In a Sunday sermon a pastor had mentioned about some people who came to church as “fault-finders” and “bible-policemen”, and that these people should not be in church, occupying the seats.
Should a church deride those who disagree and differ instead of addressing the issues raised. The church of Christ is a church with ears and without walls; it is not a church without ears and with walls. It is because people care, and are not ignorant or complacent that they give feedback or critique. We should be delighted when the members of the body function accordingly, taking ownership of the body, and exercising the gifts and responsibility to protect (Heb 3:13) and perfect (Heb 10:24,25) one another. Noble saints searched the scriptures to verify the word delivered should be commended rather than censured (Acts 17:11)
The statements were unexpected and disturbing, coming from a beloved pastor whom I am proud of, and known for his giftings, soundness and even-handedness. Isn’t the church open to all, except probably those who are adamantly antiChrist. “Fault-finders” and “Bible-policemen” should not be persona-non-grata.
Two words flashed through my mind – ‘prejudice’ and ‘presumption’. Both allude to the negative motives of those labelled as ‘fault-finders’ and ‘bible-policemen’.
Personally, I would like to think of all who come for Sunday services assemble with other believers to worship and to listen to the preaching of God’s word. And there would be not a few who would be ‘Bereans’ (Acts 17:11). Scriptures clearly exhort us to uphold sound doctrine and contend for the truth. Indeed believers who love Jesus and the church are to be bible-policemen. It would be fault-finding in a positive way if indeed there are issues of distortion of scriptures or deceivers and devourers – wolves in sheep’s clothing. People within Christ’s community would be the best mirror and sounding board to protect and perfect one another.
Admittedly, there would also be fault-finding from distractors and dissentors, without any ownership of the shared community. However, even for this latter group, it would be opportunity to defend polemically or apologetically (1Pet 2:23; 3:15) teaching aptly, correcting opponents with gentleness (2 Tim 2:24,25) and teach sound doctrine (Tit 1:9), especially when they placed themselves as captive audience!
In the first place, could I presume that I am correct in all my teaching? Or have I pre-judged and attributed evil motives to those who commented and critiqued, or even criticised? This description flashed through my mind – Big head and small heart. Sorry, I am being opinionated, and likely even judgmental. But I want to be a ‘Berean’. A few days later, I sat beside a foreign domestic helper (there are many who attend this church). When she commented that the pastor should not have said such things in the service, a brother added that even a ‘simple’ and ‘not so educated’ domestic helper disapprove of the pastor’s position.
I am reminded of what Frank Viola wrote on :
Living with the saints in heaven will be glory; living with the saints on earth is another story.
To dwell above with saints we love ‘tis grace and glory; to dwell below with saints we know . . . that’s another story. Thus whenever your ego is touched, whenever your pride is exposed, whenever your weaknesses are pointed out, the cross is ready to do its deep work.”
Scratch a Christian and you’ll find out what’s underneath.
Coincidently, a blog post came in my email – a blog along the same subjective gut reaction to comments –
“In political parlance there is often talk of someone playing the “race card” to shut down conversation. A person is convicted of some crime and there is discussion about what the penalty should be. Then the “race card” is played: the charge is made that the person is only being prosecuted because of their race. Immediately all discussion must be stopped, or it must revolve around whether or not racial bias is in play. Whether or not the person is guilty or should be charged is moot from that point on: when the “race card” is played, it’s all about race. Discussion is effectively over when the “race card” is on the table; it is the nuclear bomb of rational discussion.”
“I’m noticing the same thing in regards to the discussion on xxxxxx, but in his case it’s the “jealousy card” that is being played by his supporters. Don’t know if you read the comments in regard to my IWJO post, but someone posted the charge that I’m just sadly, sinfully jealous. Ironically, I didn’t even question (him) or his teaching in that comment or in my previous comment. Yet, some (supporters) felt it necessary to come to my humble blog and condemn me for being sinfully jealous of the man.”
Labels are mischievous. ‘Bible policemen’, ‘fault-finders’, ‘race card’, ‘jealousy card’