Where is your Allegiance?

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faithfulnessThere has been some very difficult situations that have arisen in my life as of late in respects to the church I frequent. I have been quite perplexed to say the least about some issues that have been brougth up including some decisions that I have not been entirely in agreement with. I’m not going to write this and attack my church, far be it, I love the people and cherish their fellowship immensley! but I see that there are some pretty big concerns that I have and unfortunately I’m never sure what to do about them. I’m not going to mention any particular details here but when situations arise that we must ask ourselves whether we are being faithful to God or faithful to ourselves.

This is the first issue, I will post about the two other issues a little later. All I will say is that we are moving and , before we get to our new building, we are going to be meeting in a place of worship that is basically Pseudo-Christian if not a Christian cult. We are getting this facility for free and hence my brothers and sisters feel it is a good step to save money and have a temporary place. People sometimes think this being faithful to God and faithful to ourselves is interchangeable. In other words  when a church is being faithful to their needs then automatically they presume they are being faithful to the Lord. I would unfortunately disagree that this is the case at all because we must always place doctrinal and moral purity above our financial needs. When we begin to associate with others who are not doctrinally pure, whether directly or indirectly, then we are in danger of losing the light of our testimony and the blessing bestowed upon us. How many times did the Lord chastise the Israelites for association with other gods? The scripture states we are to “abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thess 5:2). Would this not fit the bill?  What if an unbeliever was to see me enter into that building and at the same time he saw the name of that particular church, would he not associate me with it? Further, this would definitely give the impressing that I am o.k. with this place and hence giving it credibility. I think of the apostle John when he wrote his second epistle to not let a gnostic into their houses (or places of worship) and would he have allowed the recipients of his letter to go into theirs?  Highly unlikely! I know we are all fallible men who are trying as best as we know to follow the will of the Lord. I mean, maybe I’m completely off on this issue.  It is certainly a big issue to which I feel that I need to continue in prayer. I am convinced at this time that I will not attend the meetings until we are in our final place.

I know, I know, some of you are thinking “well, you’re a Calvinist, don’t you believe that everything is going to happen regardless and that all that is happening is the Lord’s will?” The fact of the matter is that because I am a Calvinist, I am also a compatibalist! Let me give an example I had written awhile back of what “Compatibablism” is:

Joseph was the son of a man named Jacob who had twelve sons. These are referred to as the fathers of the twelve tribes of Israel. The story of Joseph begins with the fact that Joseph had found favor over his brothers and there was much jealousy and hatred towards Joseph from the hearts of his brothers. (Gen. 34:4) Joseph also was given a dream from Jehovah that he would rule over his brothers and they expressed their discontent clearly by stating: “And his brethren said to him, Wilt thou indeed be a king over us? wilt thou indeed rule over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams and for his words. (Gen 37:8) Their hatred grew so great that they plotted to kill him but rather than accomplish this plan they decided to fake his death, tell his father that he was dead and sell his into slavery. We read:

And they said one to another, Behold, there comes that dreamer! And now come and let us kill him, and cast him into one of the pits, and we will say, An evil beast has devoured him; and we will see what becomes of his dreams. And Reuben heard [it], and delivered him out of their hand, and said, Let us not take his life. And Reuben said to them, Shed no blood: cast him into this pit which is in the wilderness; but lay no hand upon him — in order that he might deliver him out of their hand, to bring him to his father again. And it came to pass when Joseph came to his brethren, that they stripped Joseph of his vest, the vest of many colours, which he had on; and they took him and cast him into the pit; now the pit was empty — there was no water in it. And they sat down to eat bread; and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and behold, a caravan of Ishmaelites came from Gilead; and their camels bore tragacanth, and balsam, and ladanum — going to carry [it] down to Egypt. And Judah said to his brethren, What profit is it that we kill our brother and secrete his blood? Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites; but let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother, our flesh. And his brethren hearkened [to him]. And Midianitish men, merchants, passed by; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty silver-pieces; and they brought Joseph to Egypt. And Reuben returned to the pit, and behold, Joseph [was] not in the pit; and he rent his garments, and returned to his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, where shall I go? And they took Joseph’s vest, and slaughtered a buck of the goats, and dipped the vest in the blood; and they sent the vest of many colours and had it carried to their father, and said, This have we found: discern now whether it is thy son’s vest or not. And he discerned it, and said, [It is] my son’s vest! an evil beast has devoured him: Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces! And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth on his loins, and mourned for his son many days. And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted, and said, For I will go down to my son into Sheol mourning. Thus his father wept for him.

If there was ever an act of evil committed that destroyed the life and relationship between a father and his son, we can point to this as a great example of evil. However, this act of willful evil committed by Joseph’s brothers led to a greater and purposeful event. The life of Joseph afterwards was one of an action-packed nature. He had went from being imprisoned due to false charges against him to being sitting at the right hand of the great Pharaoh of Egypt. After the brothers had been sent to Egypt to purchase food, Joseph reveals to them that he is their brother: “And Joseph said to his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.” (Genesis 45:4). Even though they would have been deserving of the demonstration of Joseph’s wrath for their actions, Joseph speaks of the purpose behind their action “And now, be not grieved, and be not angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither, for God sent me before you to preserve life. (Genesis 45:5) Once again, in v.7, Joseph reiterates the purpose of his being sold into slavery in that “God sent me before you to preserve you a remnant in the earth, and to save you alive by a great deliverance (Genesis 45:7). Joseph then explains who was the one who enslaved him all those years ago in that even though the intentions of their hearts were evil and they acted upon them “it was not you [that] sent me here, but God” (Genesis 45:8) After Jacob passed on, the brothers were in fear once again that Joseph would avenge himself of their evil deed however in reply to this, Joseph answers by saying “And Joseph said to them, Fear not: am I then in the place of God? Ye indeed meant evil against me: God meant it for good, in order that he might do as [it is] this day, to save a great people alive. (Genesis 50:19-20). The expression “ye indeed meant evil against me: God meant it for good” is a significant statement in that there was only one action in view here. Who was essentially responsible for sending Joseph into Egypt through all the trials of his life and the suffering of his father who thought his son was dead? (45:8) The brothers were guilty for their choice however it was ultimately God’s choice to “save a great people alive”. So if this was ultimately Jehovah’s choice then why are the brothers guilty? Why is there guilt if this was God’s plan from the beginning? Here we see an example of compatibalism in that there are two wills involved however it is God’s will that is Sovereign over man’s. It was His decree that sent Joseph into slavery yet man’s acted upon the intention of his evil heart and is condemned rightfully.

In other words, we are still responsible for the faithfulness to God even though all is decreed!

Another point that I feel needs to be brought up is the fact that we are exposing our people and unbelievers to this organization. They will have rightly available literture to promote their doctrinal standing and more to attempt to refute ours. Curiosity is human and it won’t take long before someone grabs some of that material and begins exploring the otherside. You might be thinking “well, you said in an earlier post that it builds a solid faith to read the other side”. I stand behing my statement but what needs to be acknowledged is that I studied my faith quite extensively and I know what I believe and why I believe it. There are many folks in my church that are not theologically prepared to deal with the issues that will be brought up. My only prayer is that there will be a few who will educate themselves and be a pillar for the weaker brothers.

Enough ranting, I will get to the next issue soon!


Written by shawnkjmcgrath

July 3, 2009 at 2:27 am

Posted in Church Issues

One Response

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  1. […] of gathering. I had expressed my orignial views on this move in an earlier post that can be found here. I have not attended these meetings since the move last week. I know through emails that many are […]

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