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

The Difference Between My Church and His Church

The other day I went to a fast-food restaurant and ordered a couple of salads. It was my turn to do dinner, so I did it the easy way. After arriving home, I realized the restaurant hadn't given me the condiments for my salads (dressing, nuts, etc.). I got back in the car and took my second trip across town, back to that same fast-food restaurant. Arriving home the second time, I realized that the condiment packets didn't have what should have been in them.

Argghh. Frustrating.

I didn't get what I wanted. I felt poorly served. Nobody at the restaurant recognized the trouble I'd been through, and no coupon was offered me for the hassle. In fairness, this restaurant is usually spot-on in their service. I only vented a little to my wife and then let it go, believing the restaurant staff was just having a difficult day.

When we pay for something at a restaurant, we want to enjoy it, be served well, experience comfort and convenience, and always leave satisfied. We want it all the time, no matter the cost. My heart goes out to those who own or manage restaurants. It's a tough business.

I think most of us treat churches like restaurants. 

"I want this, this, and this." I want it served my way. If I don't get it the way I want it, I'll blame those who work at my church. After a season of frustration and irritation, many Christians switch churches like people switch restaurants.

The unspoken job description of the pastor is to make everyone happy, provide excellent services, and keep members as comfortable and content as possible. Everyone wants a church that delivers the salad on time, complete with packets of condiments, and a staff that always recognizes the customers/members and makes everything convenient and comfortable.

What's your favorite restaurant?
What's your favorite church?

Non-profit religious organizations (501C-3)'s are businesses by the very nature of incorporation. If there is a leader of a non-profit (e.g. "pastor") who tells you he doesn't care if the corporate members are happy, he's not being as truthful as he could. Every pastor cares about members. He must. Christians treat their non-profit religious organization like a restaurant to not care for the customers.

However, something magical happens when Christians begin to understand that His Church is not the same thing as "my church." 

The gates of hell will not prevail against His Church.
The influential business leaders typically prevail in my church.

The leader of His Church is One who never makes mistakes.
The leaders of my church are people who often make mistakes.

The building housing His Church are people who form a Temple that He owns.
The building housing my church is made of wood and stone which members own.

His Church is composed of people from every nation, tribe, kindred, and tongue.
My church is usually composed of people who all look the same and act the same.

His Church is always motivated by sinners learning what it means to boast in Christ.
My church is mostly concerned that other people boast of us being the biggest and the best.

His Church will selflessly serve, generously give, and willingly work for the good of others.
My church will look within to see how we can make members happy, comfortable, and content.

An effective Christian leader is one who leads people to think in terms of His church and not my church. 

Or, to put it another way, when His Church becomes our priority, we stop seeing ourselves as saints singing of grace while keeping ourselves insulated and isolated from the world, and we start seeing ourselves as sinners saved by grace who become intentional and inspirational to other sinners in the world.

A church on mission is messy.

Jesus was a friend to sinners. The way to tell whether or not it is His Church or my church is whether or not sinners call us their friends.

10 years ago, no prisoners attended my church. This Sunday close to 50 prisoners will be attending His church. 10 years ago, nobody talked about the need for recovery at my church. This week dozens of men and women will gather on Thursday night to celebrate celebrating their recoveries from addictive and harmful behaviors at His Church. 10 years ago, we'd never dream of having a tatted up usher guiding people to their seats at my church. This past Sunday a tatted-up recent convert to Christ - just out of jail - guided my wife and me to our seats at His Church. 10 years ago we never would have spent money on transitional housing for the homeless at my church. In the past few years, His Church has spent tens of thousands of dollars in establishing men's and women's transitional housing.

It's messy, but it's a blessing.

As one woman said to Rachelle and me just last week: "I think His Church is the only church that would welcome a sinner like me."

If "your church" is working toward becoming His Church - and the building is not like you like it all the time, and the programs are not what they used to be, and the people don't look like you anymore; and the services don't remind you of the services you had when you were a child, and the money is spent on more outward ministry than inward ministries, and sinners actually are present in the congregation - please be patient. 

Sometimes the condiments aren't in the packet at my church.

But that may happen because His Church has left the restaurant.

46 comments:

Bob Cleveland said...

Amen and amen, sir!

It really IS about becoming and making disciples, isn't it?

Christiane said...

Wade,
you wrote, this:

"A church on mission is messy.

Jesus was a friend to sinners. The way to tell whether or not it is His Church or my church is whether or not sinners call us their friends.

10 years ago, no prisoners attended my church. This Sunday close to 50 prisoners will be attending His church. 10 years ago, nobody talked about the need for recovery at my church. This week dozens of men and women will gather on Thursday night to celebrate celebrating their recoveries from addictive and harmful behaviors at His Church. 10 years ago, we'd never dream of having a tatted up usher guiding people to their seats at my church. This past Sunday a tatted-up recent convert to Christ - just out of jail - guided my wife and me to our seats at His Church. 10 years ago we never would have spent money on transitional housing for the homeless at my church. In the past few years, His Church has spent tens of thousands of dollars in establishing men's and women's transitional housing.

