Jim, he's denying it. Let's both go and confront him. I need my phone. Besides the pictures, my contacts and email addresses are all on my phone.

Jim: Hey, Steve, we both saw you take the phone. Just give the phone back, and all will be forgiven.

Steve: Leave me alone, man, I don't have anyone's phone.

-----------------

Where do you see "restoration" here?

I see restoration of a "relationship" here:


Matthew 5:22-24King James Version (KJV)

22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother *****without a cause***** shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Note:

If someone is angry at YOU, for GOOD CAUSE, YOU are to go seek reconciliation. The one who is angry at YOU, is not obligated to reconcile with you. NOT obligated. YOU are obligated to make amends to him, not he you.

Now, in regards to your example of being defrauded, and you confronted, take it to the assembly, using the 1 Cor 6 example, and let the "Least Esteemed" make a determination. There could be a misunderstanding on his part, rather than a sin going on.

The problem with doing that is...what church does the 1 Cor 6 example in the first place? And, if they do, the Pastor/Elders usually take the place of the "Least Esteemed", which makes the whole thing biased, and unfair.

If only people would adhere to the steps as outlined, then Christianity might be a peaceful and "just" body, with right judgment, and justice. But, it seems that you need to be a Berean to see the steps, because they sure are not being taught, therefore, not being adhered to.

Ed Chapman

chapmaned24 said...

Flicker,

It must also be noted:

1 Timothy 5:19
Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

Ed Chapman

Tom Ross said...

chapmaned24

It seems that you have missed the important part of the scripture that you had referenced. It reads, "Why have you despised the word of the Lord." When we despise the word of the Lord we begin to do as we please, we begin to act God like because we have turned away from the Lord, which is an act of the heart and is not visible such that others can see it. It then goes on to list the sins that were piled up upon David because of his initial sin of despising the word of God and acting God like.

King David's sin was not what was readily observable, adultery and murder etc., it was the reason behind why he did those visible sins that was the Sin that he confessed to. His confession, "I have sinned against you Oh Lord."

So many people want to be able to measure sin. They say driving a car above the speed limit is a sin but the reality is that their self centeredness, the real reason why they were speeding in their car, is their primary sin, cannot be readily observed and as such often goes unnoticed by others. Speeding is the manifestation of their self centeredness and unless you deal with the root cause of their sin, people will continue to go on sinning time and time again and wonder why it is that they do so. In the case of TVC, the root cause of their observable sin needs to be dealt with and repented of so that healing can be achieved for both the victim and the perpetrator.

My sense is that you are only able to see the "visible" sins and not the underlying root cause of the sins that we are seeing. Deal with the root sin cause and the other sins will all fall away. The consequences of the manifested sins however, will still be there to work through.

That is what I have learnt with the King David example. People who only want to deal with the visible sins often have deeper real issues that actually need dealing with between them and God. what I am suggesting is that TVC needs to deal with their root cause for sinning. That is between them and God. I hope and pray that they will come to realise this.

Sadly this sin is more prevalent than many "churches" are prepared to admit too.

Shalom

Wyman Richardson said...

Wade,

I'm late to this discussion. My question is more about covenants but I thought I would post it here as this is the most current post and since this is still relates to the larger issue.

I'm not really interested in arguing the merits of covenants per se. I abhor the kind of authoritarianism you rightly bemoan, and I think Chandler was way out of line, and I think their approach to the covenant was profoundly abusive, and I am glad to see their apology. I think a person should be able to leave a church on their own accord without harassment. I do not think pastors are called to be micromanagers. I think church discipline should be redemptive, patient, and hopefully private. I suspect I approach discipline the way you do and if I'm going to err I want to err on the side of grace. There are tyrannical ways to use covenants and their are healthy ways.

Our church adopted a covenant around our "4 Canons": Authentic Family, Around the Whole Gospel, For the Glory of God, and the Reaching of the Nations. We periodically invite members to sign a large copy of the covenant IF they feel led and want to make a public statement of agreement. It is not mandatory nor will it ever be. A few have not signed it. Absolutely fine. Their being a member is not dependent upon such and I will not tolerate any attempts to make folks who don't want to sign it feel lesser for not doing so. If they don't want to they just don't. End of story. Those who do sign it sign it, as I said, as a public symbol of our congregation's agreement that we want to strive toward this vision, not as a means to control. The covenant was written by an ad hoc team of members that I assembled and led and was voted in by the membership.

I'm just curious to know what you think of our covenant.


