Women preaching equated with adultery and homosexuality

Women preaching equated with adultery and homosexuality

Wade Burleson has commented on Irving Bible Church’s decision to allow women to preach the gospel to the congregation on a Sunday morning and the attacks that this church has experienced because of this decision.  Wade writes:

I shiver when I hear my fellow evangelicals call a church that asks a woman to preach the gospel on Sunday morning a church of “grave moral concern.” WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT FEMALE PASTORS!

The idea that a woman teaching or preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ is a “grave moral concern” shows us how far the church has fallen from the place of accepting one another as brothers and sisters in Christ who have gifts given for the benefit of “one another”.  Is not the “grave moral concern” rather an issue of saying that “I” (a man speaking) do not need “a woman” teacher?

1 Corinthians 12:21  And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”

Why is it that scripture says we “cannot say” something that we do say?  The scripture says that we do not have permission to say that women preachers and women teachers are not needed by some in the body of Christ.  When we reject God’s gifts merely because of the package that they are housed in, we are rejecting the Lord Jesus in this area.  Jesus is responsible for assigning the gifts.  If he did not want a female to teach a male the gospel, then Jesus should have created a list of female gifts which list would not include teaching.  Then it would be easy for men to disregard something that doesn’t exist.  When are we going to stop saying what scripture has forbidden us to say?  Saying “I” do not need you and your God-given gift should be treated as a serious moral concern.

37 thoughts on “Women preaching equated with adultery and homosexuality

  1. What about the grave moral concern we should all have for those who crave power and refuse to humble themselves, who slander fellow believers, who beat their fellow servants? What about organizations like CBMW who teach male entitlement, then like Adam covering his nakedness, write book after book to explain away the implications of that teaching?

    Pride in the flesh is not a Christian virtue! We should issue our own proclamations of “grave moral concern” for the sorry state of Christendumb. The “churches” are asleep, dead, bland, and apostate. Not because of women, but because of sin: pride in the flesh, failure to discern and test the spirits (i.e., failure to guard!), compromise with other religions, desire to dominate.

    CBMW should be ashamed of themselves.

  2. There have also been mentions of this being a ‘virus’ and allowing Satan into the church. It really is incredible. It is as if Satan has found the perfect secondary doctrine to keep half of all Christians from proclaiming Christ and teaching scripture to anyone regardless of gender. And this misinterpretation of scripture is causing so many men and women to sin with pride and wanting to lord it over others.

    I know nothing about IBC or even if they preach the primary gospel correctly or not. But, I am amazed they studied this for so long and did not see that women could be elders, too. Perhaps one step at a time?

    Reading around the blogosphere, I am amazed at how many arguments that say scrpture teaches that women cannot teach men is based more on the ‘institutionalizing’ of the church. I have only started really seeing this for what it is. And the entire premise is wrong.

    We see the word ‘office’ used a lot in these arguments and is not even in the Greek!. We see the words like ‘local church’, which could mean Lydia’s house in scripture, used to describe the institution/building we go to every Sunday with full time ‘clergy’  and a pulpit. Or they argue that what Priscilla did with Aquila is ok because they were not at ‘church’. This is the type of interpretation that makes Phoebe a mail woman instead of a minister (diakonos) and Junia a man! And that fact that women cannot be pastors when pastor is only mentioned once in scripture as a spiritual gift! Or that women cannot be elders but single men can!~

    They are determined to live out and teach the consequence of sin from Genesis 3 as biblical. It is shattering to the Body and a diversion from proclaiming the Good News to everyone regardless of gender.

  3. I see it as an attempt to establish a Magisterium by CBMW on the “women” verses.  They are trying to claim that THEIR way of interpreting those verses are THE way of interpreting them.

    And if you disagree with CBMW, then SHAME on you, literally.  The tactics of fear are in CBMW’s playbook.  The question is from where did they get those tactics?

    We should pray for them.

  4. I just sent CBMW an email
    —————————–

    Hi CBMW,

    In your recent blog post on IBC you wrote:

    “It is a question of whether we deny or affirm the plain teachings of God’s holy Word.”

    I do not know how you can make this claim and still publish paper after paper about the supposed “plain” teaching.

    I am sure you know the meaning of some verses on women are disputed and believers have different understandings on some of then.

    Are you now claiming to be an infallible interpreter of God’s word?

  5. Ooo, boy!

    Nothing like a little “in your face” to get someone’s attention. But I’m wondering if they’ll just ignore you.