It's messy, but it's a blessing."


For those who are able to understand, Our Lord's Church will always and ever be a beautiful thing to see. For those are now not yet able to understand, may they one day come to see that 'God is in this place, and I did not know it'.


Shawn C. Madden said...

Spot on and well said.

Cindy Meyers said...

This isn't about the article but about your book, "Happiness Doesn't Just Happen". It says that Amazon has it in paperback but I couldn't find that, only the Kindle version.

Cindy

Wade Burleson said...

Cindy, it looks like Amazon is "out." You might look here:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0982744617

Wade Burleson said...

Better yet, Cindy,

email Laura Girty at laura@emmanuelenid.org and we'll send you a signed copy free of charge.

Wade

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

An excellent post.

“…The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14 NLT)

His Church states the average man is going to hell.

My church may give information from Google “during an average lifetime a man will spend 3,350 hours scraping 27½ feet of whiskers from his face.”

I heard Frank Harbor preach once. It was about his problems in playing golf which kept people laughing their heads off. I thought ‘the water is boiling’ and they don’t know it. He conclude his ‘message’ by having his ‘physical therapists’ demonstrate with weights how it helped to keep his head down when he hit the ball. Jesus was never mentioned.

Christiane said...

Hello Rex Ray,
yes, Wade's post is excellent, one of his best, and the work he is describing has its roots deep in the Holy Gospels of Our Lord. I think Wade understands about the mystery of the Kingdom of Our Lord and the mystery of the Body of Christ and also how it is that the Holy Spirit goes where He wills, regardless of our human divisions and boundaries.

About your sad example of the preacher Frank Harbor who never spoke the Holy Name of Jesus in his sermon, I remember a controversy I heard about in a Church once where they wanted to remove all the hymns that did not specifically say the name of 'Jesus' in them. But then someone spoke up and asked "do we have to abandon 'Be Thou My Vision' also?" :) In truth, the lyrics of the hymn may not say the Holy Name of 'Jesus' specifically, but Our Lord IS truly the focus of this hymn and is referred to in many ways all through it in the beautiful Irish tradition, where Jesus is believed to be closer to us than our own souls:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihJAJA4ibEs

Cindy Meyers said...

Aww..thank-you so much for your generosity! I really appreciate that Wade! I have a daughter who, I believe, would benefit from the truth in your book! God bless you!

Cindy

Unknown said...

I wonder if complementarians ever eat fast food for dinner.

Rex Ray said...

Christiane,

Ah, Frank Harbor. Got his PHD the fastest on record at SWBTS. Once he said, “I’ve been trained to run a church and I’ll run this church.”

Makes you wonder how many of their graduates under Patterson feel the same way.

He had them to make New Church Bylaws, and selected a BOARD that he was head of that ran the church. They could spend up to $250,000 without approval from the church. The church had a business meeting twice a year.

I printed 400 slips of paper, but only handed out one at my brother-in-law’s church. It was to Harbor. I said, “You’re the only one that can do anything about this.”

The paper read:
1.Leadership Board dissolved the Colleyville Senior Adult Bible Explorers Class on 11-6-05.
2.Their teacher was fired because he would not promise to always support the Senior Pastor.
3.However, about 50 long time members have continued to meet with their fired teacher.
4.Consequently, they have been denied Sunday school literature and a Christmas party.
If the Board rules their disobedience is “disruption”, they may be ejected from the church.
5.Is it sad the New bylaws prevent anyone standing for them. Outsider Rex Ray 11-27-05.

Harbor said, “I know this man; he is evil.”
I was escorted past a policeman and to my car. I was told, “If we see your car again, it will be impounded.”

It wasn’t long before my brother-in-law and three others were ejected from his church. The next year, Harbor was fired and my brother-in-law was selected “Citizen of the year”.

Christiane said...

Whoah! REX RAY, what a mess. So Patterson fast-tracked Harbor's PhD and Harbor went out and 'ran' your Church hardball style. He hand-picks his new board (Patterson-style) and declares he has the 'authority' to spend a quarter of a million dollars of the Church's money without reporting to the congregation. All those red lights, and it took a year to fire him???
ooooff! And it always comes down to abusing people a leader ought to be serving, because he can...... so much for SWBTS's Pattersonian formation of its ministerial students to NOT conform to the mind and heart of Christ. Patterson clones. And you and your brother-in-law got caught up in this mess big-time. Well, at least the Church had the wisdom to finally to send Harbor packing.

In the context of your last comment, I can see his golf 'sermon' story in a different light for sure. We once had a German bishop who spent a LOT of his parish's money on himself, his residence, his first-class traveling, etc. etc. . . . it got so bad that the pope had to call him in to Rome to deal with it. That bishop from Germany was called the 'bishop of bling' by his parishioners. He's in a more humble position now, I hope.

Scott Shaver said...