As a body of born again believers,

We covenant to become an authentic family by
loving one another as Christ loves us,
praying for one another,
speaking truth to one another in love,
being patient with one another,
protecting one another,
considering one another as more important than ourselves.

We covenant to embrace the whole gospel by
studying God’s Word faithfully,
learning the gospel together in family worship,
giving ear only to sound doctrine,
living out the gospel in our lives,
embracing the whole counsel of God.

We covenant to bring glory to God by
gathering for worship faithfully,
singing to the glory of God,
joining together in fervent prayer,
doing good works to the Father’s glory,
living lives that reflect the beauty of Christ,
giving offerings to God joyfully and faithfully,

We covenant to reach the nations by
sharing the gospel with those around us,
reaching out to the poor and the needy,
praying for the cause of missions in the world,
giving to the financial support of missions,
being personally involved in missions as God leads and as we are able.

Curious Thinker said...

Great post. I posted a topic on forgiveness in my own blog a while back and I agree that forgiving is not the same as forgetting. Being able to forgive someone doesn't mean you still can't hold them accontabable for their actions and there are no consequences. I reamin conflicted on not questioning the motive of an apology. What if you wonder if the person is sincere or being dishonest just to be back in your good grace? Should you allow youself to be blind to the person's attentions just because they say what you want to hear? One thing about trying to forgive someone is can you truly be able to trust them again? Thanks again for a interesting post. God Bless.

Flicker said...

Okay. Without looking ahead to the question about 'how many times must I forgive my brother's sins?' ... yet.

Okay, if you and two others SEE a man steal your cell phone and then deny it, are you saying that's enough for excommunication?

But more importantly, you have made up a story about a cell phone, but you have ignored the fraud as I related it in my actual experience. The man denied it. IS THIS ENOUGH in your view for EXCOMMUNICATION? Really? I'm just asking. Maybe you're right. But I want to know what you think.

The lead up in Matthew to 18:15 was about children and not injuring the innocent. Then 18:15 Jesus adds about reconciliation and restoring brothers; and if that fails, how to treat or interact with them. Only afterwards, after Peter brings up a brother sinning and forgiveness and against him, does Jesus gives the example of the need for compassionate mercy; and then goes on to say, if a brother says, "I repent!" then forgive him every time.

And Jesus certainly says in Matthew 18:15, if it goes right you have gained or restored YOUR... BROTHER. And this is clearly His desire. But if he will not hear you, etc... there is no specific instance of sin mentioned; there is an allegation of trespass, and of fault but after that there is only a mediation between the two who are in disagreement leading to treating the bother as a heathen, not public rebuke, and not shunning. It's a way to get along when you can't come to terms with someone.

On a different subject, once you mentioned that repenting is a one-time thing in life; after that there's confession. What did Jesus mean when in the 490-times parable when he said if your brother keeps saying to you "I repent"? Van repentance happen more than once? I'm not sure I get your point in this.

flicker said...

The above was a response to chapmaned24.

Gordon said...

To chapmaned24.

1. Question : If someone takes my phone, should I not give him my tablet also ?
Answer : If anyone should take your coat.. or insult you..or authoritatively impose themselves upon you, it is better to comply than to resist. (See Matthew 5:39-41).

2. "joyfully accept the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourself in heaven " ( Hebrews 10:34).

3. "when he was reviled, he reviled not again; when he suffered he threatened not; but committed himself to Him who judgeth righteously " (1 Peter 2: 23).

I can only begin to follow Jesus in this respect when I recognise his grace in my life. God is my portion and my great reward. We can all rise above the personal sufferings because our essential identity is in Him and not in our possessions or relationships. At times I may be tempted to resort to dirty tricks or even to stoning, or to litigation in civil and criminal courts, to church covenants or to social media (my misery likes company!).... but all these would only prove to be useless self-efforts in the relief of my hurt. The remedy would be more costly in every way than the grievance.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. God helping me, I shall try to move on toward the light and bless rather than curse the darkness.

(Personal Testimony).

Christiane said...

I'm thinking about 'justice' for those girls who were molested by Duggar, and also about the Duggar concept of 'forgiveness'. I'm not certain that people can evade justice and hide their sin and not seek protection AND justice for their victims, and not try to remedy the harm that they did to others BEFORE coming before the Lord and asking for His forgiveness.

I'm not sure how the Duggar folks interpet sacred Scripture, but I believe that there is some call to attempt to do what is right for the sake of the people that one has injured in some way prior to going before God.