  6. Paula #6,

    So long as salaries are paid, papers get published, books get sold, and aspiring clergy cough up the tuition to their academic institutions, I don’t think they really care what nobodies (hyperbole) like us have to say.

    Some would argue that my comment here smacks of a soulless cynicism found only in the world of secular politics, and I would agree that on the one hand it does.  But on the other hand, If I were in their shoes (CBMW) and wanted business to continue as usual, I would view it simply as a pragmatic reality.  If it’s just a few grumbling serfs, who cares?

  7. Absolutely right, Greg. The “church”, the world… it’s all about power, money, and prestige. Cynical but true. Being “positive” in such a time is sheer denial.

  8. NOt a bad idea, Don. As a matter of fact, I am impressed with their approach to the whole issue. I hope they continue to study.

  9. It seems to me that some who embrace the term “complementarian” are beginning to lean toward the idea that being complementarian is necessary for salvation.  The logic . . . If you aren’t complementarian (if you don’t agree with me), then you cannot be a believer.

    Isn’t such narrowness one of the defining characteristics of cultism?  I’m not saying that complementarian is a cult; however, when we begin to limit who is and who isn’t our brother or sister based on whether or not they agree with us on all points of doctrine, we are walking outside of love and into a dangerous place, IMOO.

  10. I am wondering how blind the church can be when they equate a “grave moral concern” with the preaching of the gospel and women’s desire to use their gifts for the benefit of all as “Satan coming into the church.”

    It seems to me that it is a concern for those who want to hold on tightly to a privileged position.  Why else would men fight so hard to keep women from using their gifts when scripture does not equate exercising our gifts with sin?  When men try to decide who gets to use their gifts for the common good and who doesn’t, isn’t this usurping God’s authority?

  11. Don,
    I have been thinking about our responsibilities as a watchman when no one wants to listen to our warning.  How far are we to push someone who refuses to listen?  I have just been through that and so it is heavy on my mind right now.  I think I will do a post on it to address my concerns.

  12. Robin,
    One the marks of a cult is the narrowing of the doctrine.  Differences of opinion is not accepted.  When denominations major on the minor points of doctrine and use these minors to divide from other believers they have crossed over the line of a healthy church.  There are several things that we are required to do as believers.  We must forgive our brother when he asks us for forgiveness and we must also love our brother.  It is very difficult to love another believer when you are dividing from them on a secondary issue of faith.

    I recently asked another believer who was dividing over a secondary issue if there was anything good about me and if I was considered to be his sister in Christ.  This person had not one good thing to say about me and as far as whether I was a sister in Christ, they said they couldn’t read my heart.  If reading someone’s heart was necessary then we couldn’t know that anyone was a Christian.  Since we believe the same on all the major doctrines of faith there should be no question whether I am a sister in Christ. Yet there is blindness when it comes to a secondary doctrine that must be protected at all costs.  The heavy cost is that of separating from other believers and treating our brethren in Christ with disdain.

  13. Lin said:

    They are determined to live out and teach the consequence of sin from Genesis 3 as biblical. It is shattering to the Body and a diversion from proclaiming the Good News to everyone regardless of gender.

    The teaching about “biblical” manhood and “biblical” womanhood is not found as a spiritual discipline in scripture.  We are all to live like Jesus and he is the example for both men and women.   

  14. I have been thinking about our responsibilities as a watchman when no one wants to listen to our warning. How far are we to push someone who refuses to listen? I have just been through that and so it is heavy on my mind right now. I think I will do a post on it to address my concerns.

    I think you broadcast your message, try to reach out, and then reluctantly “hand them over to Satan”. We are not to pursue the rebellious forever.

    I’ve been in a lot of boards where people just are completely unwilling to concede that others can have a different view on non-essentials. They create blogs just to bash “fundies” who stupidly cling to the Bible as if it were the very words of God (!?!). They are very condescending and think whoever doesn’t agree is hostile and ignorant, and with mock concern say they’ll pray for our eyes to be opened. Eventually you just have to hand them over and walk away.

    The longest I ever stayed in a hostile place was three years, but I didn’t go until I felt released by God. I literally felt as though I were living in a mosquito-infested swamp all that time. Much New Age, paganism, atheism, and even Nazis! One pathetic atheist even started a blog just to mock me. Even a year after I had been out of that board, I stumbled upon his blog and saw that the poor soul was still posting rage against something I had written 18 months before!

    But when God tells you to go, it’s not wise to look back. The pull can be strong, because we genuinely want to see people right with God. We never want to give up. But for the sake of those “handed over”, we must leave them.