I remember the "Bishop of Bling". Only difference between your guys and our guys is that ours have no accountability.

Tom Ross said...

The difference between my church and His Church is that His church is there to be a blessing to all of the people of the earth, whereas my church is there only to be a blessing to Me.

Why is this so? Because I have not renew my mind and put on the refurbished mantle of the person who Christ and God want me to become.

Shalom

Anonymous said...

You rang this tired old moderate Christian's bell.

Anonymous said...

Of course, however "we" want to do church is what we see as "His" church and however others are doing church isn't. "We" see them as guilty of wanting "my" church.

I think of three Baptist churches in our new town. One has all the right boxes checked, such as celebrate recovery, rock music, cool dressing pastors, etc. Hasn't been my cup of tea but have to admit over there, sinners are becoming saints.

Another is hyper Calvinist. Hymns only, glare at you if you tap your foot to a hymn, no real invitations, etc. Again, though, they are reaching folks and sinners are becoming saints.

Another is "stuck in the 1950's" as some folks say. See the recovery movement, tats, piercings, modern music, and any Bible but the KJV as evil. But some of the hardened sinners are finding salvation and freedom there.

Truly, His church may be different from my church, but I don't get to sit in judgement on any church. For all I know, the one's I think most not "His Church" may be in deep obedience to Him.

Linda

Wade Burleson said...

Linda,

Well said.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

I hope you don’t mind me telling of a Memorial Service to be remembered.

On September 21, Pastor Chuck Martin of First Baptist Church Frisco, Texas was in charge of the service for one of their members, Don Lee Mock, father of Rachelle Mock the wife of Wade Burleson.

Don was 81. “How Great Thou Art” by two young granddaughters was touching.

A lot of funerals give only a sermon about Jesus, but the 15 minutes that Wade spoke, he preached Jesus in the life of Don. Wade told of him learning to pitch baseball as a boy, and was pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals when he saw a girl of his dreams in the stands.

Don said later, “God gave me the gift to play baseball so I could meet Nancy.” They feel in love and he asked her to marry him, but she said, “No; because you’re not a Christian.”

That was a great influence in him giving his life to the Lord. (In 2005, they retired as Southern Baptists missionaries.) Before that he worked for Phillips Petroleum, and lived in Athens, Greece; Alexandria, Egypt; Tehran, Iran; Hong Kong; Jeddah, and Saudi Arabia.

In one of those places, terrorists shot a lot of people while Don covered his wife and three children. Someone’s else’s blood was all over them.

His wife, Nancy wrote:

“His living and dying desire was for his family to have a relationship with God, to know Him, walk with Him and have real JOY, and he prayed for this until he could pray no more.”

BTW, it was nice to see you and Rachell again.

Romycat Black said...

Curious here. You speak of prisoners, tats etc. Would you let the gays and transgender sit in your church until their hearts turn and commit to Christ?
Unbiased without a lot of condemnation and finger pointing?

After all they are prisoners of sin, belief systems and confusion. Mental and emotional prisons. Prison's that often times begin with abuse , and lies from satan.

I am genuinely curious. I think it was David Wilkerson who said If you don't let them in the church how are they to hear the gospel and get saved?

If all they hear is that they are an abomination how is that compassionate? Besides that "abomination" is mentioned in 76 verses in scripture and homosexuality is one of a very long list of sins.

Proverbs 6:16-19
There are six things the Lord HATES, yes seven which are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood. A heart that devises wicked plans. Feet that run rapidly to evil. A false witnesses who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.

Just as we all turn to Christ and work out our salvation would it be the same for the LGBTQ community?

I just find the issue such a huge point of contention within the politics of the American evangelical church I was wondering how HIS church would be reconcilled at your church on this issue?

I am sincerely asking. I am seriously bothered by the hypocrisy in the church that rails against LGBTQ people. I am seriously bothered by pastors who preach against these unsaved harassed and helpless people who have no shepherd. With No compassion.

They are despised, misunderstood, degraded, rejected and looked down on by the most haughty eyes I have ever witnessed.

I listened to a sermon by Ronnie Floyd who railed against the homosexuals as if they were as despised and feared just as much or more than the lepers in scripture, and yet Jesus touched them.

I have read articles, twitter rants, blogs, publications, and a myriad of comments by so called Christians who look on them with haughty eyes, riddled with hate 'calling out sin' but don't call out the sin in their own pews. Such as the lies, running to evil, devising wicked plans, causing strife. Just like the SBC.

So my question is how would you receive them in their unsaved state? Would they be looked at with haughty eyes? Would they be looked at with disdain? Would people see themselves as above or elevated in terms that they don't do THAT SIN?

And yet, this particular abomination is not included in the verses that says God HATES. It does not include homosexuality in those verses in Proverbs.

So what gives? If the church of Christ or HIS church doesn't address these hypocrisies how are they to be saved?