I'm horrified by the Duggars' interview last night. If this is 'patriarchy', it holds a lot more darkness in it than I could ever imagine. I feel so sorry for the victims.

And I do now understand that, after the first incident, when the parents failed in their responsibility to notify the authorities AND to keep Josh away from the girls,
that Josh repeated his molestation again later. That makes the parents implicit in the girls' abuse.

Can the law see to it that the girls have some proper victim counseling, so that they at least have a chance to recover as best is possible? Can anything be done for them?

Forgiveness? (sigh) not unless repentance is present and quite frankly, serial abuse and hiding and failure to protect the innocent does not speak to 'repentance', no. All so very sad. The girls did not deserve any of this. They deserve help. And they deserve 'justice' . . . if only by the Hand of the Lord in time. Am I right to feel this way? I think I am. My heart is with the victims.

Wade Burleson said...

Christiane,

Forgiveness is personal and relational. The state is not designed to forgive. Child abuse is a crime against the state, that's why there is what is called "mandatory reporting." So you can forgive a child abuser, but the state cannot - and anyone who tries to confuse personal forgiveness with the state's justice is making a huge mistake.

Gordon said...

Wade,

Lessons I've learned from my experience.

1. If I enter a contract in haste, I might soon be repenting at leisure. Due diligence needs to be done before signing up. Such matters are not to be taken in hand lightly or unadvisedly, and preferably done with the approval and support of a wider group.

2. Trust is good but control is better.

3. Emotion and optimism can be blind but a binding union with another is an eye opener.

3. Don't seek and accept the Church's blessing on the deal, whatever it is, and then withdraw and turn to heathen civil courts to dissolve the contract when problems arise. I had to ask myself: Having started in the Spirit, am I now drifting into the flesh ? (Gal 3:3)

4. My actions always need to be consistent with NT Scriptures; responsible in considering the outcome, and respectful of all concerned. I was therefore minded to put this matter away quietly so as not to bring shame and disrepute upon anyone. Washing soiled linen in public is unbecoming.

5. On the practical side, I had to be sure that the proposed solution would leave everyone in a much better situation than before the "war". Anger can so often lead to a state of low visibility when having to make a decision. It was a time for careful reflection and not for Peter-like impetuosity.

6. I had to count the financial cost lest I be left stoney broke. One can't eat stubborn pride, and to beg I was ashamed. Layers alone would be rubbing their hands and I would be worse off.

In my case, mature Christians listened carefully without giving me any directives, apart from encouraging me to act in submission to God; in the love of Jesus; and to pray for the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps some of these point might be helpful to someone in a similar situation to mine.

chapmaned24 said...

Tom Ross,

I only partly agree with your explanation. Why? Because I already stated that the underlying cause of his sin was lust. All sin is about self. All sin is not about "love thy neighbor as thyself".

Lust is not sin. It is what you lust after that is the sin. A man can lust after his own wife, and that is not a sin.

But, if you lust after another woman that belongs to someone else, that is two sins:
1. Covet, as Paul noted in Romans 7, and
2. Adultery, as Jesus noted.

Ed Chapman

chapmaned24 said...

Flicker,

You had said:
"Okay, if you and two others SEE a man steal your cell phone and then deny it, are you saying that's enough for excommunication?"

My response:
Absolutely.

Next, you said:
"But more importantly, you have made up a story about a cell phone, but you have ignored the fraud as I related it in my actual experience. The man denied it. IS THIS ENOUGH in your view for EXCOMMUNICATION? Really? I'm just asking. Maybe you're right. But I want to know what you think."

My response:
No, it is not enough. I only know your side of the story. That is why I suggest to use the 1 Cor 6. 1 Cor 6 is not about excommunication, forgiving, not forgiving, nor restoration. It's a minor civil dispute settlement between "brothers" in Christ. It is not related to Matthew 18 or 1 Cor 5 at all. It's not about sin at all.

Next, you said:
"The lead up in Matthew to 18:15 was about children and not injuring the innocent. Then 18:15 Jesus adds about reconciliation and restoring brothers; and if that fails, how to treat or interact with them. Only afterwards, after Peter brings up a brother sinning and forgiveness and against him, does Jesus gives the example of the need for compassionate mercy; and then goes on to say, if a brother says, "I repent!" then forgive him every time."

My response:
You might need to see step 1, which is, If he sinned (trespassed) against you, that you need to go tell him what he did against you. You need to "confront" him/her for the sin that you are accusing him/her of. Alone. Alone.

My Matthew 18 does not use the word "repent". However, Luke 17 does.