  15. Don,
    I also agree that we need to pray for people who do not agree with us on this secondary issue.  We do not do a very good job as the work of the Holy Spirit.  Our job is to rightly divide the word of God and the Holy Spirit’s job is to convict.

  16. Paula,
    I agree with you about not looking back.  But I could not imagine myself handing someone over to Satan.

    Paul had a real struggle with Alexander the coppersmith.  It appears that this Alexander was an apostate since he was teaching that the resurrection had already happened.  This was an issue not of a secondary doctrine but a primary one.

    2 Timothy 4:14  Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.
    2 Timothy 4:15  Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching.

    Those who oppose sound doctrine and oppose us should be avoided.  However I don’t know of anywhere in scripture where we would hand someone over to Satan because they disagree with us on  the secondary issues of faith.  If they are mean to us and nasty, we will probably come to the point where we avoid them altogether and just pray for them.  God has done miracle before and changed people’s hearts.  If I see someone who is particularly nasty and has a mocking spirit I tend to not want to engage them in a dialog.  Those who think that mocking is a spiritual gift are deceived.

  17. My understanding of “hand over to satan” meant Paul had him disfellowshipped and he was now in the pagan world where satan ruled.  It is a dramatic use of words, that is for sure.

  18. ‘My understanding of “hand over to satan” meant Paul had him disfellowshipped and he was now in the pagan world where satan ruled.  It is a dramatic use of words, that is for sure.’

    This is my understanding also.

    In fact abuse was so high in 3 different relationships for me (one in particular that is most important) that I had no choice but to cut the people off and have them put in the ‘out’. Within a flash each were. 

    Regarding one of the three, after months had passed I had to restore the person. As fast as they were put ‘out’ they were restored back in. I had no doubt that these ‘cut off’s’ were necessary.

    There’s more power and authority (not the comp kind) that we have that many don’t even know we have, by faith and I’m talking about the real kind, the kind that could cause fear in reaction.

    It has been my experience that I have this at my request, but I never take advantage of it, and try to go other routes and only use this when there are no other options.

  19. 1 Timothy 1:19-20 
    holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.

    The interlinear tells me that it is The Faith that these men were ruining, not individual people’s faith. They were turning people away. And I don’t believe Paul would turn unbelievers over to be taught a lesson. So these are believers who are turning others away from The Faith.

    I believe your stalkers are in this category. They are turning the lost away and injuring the faith of the weak; they give Christianity a bad name. They need to be taught a lesson!

    Or look at the man Paul wrote about in 1 Cor., who was living with his step-mother. He was thrown out and handed over to Satan. Later, in 2 Cor., Paul instructed the people to reinstate the man because he had repented. Surely this man was a believer.

  20. Paula,

    You said:

    I believe your stalkers are in this category. They are turning the lost away and injuring the faith of the weak; they give Christianity a bad name. They need to be taught a lesson!

    This is certainly my concern that the ones who have been stalking are giving Christianity a bad name by their unloving actions to both Christians and non-Christians alike.  If God can use Satan for this purpose (and certainly Satan is under the sovereignty of God because Satan has no power over a Christian except what God gives him) then so be it.

  21. “This person had not one good thing to say about me and as far as whether I was a sister in Christ, they said they couldn’t read my heart.  If reading someone’s heart was necessary then we couldn’t know that anyone was a Christian. This person had not one good thing to say about me and as far as whether I was a sister in Christ, they said they couldn’t read my heart.  If reading someone’s heart was necessary then we couldn’t know that anyone was a Christian. ”

    I am tired of all this ‘I can’t see your heart’ business. What a subtle misuse of scripture that is everywhere!  People are buying into this nonsense everywhere.

    What comes out of the heart is fruit. And we are told that a good tree cannot produce bad fruit. Fruit trees have seasons and season after season a good tree will produce good fruit.

    This was just a way for this person to not have to admit you have good fruit and that good fruit was in attempting to reconcile in love and faith.

    If a professing Christian is angry, hateful, viscious on a consistent basis (even secretly hiding behind others) and willfully sinning knowing the truth then that is bad fruit. Where does that come from? The heart.

  22. “T”he interlinear tells me that it is The Faith that these men were ruining, not individual people’s faith. They were turning people away. And I don’t believe Paul would turn unbelievers over to be taught a lesson. So these are believers who are turning others away from The Faith.”