I know my two gay friends HATE THE CHURCH. You wanna know why? Because of hypocrisy.
The biggest issue? The church pinpoints the sin of homosexuality as the most vile sin ever, and yet continuously takes exception, excuses, and allows sin of all kinds in it's pews. In particular sexual sin,( child rape and assault )and the haughty eyes and hate of the LGBTQ community as if they are without sin.

The church feels like it is losing traction in terms of the family. It feels it's values are diminishing being pushed by the 'gay agenda'.

And the church wonders why there is pushback fromthe LGBTQ community? If you were singled out, hated and despised and called an abomination constantly would you not push back?

Oh yah, the church is. But the thing is that it started this in the first place by elevating themselves looking down on them with disdain, without taking the log out of their own eyes first so they could help their brothers with the spec in their own eyes.

The LGBTQ community are harrassed and helpless , like sheep without a shepherd.The same with bikers, people with tats, prisoners, and all unsaved people.

So Wade what about your church?


Mike Marshall said...

Wade,

Love, Love, Love this post.

We do transistional housing for parolees. Currently we have over 80 beds and are expanding. We are not faithed based, we are Christ centered. AND, we minister to sex offenders. SOs are our modern day leppers, even most other offenders want to distance from them. Sadly, churches and believers distance from them as well.

Now my rant: WE MUST CHANGE THE NARRATIVE WITHIN THE CHURCH REGARDING MY REDEEMED BROTHERS IN CHRIST THAT ARE SOs. We, the Church, feel the same way about SOs as our culture does. THAT MUST CHANGE. For the most part SOs are NOT welcome in church. When that happens we are saying we'll open our doors to sinners, but not THAT sin, because your sin is worse than mine. Shame, shame shame on us. Jesus please forgive us.

Since our churches will not allow SOs we do church for them on our campus every Sunday night. It is authentic worship. I'm not sitting next to a grown man playing Tetrus on his phone during the sermon. The preacher does not have to do a sermon on what sin is. These guys know what redemption looks like.

Obviously, certain accommodations for church attendance in a traditional church setting MUST be addressed. This is a legal and practical matter but it is easily done. We just have to want to do it.

Having been involved in this ministry for 3 years I've found out that SOs that are redeemed will following the rules much better than other offenders. They are also some of the best employees you can have. They must do constant drug testing as well as an annual polygraph. They know that if they mess up at any time they'll return to "eating slop". The folks we've teamed with have been doing transistional housing for a long period of time. They've had over 140 SOs come through their program, 1 has reoffended. This is much better than our drug or other guys.

Thanks for letting me rant. Keep up the good work Wade.

Mike Marshall
President Board of Directors
Chains of Grace Ministries
https://chainsofgrace.org/

Romycat Black said...

Mike
As a survivor of chronic sexual assault and rape from men, and some women, from the age of 2.5 to 18 yrs I could not sit in church with a previous pedophile.

From clearly a ptsd, trauma based neuro pathway reactionary stance. I can barely sit in church let alone one with known sexual offenders.

I do understand that true true gut wretching repentance happens and transformation from the holy spirit does happen. But not to all "christian" offenders.

But becaase Of trauma I am not sure a victim could, would want them in the pews with them. We are wired to mistrust, wired to

being in a constant state of flight or fright. (Bruce D. PERRY'S MD, PHD on trauma and the brain.)

That being said. There is a difference between an offender who has truly repented and one who has said sorry but never shown fruits of repentance but assumed by parishners to have repented.

For me there has to be some sort of clear fruit of repentance. A part of repentance is understanding the gravity in which your offence has wounded and changed the neuron pathways in a developing childs mind/brain and thus reaping what they have sown in that child victim's reactions. These children may never be reconciled or healed.

So would not part of understanding and accepting the consequences of sin be the realization they may never be able to sit in the same congregation as child victims of trauma such as molestation, assault and rape? Or even other

Victims of rape, or assault? Or little children? Do to the nature of their crimes?


Jesus may completely wipe a repentant heart clean but it does not do away with the fruit of what sin has sown.

And that is where the difference lies.

If the church is to become a refuge for abuse victims, rape victims, assault victims, it cannot be a refuge for the offenders because of the principle of reaping what you sow.


Maybe a congregation of sexual offenders and those unaffected by the sin of sexual assault, rape and pedophilia are as best as it's going to get.

I can understand the dilema of having a lifetime branding of repercussions/consequences of sin follow you around. But it must be understood that those same repercussions follow the survivor around also.

And it has nothing to do with forgiveness or unforgiveness. It has to do with the affects of sin left on another person.

I have heard it said that in Genesis 3&4 the first two sins man committed were immediatley judged by God. But God judged Adam and Cain differently.

God never cursed Adam or Eve after they committed sin. He cursed the ground.
But in Gen 4 he cursed Cain. The first time God cursed man.

The difference is Adam hurt himself. But when Cain sinned he hurt himself and another human being.

Jesus condemned the pharisees because their sin not only hurt themselves but hurt others.


