Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The New Witch Hunts

Hello All,

I have to admit that I have teetered on the edge of irritation lately at the plethora of websites and ministries designed to warn Christians about other Christians. The Calvinists are warning us about the Charismatics, who are worried about the Pentecostals, who would like you to beware of the Emerging Church! Enough already!

Let me say, that there are churches out there that I would never attend or recommend. But any church beside Kingsfield Church, or to some extent, the Packinghouse, is outside of the realm of my concern. All other churches are Pastored by men, led by boards that must answer to the Lord. I know that Kingsfield must answer to the Lord for her stewardship of the gifts that have been committed to her. I will concern myself with making sure that we are responsible toward that end. Thankfully, I am part of a Pastoral staff that I feel very comfortable serving with. I sleep well each night! But I also sleep well, knowing that other churches and what they teach or espouse are not a part of my concern.

Now, I realize Biblically that we are often warned to beware of false teachers. If you would like a few verses, check these out: 2 Peter 2:1, Matthew 7:15, I John 4:1 and the entire book of Jude. Some of these discernment ministries would site these verses as a justification for their behavior. However, I feel that it's contextually important to note that the culture of the first century church was radically different from our culture today, in that, church gatherings were much smaller, and itinerant preachers would often come into town, asking the churches to allow them to address the local congregation. Many congregations, lacking discernment, would be taken advantage of. That is why there is instruction throughout the New Testament regarding letters of authenticity and delegates from various authorities and a strong emphasis in certain epistles on being aware of false teachers.

Today, churches rarely allow itinerate preachers into the pulpit that they do not know personally. Most of the time, the Pastor of the church or the visiting Pastor is well known, and has over time revealed himself to be Biblically sound and likeminded. So what did Paul or any of the New Testament writers intend? What I do not believe Paul or the writers of the New Testament intended to provoke, was the investigative, almost gossip column, style of journalism which seems to be the earmark of these sensationalized sites.

I believe that the writers of the New Testament want us to know what we believe and why we believe it. Paul sums it up best when he wrote to his protege Timothy.

"Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you."
I Timothy 4:16

I pray that we as Christians, would be wise and discerning, with regard to what we believe, in the church where God has placed us. When you hear a story about this church or that church, can we begin to say, "I'm really not interested. That is (fill in the name of the Pastor/Church)'s responsibility before the Lord. I will pray that they are responsive to the Lord." What a difference this would make in our hope to be united with our brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Now, all that being said, I believe that I need to apologize to anyone that has ever heard me speak derisively toward any other church or movement. It's simply not my business and I for one, do not want to be a party toward that kind of spirit.

Finally, I did want to see if I could find a decent description of what the authors of the New Testament meant when they made reference to false teachers or prophets. I remember hearing somewhere that there was some extant document that detailed how to discern a wolf in sheep's clothing. If I find it, I'll post it. However, I found this document that might be just as good. It was written by Thomas Brooks, who was a puritan who lived in the 1600's. If you are interested, you can check it out here.

I'll probably post a few excerpts, but the whole article is a bit much to post. Plus, I'm already pretty verbose!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

5 comments:

aimee walnofer said...

I must confess, Frank, I lacked your sense of outrage over your last post. I don't quite see the havoc being wrought on our society due to Daylight Savings Time. :) This topic, however, stands out. I think it's our natural human tendency to badmouth things which are a little (or a lot) different than us in order to remind ourselves that we are "right" and "okay". It's yet another example of how self centered we are. Thank God that He has saved us from ourselves...again and again and again.

Frank & Lela said...

Aimee!

Wow, thanks for chimining in!

First of all, DST is just plain evil! Just take my word for it!

Second, you said it best. It seems it's a natural insecurity that we all have, to compare ourselves with other Christians. I agree that if not for God's grace...well, let's just be thankful for grace!

Third, please tell Jeff that I am working on a mix of a few tunes from various Sundays that I can get to him in the next few weeks. Time has been a little funny over the last two weeks, and next week will continue, but that next week, should allow for some time to get him some Kingsfield Worship.

Thanks for writing in.

Blessings,
F.S.

aimee walnofer said...

Jeff's excited about the Kingsfield worship, Frank. Thanks for thinking of him.

Chad Gloetzner said...

Frank,

I enjoyed your view on the "witch hunt"...and DST.

I have been feeling the same way...about the witch hunt. I think we tend to judge to quickly sometimes without getting the full story. It is important to know what others are doing within the name of Christianity and the church, but evaluating our own walks with Christ is even more important.

God bless,

Chad

Frank & Lela said...

Chad,

Amen brother!!