    I have a lot of questions about this because of my experiences. The worst abuse I have ever experienced in many forms was from professing Christians. Pastors, elders and leaders in Christendom. People that very few would ever question. And so important and isolated that only a few would ever see the moral emptiness, unethical and abusive behavior. Most who do see it, rationalize it as they are great men with ‘human failings’ or they ignore it for the sake of a large paycheck.

    I no longer believe that people can walk in darkness and be saved. I no longer believe in ‘carnal Christians’ and think that passage is misunderstood. I do not believe in sinless perfection but I do believe a true follower of Christ is in continual repentance and growing in Holiness even if it is two steps forward and 3 steps back. It is obvious over a short time they are seeking to please God.

    So, when I witness such things and am a victim of such people I am in a quandry. Their walk in darkness is ‘hidden’ from the public (lots of celebrity christians these days who are very isolated and image conscious) and covered up by loyal followers who gain from their association. 

    I really do not think they are truly saved or they could not live with themselves and continue as unrepentant. They would have some godly sorrow and public repentance or step down from their position or SOMETHING.  Eternity is riding on this. 

    So in the above quote, when it says ‘Blaspheme’ what does it mean? Behavior toward other Christians or false teaching? Many of the abusers I knew in Christendom were not public false teachers they were private spiritual abusers.

    I really do believe that most of Christendom today has dumbed down what it truly means to follow Christ. Most do not have a clue as I did not have a clue for many years. They have made up their own religion (as I did, too) and think their man made titles and ministries give them a free pass to the line for heaven. 

  23. Lin, What I base this on is Heb. 12:7-8:

    Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate children at all.

    Would God discipline children who are not his? I don’t believe he would. So if God disciplines someone, they must belong to him. Therefore, since Hym and Alex were handed over to Satan for the purpose of discipline (being taught a lesson), then they must have been believers.

    I also base it on the very carnal Christians in Corinth. Paul strongly reprimanded them for their immaturity, which was characterized by wallowing in sin, factions, and being easily led astray. The Galatians had turned back to legalism and ritual.

    So there can be carnal Christians; the question is, where does carnal leave off and lost begin? We simply can’t always know. But anyone who seems to have a firm conviction that Jesus is God in the flesh, who died and rose again, and trusts Him completely for salvation, yet “has no works” (Rom. 4:5), will have to be considered saved. It’s the confession of faith that we have to go on.

    If all believers are to have a minimum degree of works, where is the line drawn? What do the NT writers tell us?

    Now for Christian leaders, that’s a different ballgame. James says “we who teach will be judged more strictly” (3:1). Paul spelled out the qualifications for leaders, and surely they above all should exhibit the fruit of the spirit. They are to be examples and role models, tested and approved. 1 Tim. 5:19-21 says,

    Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning. I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.

    So I would say that sinning leaders should be divested of any positions they may hold and put under the leadership of teachers who walk in the Spirit and “rightly divide the Word”.

    Personally, I believe scripture teaches against “eternal insecurity”. From there I have to conclude that anyone who appeared to have been a believer and then wallows in sin openly and willingly without repentance was never saved in the first place. Knowing what a shallow, feel-good “gospel” has been preached for many decades now, if not centuries, I have no doubt that many who play the church game have never actually accepted Jesus according to scripture.

    But here’s the bottom line: Regardless of our theories, we must always expect believers to display growth, to increase in holiness. Those who don’t must be lovingly corrected, and those who refuse correction must be expelled from fellowship. Their eternal fate is known only to them and God, but we can only judge by confession and expel on the basis of rebellion. We must not look up to people who show their immaturity by wallowing in sin, or lacking love, or playing little gods over others. The issue is leadership and fellowship. We are not God and cannot go beyond what we can see and hear. Fellowship is not to be accepted from those who walk in sin, and leaders are to be held to a much stricter standard than followers.

    I too cannot fathom walking in sin while claiming Christ. But I am not qualified to pronounce judgment on someone who claims the true gospel as a personal conviction. Spiritual infants are alive but cannot be expected to show maturity. If they never grow, something is terribly wrong, and it is the responsibility of the mature to see to it that they are properly guided. The churches have failed miserably in this regard. Yet if anyone refuses instruction and loves their sin, they must be disfellowshipped.

    Regarding the word transliterated “blaspheme”, the meaning is to speak false testimony, to slander. The two Paul was writing about were lying about others.

    Anyway, that’s all just how I see it.

  24. John 8:12
    12When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

    Matt 15:18
    18But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.

  25. There is the light of the world who is Jesus and the light of life which is what followers of Jesus have, and if one walks in darkness they cannot see when doing this and when one walks in or practices sin they are rebelling against God. Those who walk in darkness cannot see and they practice sin which is their way of life because they do not have the light of life.