Both types of sins dishonor God but it is clear by God's reaction in cursing Cain, which sin he hates more.

I think the church needs to grasp and understand, and repent of it's own deeply rooted and deeply hidden sexual sin before it is even ready to grasp those who have hurt others with such horrid vile offences.

And who are you going to make the church a refuge for? It certainly at this point is NOT the sexually assaulted women and children in it's pews.

The church as a whole has made it abundantly clear who it sides with. From the Roman Catholuc Church to every little protestant church that refuses to expose, refute, and drive out the wicked amongst them, as found in 1 cor 5:11-13.




Chris said...

I by no means can speak for Wade, but I would like to share my thoughts and my perceptions. Both of the points by Romycat and Mike are EXCELLENT and legitimate concerns.

Romycat,

I grew up in a very legalistic church where the greatest "sin" in the church was for a woman to show up in a pair of pants. IF an LGTBQ person was to come within 10,000 feet of the church and the leadership thought they were even possibly considering attending, then every county sheriff and city officer would be guarding the doors. (That isn't really that exaggerated - sadly)

At Emmanuel, I have come to appreciate the love and grace bestowed by the members of the congregation as a whole. I was one of them that got into legal trouble and did time in prison, and I have had the privilege of becoming a part of Emmanuel. I have been out 4 years and have struggled with the gambling addiction that sent me into prison even since my release. I have done things that very well could have sent me right back to prison, but only by the Grace of God did that not happen. But I say that to say this, Emmanuel Enid practices the message of Grace and does not just talk it. We have a very successful prison ministry and phenomenal statistics and it is only to the Glory of God.

However, I do believe that the Holy Spirit has moved upon His people in the church, in order for this success to be so great. Emmanuel truly loves people. Of course, as with any large organization, there are people that will ALWAYS reject anyone that does not fit their image of a "cookie cutter" Christian - but by and large, Emmanuel accepts and loves EVERYONE.

So in response to your question - I 100% believe and have seen personally, that Emmanuel has open arms when it comes to receiving the LGTBQ community. Do we advertise it on our church sign? Of course not, but neither do we advertise that all felons are welcome. The "advertisement" is by the love that is displayed and the word of mouth of that love to the community.

I will say that Emmanuel does not condone homosexuality, as they do not condone lying, or stealing, etc... They love despite the sin and let the work of the Holy Spirit do the changing. - There are some that feel it is their responsibility to change people, but again, as a whole this is not the case. Would Emmanuel allow an openly gay man to lead worship? No. Would Emmanuel allow a person facing pending embezzlement charges lead worship? No. - The person is loved, but the sin is not condoned.

I know many LGTBQ people, and I understand their frustration with the church and with Christianity as a whole. - We are definitely failing in this area. - As for Emmanuel, I believe the organization is heading in the right direction, and as the man that attends every Sunday wearing a dress is loved, the prayer behind the love is that the Holy Spirit would change his internal desires from dressing like a woman, but until then, he will be shown the love of Christ. Just as the members have loved me in the middle of my sins of gambling, the prayer has been that the Holy Spirit would deliver me from that addiction. It was / is the most effective method of reaching those in pain.


Chris

Chris said...

Mike,

Amazing ministry! So happy to hear such great success and such a wonderful program exists!

In regards to accepting SOs in church, I would be a bit more cautious for the sake of the church. - I 100% understand your position about their hearts and their change of lifestyles, and their work ethics and following the rules. - I have no doubt seen that first hand and could not agree more.

Unfortunately, the damage that is caused by a sexual offender is so overwhelming to so many people, that consideration must be made for the overall safety and security of the church. I think your idea of a Sunday night worship service together is excellent! - Some of the best worship services I have ever went to were in prison.

In prison, the chapels are often considered "safe havens" for SOs and so those on the yard that are not SOs will not attend church because they do not want to be affiliated with them. - I had the great privilege of working in the Chaplain's office when I was incarcerated and I received threats on a couple of occasions for my working in the Chaplain's office and associating with the "cho-mos". - I had to make a very difficult decision that even though I was not a SO, by participating in the chapel services, I would be viewed as being their friends. - It was not always easy, but I know it was the right decision for me. - Again, I would never condone their actions, as no one should ever condone my actions, but I still loved them and treated them as friends. - I believe Jesus would do the same. However, I also believe that Jesus would be wise and set tighter boundaries for people that have committed such acts. - I would never expect or even plan to be able to be the church treasurer, no matter how much the Holy Spirit has changed my life.

So again, great comments - great points and great ministries! Caution is not rejection.

Chris

Romycat Black said...

I think I will change my thinking that the LGBTQ are modern day lepers. If sexual offenders are modern day lepers maybe lepers are not a good analogy.

Leprosy is a disease that is no repector of whose tissue it invades.

Pedophilia, sexual crimes and LGBTQ are sin. And sin is chosen. Whether it be conditioned to believe it is ok or not.

Sexual assault is not a disease. It is a crime against another.

Victorious said...

I agree wholeheartedly with your post, Romycat Black. Wise words regarding the poor analogy between lepers and sexual offenders.

Anonymous said...

Off topic but of interest to many.

Complmentarianism is alive and well at NOBTS:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2018/09/21/what-draws-women-religion-that-says-men-should-be-charge/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.d14729d15148&wpisrc=nl_faith&wpmm=1

“God created men and women equal in worth and value, but different in role and function. Different is just different. Different isn’t bad,” teaches Rhonda Kelley, the wife of the seminary’s president and the head of its women’s ministry program. “Our biblically assigned role is to submit to men that God placed in authority over our lives.” She says that women who don’t obey this plan end up dissatisfied with their lives; on her PowerPoint presentation, bold letters describe it as a “sure path to destruction for home and family.”

Christiane said...

Hello Victorious,

Rhonda Kelley's words,
“Our biblically assigned role is to submit to men that God placed in authority over our lives.”

She sounds confused. That Eve would now submit to her husband was a RESULT of 'the Fall', not Christ's remedy for it.



The early Christians gave a much different witness:

From a letter by Tertullian, an Early Church Father, to his wife, ca. 202 A.D.
” How beautiful, then, the marriage of two Christians, two who are one in hope, one in desire, one in the way of life they follow, one in the religion they practice.
They are as brother and sister, both servants of the same Master. Nothing divides them, either in flesh or in Spirit. They are in very truth, two in one flesh; and where there is but one flesh there is also but one spirit.
They pray together, they worship together, they fast together; instructing one another, encouraging one another, strengthening one another.
Side by side they face difficulties and persecution, share their consolations. They have no secrets from one another, they never shun each other’s company; they never bring sorrow to each other’s hearts… Psalms and hymns they sing to one another.
Hearing and seeing this, Christ rejoices. To such as these He gives His peace. Where there are two together, there also He is present, and where He is, there evil is not.”

Romycat Black said...

Is there really a dude in a dress? Well blow me over!

Chris thank you for your posts. If I was anywhere remotely close to that church I might be persuaded to check it out. Which is really safe for me to say considering I am in Canada. But really , your testimony about your church has me really curious. And I might add a teeny tiny glimmer of incredulous hope in this very jaded heart.

The commenter Mike has left me a quite rattled. Although I can understand he sees things from a different perspective , an offenders perspective , I wish he could see it from my perspective. Mine personally.

The repercussions of not attending a regular church pale in comparison to having your teeny tiny baby body invaded.

It pales in comparison to the mind shrinking away in fear everytime a male enters a room in order just to deal with the very presence of a man in my vicinity.

Heart pounding, muscsles tense ready to be assaulted, my mind drifting away just to escape. No where was safe. No school, park, home or church. Pedophiles seem to have a magnet to vulnerable easy targets. The only safe place was a dissociated place in my mind.
And even then thats not safe because those haunting things are there, stuck forever.Imprinted on the brain. No matter how much prayer, how much therapy, how much self talk, how much that internal map on the brain has paved it's way into my everyday life. Things I cannot even control. Reactions to stimuli that seemingly has no relativity at all can ignite a response in fear and a need to flee imediatley takes place.
And yet when I speak of healing and freedom in Christ I am 10 billion times better thanI should be.

So Mike I understand you work and see progress with these men, but I think your view is lopsided. And I wish you could have seen me running under a cover of blankets, fetal position in a therapy room , screaming, banging my fists on the floor wailing in utter fear when another memory of rape sufaced. Be it my 2.5 year old self , my5 yr old self,my 9 yr old self , my 13 year old self, or how about thetime the pastor laid me on the communion table saying 'do this in rememberance of me'. My pastor. I was 11.
Ugly. And Vile.

I wish you could see this.
Sorry not so sorry to be graphic to all the readers but sometimes it has to be said. Im tired of hiding my pain behind vague words and pleasantries so as not to offend the delicate ears. My pain has to be hidden so others don't get pained.

My pain, others pain hidden so an offender can go to church with non offenders? How much do you expect usto endure? Have we not endured enough for many lifetimes?

If those with delicate ears could witness what goes on inside some churches, and inside the lives of some so called Christians they would be weeping in repentance for the body of Christ in it's sinful state.

One day I was cruising FB. I found a post of a friend of mine who is an anglican priest. As I looked through the pictures of his congregation there sat one of my main rapists, father of one of my babies. Just sitting there in church.

I went into complete and utter hysterics.

You see the thought of me being in heaven completely safe from any of my offenders was shattered at that moment. Shattered. I ran around the house wailing that if he was in heaven, send me to hell.

I would rather be sent to eternal damnation than be in heaven with him.

It took weeks to come down mentally from seeing that image. I felt betrayed, abandoned, lied to, and completely broken with grief.

Until I realized like my mother, he was not really repentant. If he was repentant he would have sought me out. He would have exhibited the fruit of repentance. He would have gone to jail rather than sit in the pew with that smug smile.




Victorious said...

Hi Christiane,

My post to Romycat Black referenced the analogy between sexual predators and lepers made by Chris.

But in response to your statement here:
She sounds confused. That Eve would now submit to her husband was a RESULT of 'the Fall', not Christ's remedy for it.

May I ask where you find a scripture commanding or advocating husbands to have authority over their wives? Because if we are using Eve as the culprit in the Fall, I find scripture only referencing Eve's deception as opposed to Adam's willful disobedience. It's totally illogical to assume he merits authority based on his purposeful, knowledgeable disobedience to God's command.

And even if we did erroneously attribute a lifelong submission to Eve using Gen. 3 as our basis, then we must attribute a lifelong agricultural "career" for men...no air-conditioned desk jobs, but only those in the field that cause sweat.

Just my observations of the erroneous and selective literalism by some in the effort to arrive at their desired agenda.

Christiane said...

I don't think there is any evil on this Earth that Our Lord is not an answer for.

But for some who are afflicted in certain ways, and paedophilia is one affliction, I would say that they MUST be kept away from temptation and if for some, that means incarceration, then for them, it is the right thing. My understanding is that this condition cannot be 'cured' in the sense that, if temptation comes, there is much recidivism of the condition and new victims will result. . . . the sad thing is that many paedophiles were themselves of sexual abuse victims as children and suffer accordingly in that way.

The first and fore-most duty of our civilization is the protection of children.

There remains a Christian commitment to minister to people afflicted with paedophilia, and for those who minister to these people, there is a need for both knowledgeable training and for compassion, always remembering the words of Our Lord to be said DAILY:
'and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil'. . . .

for any who knowingly place or encourage paedophiles to return to temptation, they are themselves guilty of contributing to encouraging evil

for those who take on the ministry of paedophiles, it is hoped that they have been conformed to the mind and heart of Christ, and so may be filled with His peace which surpasses all understanding in a situation where many can not serve without contempt . . . there are such people, and they are rare, and they are blessed

Chris said...

Victorious,

Just to clarify. I did not compare lepers to sexual predators.

Chris

Christiane said...

Hello Victorious,

you wrote:

"May I ask where you find a scripture commanding or advocating husbands to have authority over their wives? Because if we are using Eve as the culprit in the Fall, I find scripture only referencing Eve's deception as opposed to Adam's willful disobedience. It's totally illogical to assume he merits authority based on his purposeful, knowledgeable disobedience to God's command."

I think Mrs. Kelley's interpretation of scripture might have seen it that way, but SHE was confused. I am in sync with the teaching that 'either to other' mutual serving of husband and wife is the correct Christian model for marriage. Tertullian's comments portray a marriage where there is mutual love either for other and no male 'domination' over female 'submission' in the way of Mrs. Kelley's understanding and teaching.

If you are interested in a look at my own understanding, I can recommend Section III
of 'Mullieris Dignetatum' for reference. It celebrates the dignity of women as human persons as a Christian model.
http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/apost_letters/1988/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_19880815_mulieris-dignitatem.html

an excerpt from Section III reads: "In the "unity of the two", man and woman are called from the beginning not only to exist "side by side" or "together", but they are also called to exist mutually "one for the other".

This is a far cry from the male dominance of the patriarchal system indeed, as it celebrates 'love' for one another as THE rule God has given for Christian couples to base their marital relationship upon, following the commands of Christ Himself.

Victorious said...

Just to clarify. I did not compare lepers to sexual predators.

My sincere apologies, Chris. Thanks for pointing out my error.

Rex Ray said...

Yes, “There are six things the Lord HATES, yes seven which are an abomination to him”, but none were so bad that God punished these sins with fire from heaven.

Peter warned of this sin in 2nd Peter 2:6: “He turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into heaps of ashes and blotted them off the face of the earth, making them an example for all the UNGODLY in the FUTURE to look back upon and FEAR.” (New Living Translation)

“God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and turned them into heaps of ashes. He made them an example of WHAT WILL HAPPEN to UNGODLY PEOPLE.” (NLT)

A trick of the devil is to make sin funny. One popular TV show had two gay men. When my father was in army anyone found to be gay was discharged, but Obama made it OK in the military for gays to come out of the ‘closet’.

I believe gays may be accepted in ‘MY church’ but NEVER in ‘HIS church’.

Romycat Black said...

That was old testament. Just like in the time of Noah when God wiped out the wicked by flood.
Clearly the New Covenant has something better to offer for Jesus Christ died for those lost in the sin of homosexuality as well as every other sin.

Isn't 2 peter 2: 6 explaining how God rescues the righteous from the unrighteous in times of trouble? Just like back in Lots time in Sodom and Gomorrah?

And like he did with Noah and his family? Seems to be a common theme.

He obviously hated the sins in Noah's time to drown everybody except Noah and his family.

If you are trying to make a statement that God hates it more than other sin then it won't fly with me.

Christiane said...