Note that Luke 17:4 only mentions 7 times. It is Matthew 18 that mentions 70x7, aka 140. That tells me that it is two different conversations going on.

Luke 17:4
And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

Please note that in verse 3, it states:
Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.

1. REBUKE him.

But, let's see what "repent" is defined as.

Strong's Concordance, Greek Reference G3340: metanoeō
to change one's mind, i.e. to repent

So, if this person is a persistent thief, how many times will he "change his mind"?

Me, in the Luke 17 example, I see this as 7 different sins, not the same sin. If it was the same sin, then:
1. What was his change of mind the first time?
2. What was his change of mind the second time?
3. What was his change of mind the third time?
4. What was his change of mind the fourth time?

ect.

I guess that he just changes his mind as to what procedure to get away with it, huh?

I do, however, see your point.

Ed Chapman



chapmaned24 said...

Gordon,

You had asked:
"1. Question : If someone takes my phone, should I not give him my tablet also ?
Answer : If anyone should take your coat.. or insult you..or authoritatively impose themselves upon you, it is better to comply than to resist. (See Matthew 5:39-41)."

Wow...really?
Your Matthew 5 reference was about your relationship between believers to unbelievers. This blog topic is about church going people, and what to do with the church goer who violated another church goer.

But, it's good to know that you are willing to abide by some scripture, but ignore other scripture, equating all scripture to the giving of grace to all people, when we are not obligated to forgive. People are in hell, because God did not forgive, nor will he ever forgive those people. Or, does God forgive everyone, and we all get to heaven in the end?

Ed Chapman

chapmaned24 said...

Wade,

You had said to Christine:
"Forgiveness is personal and relational. The state is not designed to forgive. Child abuse is a crime against the state, that's why there is what is called "mandatory reporting." So you can forgive a child abuser, but the state cannot - and anyone who tries to confuse personal forgiveness with the state's justice is making a huge mistake."

My response:
Is child abuse a crime against God? Is breaking state law a sin against God? Does God command us to obey man's law, and to abide by its justice?

Forgiving does not negate out jail time, testimony against in a court of law, etc.

Are secret sins hid from God? If a child abuser commands/demands forgiveness, is feigned forgiveness, based on fear, coercion, grounds for the victim going to hell?

Can the child abuser get forgiveness outside of the victim? If so, then what is the victims stake in the matter if the child abuser bypasses the victim? Is the victim of child abuse obligated to have a personal relationship with the child abuser? I think you call that "restoration"? I'm with Christine, in this...justice needs to prevail.

If your wee wee causes you to sin...cut it off. Didn't Jesus say something like that?

Millstone, neck!

Ed Chapman

chapmaned24 said...

In regards to "restore", "reconciliation", etc., the bottom line is that "The Church", aka "assembly (Pew Sitters) stay out of it altogether, for it is no one's business except for the two parties involved. "The Church" has no say in the matter, whether a relationship is restored or not.

The only reason that the "assembly" gets involved, is to solve a problem with a lying sinner that was seen by 2 or 3 or more witnesses that refuses to cop to his sin. So stop making Matthew 18 into something that it isn't.

Stop attempting to restore a child abuser to an ex-wife, or a pastor to that said ex-wife. That is between the two parties only. Stop playing the "If you don't forgive, you are going to hell" card to a person that has trauma from being a victim of abuse. And don't tell me how much compassion that you have in caring for the abused, if you play that card, trying to force a forgiveness, and forcing a reconciliation. It's no one's business but theirs. Forcing a forgiveness solves nothing, because there is no forgiveness that took place at all. Feigned forgiveness is no forgiveness. It didn't come from the heart, it came for lip service to pacify being coerced into something that she didn't want to do for fear of further retribution, or more abuse. And you think that God is OK with that fear and coercion, and threat?

Mandatory reporting, sounds to me as if you really don't like the mandatory reporting law...sort of an inconvenience to your Christian doctrine of handling things "in-house", as a sin against God, so that you can force a forgiveness, and let that be the end of the story, instead of both a sin against God, and a crime against the victim, which I think you only described it as against the state only? Just forgive and move on, telling the victim to get over it, or be punished "in-house", and suffer the consequences of hell for eternity, while protecting the abuser, because somehow you think that he is sorry? Ya, right...sorry he got caught, and he doesn't want to go to jail. Then to top it off, force the victim to reconcile with the abuser, thinking that this is what God wants? What if the victim doesn't? Force it anyway?

This is what we call Christianity these days? It sickens me.

Ed Chapman