  26. “So there can be carnal Christians; the question is, where does carnal leave off and lost begin? We simply can’t always know. But anyone who seems to have a firm conviction that Jesus is God in the flesh, who died and rose again, and trusts Him completely for salvation, yet “has no works” (Rom. 4:5), will have to be considered saved. It’s the confession of faith that we have to go on.”

    Carnal means flesh and 1 John would seem to teach that one cannot continue to walk in the flesh unrepentant  and consider themselves to be saved.  (I am not judging here, this stuff saved me!) 

    James 2

    What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
    18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by myworks. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?v

    What about this passage in 1 John 5:
    14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
    16 If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. 17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death.

    Notice he calls this person a ‘brother’. What is a sin that leads to death?

    But what about Matthew 18 process of confronting a brother who sins against you. The ‘brother’ is a professing believer and refuses to repent or even admit wrong doing.  But then this person is NOT disciplined by the church. (this is happening all over the place). What then?

    These are hard questions. But for the most part, common sense tells us that those who have been professing Christ for many years will tend to  live more ‘Christian’ than not.

  27. The whole debate on faith and works would seriously distract this thread, so if you want I can try to look up my docs on that topic and post some links.

    Re. “sin that leads to death”, remember that Paul told the Corinthians that some of them had died prematurely due to improper attitudes toward the Lord’s supper. He wasn’t calling them lost, only that their physical lives were cut short because of their sin.

    Re. common sense, I agree. But it depends upon proper spiritual upbringing. New believers are left to themselves for the most part, and they aren’t fed proper spiritual meat. They are worldly because they don’t know any better. While a few are self-taught and get into the Word on their own, most need instruction. Think of all the assemblies Paul and Peter wrote to; they all needed instruction. That means it must be necessary, and these were all believers. Of course there were false believers among them as well, but Paul never had kind words for them. There was no talk of “handing them over” but of them being “dogs and pigs” (actually that was Peter I think), or as John said, “they were never part of us”.

    I too seriously doubt the salvation of many “Christian” leaders today. But I will not go to the point of calling them lost unless they deny Jesus. The current push for hierarchy in the Trinity is a denial of the full divinity of Jesus, and thus anyone who thinks Jesus is less than fully God has “another Jesus”.

  28. The current push for hierarchy in the Trinity is a denial of the full divinity of Jesus, and thus anyone who thinks Jesus is less than fully God has “another Jesus”.

    That is my concern as well!

  29. And my concern too!

    Just an update on our Trinity DVD.  We had hoped to get the entire teaching onto 2 DVDs but it looks like it will have to be a 3 DVD set.  The first DVD (Lorri’s) is on its last set of fixes and should be finished on Monday.  Her DVD is a definition and explanation of the Trinity from the scriptures alone.  Lorri also gives a short testimony regarding how her misunderstanding of the Trinity lead her into the Jehovah’s Witnesses and how the bible alone brought her to a saving faith in Jesus and an understanding of the historic teaching of the Trinity. 

    The other 2 DVDs in this set are mine.  My first DVD is on The Trinity eternity past and it looks at Jesus in the Old Testament.  My second DVD is on the authority of Jesus and his eternity future.  It deals with the scripture that comps like to use located in 1 Cor. 15 to teach an eternal subjection of Jesus and it soundly refutes that teaching.  I have a lot of audio clips in my DVDs and I refute the conclusions of Bruce Ware and Denny Burk.  I think that some will find the audio sound bytes quite amazing at what is being taught now as the historic view of the Trinity.

    I have the next few weeks to finish my own DVDs in the set and get them all sent out for stamping.  I also have to finish the artwork for the cover and get that sent away for duplication.  There is a lot of work over the next couple of weeks to finish this project but so far we are still on schedule for a end of September or early October release.  The official title is The Trinity – Eternity Past to Eternity Future, explaining truth & exposing error.

    It has been a long 8 months for me from the writing stage to end of production making it almost 9 months.  Feels like the birth of a baby.  I will be SO happy to have this project finished and out in the public realm.  It really is an important topic especially with all the teaching coming from the complementarian camp that Jesus has less authority than the Father.  From what I can see from the products out there, the DVD set is going to be a very unique product.  The graphics help to make it an interesting way to view this doctrinal subject.  We had our official preview last night and things look good as we head down the final road to a finished project.