I know my Church is filled with sinners. And as soon as we walk in to the Church, we are met with a visual reminder of the reality of Jesus Christ and Him Crucified. The best we can say for ourselves will always be 'we are sinners on whom God has looked' . . .

we come to Church with this prayer: 'Jesus Christ, Son, Savior, have mercy on me, a sinner'

I guess our view of Christ is that He is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, God, the Giver of Life..... and through Him, with Him, and in Him, there is healing and peace for wounded souls.
His Church will always be a hospital that welcomes those who are 'lost, and bewildered, and without a shepherd'

I always loved this advice from Ambrose who counseled ministers in the early Church:

""“For he who endeavours to amend the faults of human weakness ought to bear this very weakness on his own shoulders, let it weigh upon himself, not cast it off.
For we read that the Shepherd in the Gospel (Luke 15:5) carried the weary sheep, and did not cast it off.

And Solomon says: “Be not overmuch righteous;” (Ecclesiastes 7:17) for restraint should temper righteousness.

For how shall he offer himself to you for healing whom you despise, who thinks that he will be an object of contempt, not of compassion, to his physician?

Therefore had the Lord Jesus compassion upon us in order to call us to Himself, not frighten us away. He came in meekness, He came in humility, and so He said:
“Come unto Me, all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.” (Matthew 11:28)
So, then, the Lord Jesus refreshes, and does not shut out nor cast off, and fitly chose such disciples as should be interpreters of the Lord’s will, as should gather together and not drive away the people of God.

Whence it is clear that they are not to be counted among the disciples of Christ, who think that harsh and proud opinions should be followed rather than such as are gentle and meek;
persons who, while they themselves seek God’s mercy, deny it to others . . .”

(St. Ambrose (340-379 A.D.), a Father and Doctor of the Church)










Romycat Black said...

Ezekiel 16:49-50 now this was the sin of your sister Sodom, she and her daughters were arrogant , overfed and unconcerned. They did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did destestable things before me...."

My comment is there is a common word here that God says he specifically hates in Proverbs 6..that word is haughty. That is the same word spoken of in Ezekiel..

Then there is the word Detestable, meaning repugnant, loathesome.describing other sin..but I cannot specifically find a verse that states he hates homosexuality specifically.

Not in the same way the Bible states God hates, haughty eyes, lying tonge, false witness, feet rushing to evil,a person who stirs up conflict,hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicket schemes.

All of these things are wicked. And obviously God's not happy about them.

My whole point is the Bible clearly is more vague on homosexuality in terms of it not being in the forefront of the most evil thing and certainly doesn't need to be called out in the way the church seems to think it should be.

If anything is clear God hates haughty eyes, or hautiness. So why does the church spend more time worrying about that one?

I think it is a big deal. Haughtiness or pride is certainly bad look what happened to Satan.

Victorious said...

Romycat Black,

I don't know how long you have been a believer, but as one who has been a Christian for about 45 years, I can assure you of this.... By magnifying some sins, we take the focus off others. Those which best deflect from the ones we'd rather not talk about are...homosexuality, abortion, and...and...wait for it....WOMEN!

/sarcasm

Rex Ray said...

Romycat Black,

You said, “I could not sit in church with a previous pedophile.” I feel somewhat about homosexuals.

I never knew what one was until I was ‘attacked’ by one. That encounter could not compare to your experience in a thousand years.

I believe they would rather have sex with someone ‘straight’ than with one of their own.

I was a freshman in college going home for Christmas. I had to switch buses at mid-night and wait six hours to catch the next one. This guy started talking and sounded nice. Said he had plenty of room in a hotel nearby, and I could sleep there instead of a chair. His “plenty of room” was one bed, but I wasn’t alarmed as I had slept with my twin brother all my life. It wasn’t five minutes until he was on top of me telling how much he loved me.

Romycat, the difference between your pedophile and the guy; I was larger than him.

P.S.
I learned tonight my brother became non-responsive. A hospital found blood on his brain. Please pray for him.

Christiane said...

Hey REX RAY,
I'll keep vigil prayer for your brother tonight. I know you are worried. You are included in the prayers.

Romycat Black said...

Oh, I'm very sorry about that attack and your brother. I will pray for you in your dealings with such news and for your brother and his medical team.

Victorious said...

Oh my!! I must ask forgiveness from everyone here, but especially Romycat Black! I hadn't read the horrible experiences in the post of Sept. 25. That makes my sarcastic remark above not only insulting, but embarrassing.

I'm going to refrain from posting anywhere on internet today for the well-being of everyone with whom I might come in contact with... It will be a "read-only" day for me. Again, my apologies for my comment.

Rex Ray said...

Doctors dissolved the blood. He is alert and talking. Praise God.

Christiane said...

Thank God! Good news, Rex Ray, good news.

Romycat Black said...

Victorious!

Don't worry. Your comment went over my head. Sarcasm or not, I have read it and took no offence.

I forgive you fully and entirely. Post all you want, no penance required.

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