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Hypocrites In The Church


Shane
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I have taken this quote from another thread where I didn't want to respond to it for fear of taking the thread off topic

My dad refused to become an Adventist or to step foot in an SDA church for over 25 years. It was because an SDA who played *good witness* by having SDA literature out in his office waiting room and by being obnoxiously persistent in telling everyone about the sda faith. That guy did my dad dirt in a business deal - and my Dad had no use for most SDA's after that.

The first Adventist who took an interest in talking to my Dad was my academy principal...and they did NOT talk religion. Elder Meske talked to my Dad about things he (my dad) was interested in, like school (Dad was a public high school teacher), wilderness survival, mountain climbing, Boy Scouts. THAT made a big impression on my Dad.

Then other people, like the parents of my friends, came over to help in the move to our new home. THAT made an impression too. And then when there was an evangelistic program, the pastor and Lynn Martell came out to our house to chat with my Dad.....and not try to tell him about the SDA faith, but just to be friendly.

THAT made an impression on Dad as well, and he got baptized (to my chagrin at the time) at the end of that evangelistic series.

So, imho, the men should try and be helpful and make friends with non-SDA. And Brother, Walk Your Talk, or you won't get anywhere.

I am sure many many people have been turned off by hypocrites in the church. However, on the other hand, so many of us are hypocrites ourselves. So much so, it almost goes hand and hand with being a sinner. I think of myself as someone who is on fire for the Lord. I spend a good deal of my time and money helping others and spreading the gospel. But I am sure if someone followed me around taking notes they would be able to point out errors in my character - even areas where I may not always practice what I preach. If we must be a church without hypocrites in order to reach the unsaved, I doubt the unsaved will ever be reached. My only hope is that we don't have to be a church without hypocrites in order to reach the unsaved.

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Thank you so much Shane for being willing to step forward and say that. Yes, we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God. The sooner we can accept that the sooner we can reach people.

This idea that we will be without sin at some point ... is just a lie of Satan's and it only repels those who would like to know Jesus. Also, I might add ... it makes the life and sacrifice of Jesus of no account. He came and died for sinners of whom I am the chief. That should be our message ... not that He can save us from all our sins ... but that He saved us IN our sins.

We are saved IN our present condition of sin. That is wonderful news. Our use of HIS power in overcoming sin .... is like filthy rags towards our Salvation. Only the life of Jesus is going to cover our sins and bring us Salvation.

Praise God.

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coffeecomputer.gif

uhh, my dad was not stupid. He knew people in a church/cathedral/synagogue/mosque were not perfect. The problem lied in the fact that the Adventist jerk who my dad was working with blatantly embezzled money from my dad. To say, "oh well....we are all sinners...yadda yadda yadda" completely ignores the fact that there was injury done intentionally.

icon_rolleyes.gif sheesh

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I'm sorry Pam for that experience that your Dad had to go through. I could in no way condemn your Dad for how he felt. It is easy for us to just say that you can't look at people. But when you are hurt ... it is not easy.

I have seen conference presidents intentionally hurt others in the name of God. This drove 100 members out of my church. I was angry. So, I can relate.

But I have had to find a way to deal with that hurt. People and the church will fail me. But I have to find a way to keep my relationship with God. It may mean that I might have to do that outside the structure of the SDA church. And that is fine also. But I just can't afford to allow what ANY human does to impact my relationship with God.

I hope you don't take this as condemning your Dad. I don't know where he is at and I would not fault him for any place he is at. I do fault those who have hurt him and misrepresented God and the church. This is a serious thing in my mind ... to cause the discouragement of a brother in Christ and thereby hurting the cause of God.

I hope I have not offended you or your father in any way Pam.

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You can't offend my father. He is dead. He died last March 31.

I'm not offended. I just get tired of people ballyhooing the "oh, we're all sinners and you shouldn't look at us - you should look at Jesus" song. Non-Adventists are going to look at Adventists. That is just a matter of fact. The shoulda/woulda/coulda game doesn't work in that venue.

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Pam ... excuse my extremely poor memory. I do remember when your Dad died and I felt so bad. I am sorry for all the pain that you had to go through.

I am also sorry for what he had to go through. But Jesus knows the pain and He knows the good heart of your Dad. And He will honor that you can be sure.

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I have seen conference presidents intentionally hurt others in the name of God.

I had a terrible experience with a pastor once. I won't go into detail but it was very tragic. It really impacted my desire to serve in the church despite the fact that I conscientiously was aware of what was happening and didn't want my desire to serve to be diminished. When someone in church leadership does us wrong, it is hard to deal with.

I am sure untold millions of unbelievers have been turned off by hypocrites in the church and will continue to be in the future. Satan works to undermine the church's efforts to be loving and meet the needs of unbelievers. Satan seeks to blow things out of proportion - to make mountains out of mole hills and worlds out of atoms. Many nonbelievers are turned off by hypocrites but it is Satan that causes hypocrites to be hypocrites and exaggerate the issue in the mind of the nonbeliever.