    Thanks to everyone who has prayed for me during this very trying 8 month period.  There have been a lot of distractions and trials that we had to go through but God has kept us in the hollow of his hand.  What a gracious and kind God we have!

  30. Lin wrote,
    Many of the abusers I knew in Christendom were not public false teachers they were private spiritual abusers.
    Hey!  I knew a fellow like that.  He said all the right things from the pulpit.  But then there was the rest.
    He took advantage of my spiritual immaturity by telling me he’d been praying and believed God was telling him that I was the right person for a particular job that he wanted filled.  Stupid me.  I was flattered and took the job.  When it turned out all wrong he wouldn’t give me a way out that didn’t involve shutting the project down.  More pressure.  I quit anyway because I felt so bad. 
    Then there was a Bible study that was being held in his house.  His wife was a member of the group.  He was out somewhere one evening and came home before the study session was over.  No matter.  He called his wife out of the study to get his dinner ready.  That demonstration of the sort of servant heart he had gave me another inkling that something wasn’t quite right.
    Lastly there was the problem of the assistant minister.  He’d been hired by the previous rector to run a new Sunday evening outreach program.  Soon after that rector retired and this new, charming, fellow with the impressive resume was hired.  After 18 months or so the new rector told the Parish Council that the money for the assistant’s stipend was running out so he would have to be dismissed.  I suggested that maybe we could do some fund-raising or let the congregation know that we needed them to give a bit more but the new guy wouldn’t consider those options.  Then he did the closed meeting thing.  He said that he had something to say about the assistant minister that everyone present would have to swear never to mention to anyone else.  If someone felt they couldn’t keep it secret they should leave the room.
    Well.  What are you going to do?  Wonder what on earth can be so terrible that everyone gets sworn to secrecy about it and then want to know what it can be?  Of course. 
    I figured the only person I’d tell would be my one flesh husband so I stayed and could hardly believe what I heard.  It was nothing!  It was so nothing that I can’t even remember precisely what was the terrible thing that the assistant was supposed to have done; something about answering back to the charming, talk-the-talk, rector.
    To cut a long story short the rector eventually got his way and a majority of the parish council agreed to dismiss the assistant and ask him to leave his parish supplied housing even though his wife was 8 1/2 months pregnant at the time.  I asked for an assurance that the assistant and his wife would at least be told about the decision before the next Sunday morning service so they would be prepared in case they got a deluge of phone calls afterwards. 
    The assurance was given but not acted upon.  I checked with the assistant.  I checked with the rector’s warden.  They both said that no such notice had been given.  Subsequently, when I directly asked him, that lying sod of a parish priest told me to my face that the notice had been given.  My husband and I finished up the year at that church because I was teaching Sunday School to the junior high school group and my husband was in charge of entertaining the littlies.  And then we left.  So did the other assistant minister and the youth worker who each had their own stories to tell of bullying and intimidation. 
    The lying, bully, rector is now a bishop.  The dismissed assistant minister worked for a few years in a pastoral role in higher education and then went into business.  I’ve googled him a few times and never found any mention that he was ever an ordained priest.  The youth worker and the other assistant minister left at the same time we did.
    Me? For several years I couldn’t bear sitting through a service anything like what I’d been used to in that parish.  We went high church instead and thereby learned something precious about God’s love for His people and the variety they can bring to their expressions of worship.  But thinking about it all now I think the most valuable thing I learned is that priests, also, are sinners – and might even be sociopaths.

  31. Jesus always spoke the truth because Jesus IS the truth.  Jesus said that bad fruit does not come from a good tree and good fruit does not come from a bad tree.  What we know from Jesus’ words is that there is not a mixture of fruit.  If someone lives a life marked by the deeds of the flesh, then we need to be aware that this identifies the tree.  God is the only one who judges the heart because he is the only one who can read the heart.  But God has given us fruit to test.  When we become fruit testers we are able to protect ourselves from harm.  When we identify a bad tree because there is bad fruit growing we need to stay away.

    I do believe that a brother or sister in Christ can sin in an area that needs restoration and our love and gentleness to bring them to repentance.  But I also believe that there are weeds out there who say the right things regarding doctrine and a claim to faith but they do not live in repentance.  They cover over their sin and live their life in habitual lies and cover ups.  I believe this is why Paul told us not to associate with those who claim to be a brother or sister in Christ but who practice immorality.  We are not even to eat with them.  (1 Cor 5:11)  It is imperative that we identify the fruit because we are told that by their fruit we shall know them and we are to stay away from bad trees and I believe this is necessary so that we do not become lumped in with them and hurt our own Christian witness.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: