Your Sunday Thought…
A Convenient Truth (Part One) and (Part Two)
A convenient truth is a belief, concept or statement to which everyone says “Amen”, but in fact runs contrary to Bible doctrine. Some people are unaware of the Biblical truth and this is not unusual since most of us are unaware of certain portions of the Bible; no one knows it all. Others know better, but find it expedient to go along with the moment. The erroneous statement is voted into law by unanimous voices and some poor soul, most often a babe in Christ who’s trying to find his or her way, bolts off on their life’s journey with a spiritual lie in tow.
This is very harmful to the Kingdom because somewhere down the line, the convenient true and the real true are going to bump heads. This usually results in a damaged relationship between church members or in extreme cases, a church splitting up with both sides going their separate ways. In general, though only God can see the heart, members from both sides have accepted Christ and are on their way to heaven. But bad teaching has created havoc among these spiritual practitioners here on earth.
Some bad teaching is easy to spot:
“Ask and it shall be given…” — As we mature in our Christian walk, we come to realize that God doesn’t give us EVERYTHING we ask for. Sometimes He’s protecting me from me.
“Hate thy mother and thy father…” — No, God is not telling you to hate your mama.
“For He will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble…” — We come to realize that sometimes, the hedge comes down and Satan moves in to cause major damage, sometimes irreparable, irrevocable damage that only God’s grace is sufficient for us to endure. Ask Job who was covered with boils from head to toe. Ask the early Christians who were eaten by lions. Ask John the Baptist who was thrown in prison and had his head cut off. Sometimes it’s hard to swallow the fact that evil enjoys temporary victories. The Bible lets us know we win in the end. But as we speak, ISIS is searching for Christians and cutting their heads off.
But what about the bad teaching that is NOT so easy to spot:
This is hypothetical. But what if someone stands up and says, “I saw my neighbor and his family prowling around in the garbage cans looking for food. I pulled my Escalade off the road and started praying for them right then and there that God would intervene and deal with that situation.”
Of course, somebody’s going to say, “Amen!” But YOU know better. God has commanded us in His Word to help the poor and downtrodden. He has placed this situation in front of the person so they (His Godly representative on earth) will lend a helping hand. This is that person’s call to action. Instead, they are sidestepping the issue and seeking credit for being a great prayer warrior.
It’s an ongoing trouble spot. But in order to understand how convenient truths facilitate the church split, we have to dig much deeper.
We all know about the church split. Here’s a recent example:
Most of us remember the debacle at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta with Bishop Eddie Long and the young boys, where half the church wanted to keep him and the other half wanted to let him go. And of course, who can forget the financial scandal involving Reverend Lyons, president of the National Baptist Convention, who embezzled millions and ended up going to prison.
The natural inclination is to believe the issue at hand is the problem. Sometimes the issue has to do with finance or authority or church procedure. Satan uses many snares to pull us off track. But because, most often, the issue is with the pastor, that will be my focus today.
Here’s the first convenient truth:
“A Christian shouldn’t talk about church scandals. It creates divisiveness and promotes gossip.” — This statement is very problematic. The distortion begins with the misinterpretation of the word scandal. Scandal means a moral or legal action that causes damage, dishonor and/or disgrace. By definition, Korah’s confrontation with Moses was a scandal. Judas Iscariot betrayal of Jesus was a scandal. Peter, a man of God, cursing everyone out in public was a scandal. Jesus, sitting and eating with tax collectors, publicans and sinners was a scandal.
The Bible clearly talks about scandals. But if we were to restrict our discussions to the convenient truth of divisiveness and gossip, we would be unable to do the very thing the Bible does.
In this case, it is not a sin to talk about it. What’s important here is the intent. If, in talking about it, we intend to cast aspersions upon a fellow Christian or scandalize their name, this is considered a form of murder, that is to say, murdering a person’s character. If the discussion is intended to identify the problem and restore the person as we seek future solutions, then we “should” talk about. We should talk about it until we find ways to root out the problem and create an environment that does not facilitate its re-occurrence.
Here’s the second convenient truth:
“Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.” – Sometimes this is referred to as “Don’t touch the head of thy anointed”. —
This Old Testament Scripture in Psalm 105 has been used out of context over and over again to suggest only God can deal with the pastor. This is sooooo incorrect. This Scripture points to a time when evil rulers were killing the prophets of God. The Bible was warning against this continued slaughter. Over the years, however, some preachers have used this to declare themselves above scrutiny or correction. They will tell you they only answer to God.
Let’s examine this for a moment and then I’ll be through.
In his letter to the Ephesians (Ephesians 4), the Apostle Paul describes the Offices of the Kingdom of God. These are referred to as the five-fold ministry:
I could write another full article about these offices. But the point is they are all offices, held by different Christians with different gifts and different callings. These are in essence people — brothers and sisters — holding offices in the Kingdom of God.
Nothing in the Bible states that these people must be perfect. No one is perfect but Jesus. This implies that there is the possibility, probability even, that at some point, these imperfect people will fall short of God’s glory. They will sin. God knew they would sin.
And so in His Word, He established a spiritual procedure for correction.
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.
2 Thessalonians 3:15
Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.
If your brother sins against you, go and confront him privately. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’
There are maybe ten more correction Scriptures just like these.
Now we’ve come full circle. A convenient truth is the notion that only God can correct the pastor. The real truth is that anyone holding an office in the Kingdom of God can be corrected by God’s people (you who are spiritual). It did not say you who are perfect. Again, we all have faults. This does not recuse us from correcting another brother or sister in love, using the procedure that God has outlined.
Notice the Scripture did NOT say correct everyone except the pastor. His or her office is not exempt.
Now you can see why many church splits could to be avoided. They have nothing to do with the issue at hand, but rather, the incorrect teaching before the incident occurred. We, as Christians, can be on one accord about the solution if we are on one accord about the applicable Biblical doctrine before the issue occurs.
A convenient truth will always come back to haunt us. Let us study to show ourselves approved, and rely on God’s Word, the absolute, abounding, real truth, to show us the way.
-Leander Jackie Grogan –
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