In the episode with the pastor that offended me - the pastor was a product of his past and current environment. I don't know the details of his childhood, family life, education and past employment. But whatever it was, something brought him to the point where he harmed me. Satan had been working in this pastor's life through a chain of events so that the pastor would himself misrepresent the church and injure others so that those people would hold what the pastor did to them against the church and, in some cases, against God.

In my mind Satan wanted to blow the whole thing up into something personal between this pastor and me. But when I step back and look at the big picture through the lens of the great controversy between Christ and Satan, I realize that this pastor was as much of a victim as I was. Satan was using him as a pawn in a game in which he hoped to take away my zeal and love for the Lord. Even though I understood this at the time, I still struggled to forgive this pastor and not to hate him. So I am sympathetic to those that have been hurt by someone in church leadership.

Someone once harmed Clara Barton, founder of the Red Cross. Some years later another asked her if she remembered the man. She replied, no, that she did not. Certainly you couldn't have forgotten this man that did you so much harm, the other told her. She responded by saying that she distinctly remembers forgetting the entire incident. That is not easy but ultimately we cannot blame others for our reaction to the harm they may do to us. I know that is an incredible thought but freedom lies in understanding and accepting it.

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When someone in church leadership does us wrong, it is hard to deal with . . . So I am sympathetic to those that have been hurt by someone in church leadership . . . I know that is an incredible thought but freedom lies in understanding and accepting it.

I understand that, Shane, and I would agree it is part of the solution--but not IMO the whole solution. When a church leader wrongs someone, it needs to be made right. And yeah, I, too, have been hurt and wronged at times by individuals in power in churches. I know it was not pleasing to God, and recently, after the passage of several years, I finally followed Jesus' instruction in Mt. 18. Interesting outcome. I wrote a nine-page letter to the man who was this guy's boss, and followed up with a couple of phone conversations. In the letter, I asked for mediation to be set up with the offending party. I repeated that request on the phone. The boss said he would talk to the guy and call me back with follow-up. It never happened. I called back, talked to his secretary, but never heard anything more about it. The whole incident tended to strengthen my perception of some church administration types as motivated by self-interest and job preservation. Kinda think Cordell Hull's description may be fitting: 'pissants and scoundrels.'

Dave

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Dave and Shane. I can only imagine how painful it must be to experience hurt from those who are suppose to help. I've never experienced it personally but I have witnessed it hurting others. So, in some small ways I can imagine. But I think both of you have good attitudes. Matt.18 is there for a reason. One reason is so both can learn and benefit. Hopefully if Matt.18 is followed then the offense will not be repeated. But it does take TWO who are willing. And this is often not the case.

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In my opinion, Matthew 18 is the best way to go. HOWEVER, Matthew 18 does not stop with going to the person. If the person will not agree to meet with you, then you are obligated to go the next step and bring other leaders into the discussion and even to bring it before the entire church if there is no resolution.

If the person in any way presents a danger of doing to others what he did to you, or if what he did is against the law, then you have an obligation to humanity to "out" him - especially if they are in a leadership position. That is part of our duty to love others as we love ourselves. I have seen child abusers, embezzlers, swindlers, and others get away with crimes and unethical stuff only to go on and do the same thing to others - all because the victim just wanted to "forgive and forget." In other words, the victim was thinking only of himself or herself. You can bet your bottom dollar that if they do it once, they will do it again to someone else. Even if such a person repents, it is likely they will still do it again. They MUST be held accountable, and if they are truly repentent, they will agree and cooperate with being held accountable.

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Yes Carolaa .... Only those who are guilty and unrepentant would object to following the instructions of our Lord to follow Matt.18 . And it is the duty of the true Christian to pursue the guidlines that we are given.

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I agree that hypocrites, like other sinners that bring shame upon the church, need to be dealt with. HOWEVER and this is a big however, when the church fails to deal with them and we are left injured and without justice, we have to move on.

We are all a product of our past and none of us are perfect. Those that harm us are actually victims themselves. When we are harmed, we should recognize those that are harming us as spiritual sick and have pity on them. And YES, YES, YES, YES, I understand how hard that is. When this pastor harmed me I wanted to hated him so bad but I actually recalled a few sentences from the textbook Alcoholics Anonymous that says, "We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick. Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us, they, like ourselves, were sick too. We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend. When a person offended we said to ourselves, 'This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him?'"

Now following the instructions of Matthew 18 isn't just about getting justice. It is actually about helping the brother that has done us harm - hopefully bringing him or her to repentance. I don't think there is much healing for the injured party in Matthew 18 unless there is forgiveness.

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The tares and the wheat will be in the church till the harvest.

The gospel net brings in both good and stinking bad fish.

Gerry

Of course Gerry ... it is our Christian duty to tell those stinky fish just how stinky they really are. Call sin by it's name you know.

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The tares and the wheat will be in the church till the harvest.

The gospel net brings in both good and stinking bad fish.

Gerry

Some fish think they can judge which are which - before the harvest, before the net is taken up from the waters. :(

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I have just been reading an interesting commentary on that parable. The author makes a very strong point that most all English translations do not offer a very important nuance of what the original Greek says. The first word in verse 30 is usually translated simply as "Let" or "Allow" or "Suffer". The word also has the meaning of forgive, the very same word Jesus used in His model prayer, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."

That puts a whole new spin on what Jesus said we were to do with those "weeds" we find among us!

Tom

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"God's all-seeing eye notes the defects of all and the ruling passion of each, yet He bears with our mistakes and pities our weakness. He bids His people cherish the same spirit of tenderness and forbearance. True Christians will not exult in exposing the faults and deficiencies of others....To the Christian every act of faultfinding, every word of censure or condemnation, is painful." 5T p.95, 96.

However, I do realize that the other side will say that those IN the church should not have SIN in their lives.

Quote:
"There is no excuse for sin." 4 T 623

Quote:
Let those in responsible positions not suffer sin in a brother. Show him that he must either put away his sins or be separated from the church. 5T 147
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I agree that hypocrites, like other sinners that bring shame upon the church, need to be dealt with. HOWEVER and this is a big however, when the church fails to deal with them and we are left injured and without justice, we have to move on.

We are all a product of our past and none of us are perfect. Those that harm us are actually victims themselves. When we are harmed, we should recognize those that are harming us as spiritual sick and have pity on them. And YES, YES, YES, YES, I understand how hard that is. When this pastor harmed me I wanted to hated him so bad but I actually recalled a few sentences from the textbook Alcoholics Anonymous that says, "We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick. Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us, they, like ourselves, were sick too. We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend. When a person offended we said to ourselves, 'This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him?'"

Now following the instructions of Matthew 18 isn't just about getting justice. It is actually about helping the brother that has done us harm - hopefully bringing him or her to repentance. I don't think there is much healing for the injured party in Matthew 18 unless there is forgiveness.

Yes, I agree that one can only do what one can do, and then they have to move on. But it is imperative that they do whatever is in their power to keep perpetrators from abusing other people or other churches. That doesn't mean we can't love the perpetrators or recognize that they are sick - that is part of forgiveness, after all. But forgiveness doesn't mean we sit back and allow the abuse to be continued elsewhere. As a Christian, I am expected to forgive what has been done to me. But as a Christian, it is my duty to protect others.

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Shane wrote:

Quote:
It is actually about helping the brother that has done us harm - hopefully bringing him or her to repentance.

th_ththbutbutbut.gif

I thought bringing someone to repentance was the work of the Holy Spirit. icon_confused.gif

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In my opinion, Matthew 18 is the best way to go. HOWEVER, Matthew 18 does not stop with going to the person. If the person will not agree to meet with you, then you are obligated to go the next step and bring other leaders into the discussion and even to bring it before the entire church if there is no resolution.

Hi Carolaa, yes, without a doubt. One complication in my situation is that the offending party is at a very high level of administration, way up there. I am still mulling over the next step. I can go to the next level up--that would be my only option--but doing so would require the participation of very senior administrators. I am undecided about taking that step. At the same time, I recognize the importance of seeking resolution. Why? Because wrongs have been done against a person. I believe that in the eyes of God, each person is valuable, and if someone is devalued or wronged, it is displeasing to God. And, the wrong is done against God as well as against the person. It is a very serious matter IMO.

Right now, I still feel cold fury. If only the guy would at least say, 'I'm sorry.' But nothing. That is wrong. I am also struggling with a decision. It would be a simple matter to file a lawsuit. The wrongs done are at that level, they are actionable. I would WELCOME the opportunity to take a few depositions. And I would pursue it to the death. I really, really want to do that. I have been waiting to see if there is any gesture or hint of a desire to seek reconciliation. If there is none, I must decide what to do. BUT if the individual CONTINUES to do the kinds of things he has done in the past, THEN I am extremely capable of filing a lawsuit to end all lawsuits. I could throw the book at him, and would necessarily have to bring in the organization. I would have a field day doing discovery--interrogatories, requests for admission AND notice for production of documents--followed, of course, by depositions. These guys have dug a very, very deep hole for themselves, and it would be a fun case to pursue.

So, I am on the brink . . . I really, really want to draw the sword and use it with all the skill I can bring to bear. Am trying hard to hold back, but it is NOT EASY. One more foolish act by this clown, and everything will break loose. Please pray for me.

Dave

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I thought bringing someone to repentance was the work of the Holy Spirit.

God uses people. Yes, He even uses us to bring others to repentance and when another repents, it isn't because of us but because of the HS.

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That doesn't mean we can't love the perpetrators or recognize that they are sick - that is part of forgiveness, after all.

The Bible says that we are to consider them as Heathen. I can honestly say that I've gone through the complete process and found a few heathens. My challenge is how to go on while knowing they are heathen. Do I proclaim from the mountain tops that they are heathen? Some of those here are the very ones who proclaim that we are to "call sin by it's name". But I doubt that they would appreciate me calling them heathen even though the Bible tells me to. I think I would get censored by that particular moderator.

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But But But . I thought bringing someone to repentance was the work of the Holy Spirit.

Charis ... there sure seems to be a lot of buts here. "But" I will try to respond. Repentance is not all it is cracked up to be. Satan repented ... but it was just not enough. So ... where does that leave us ????

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Repentance is not all it is cracked up to be. Satan repented ... but it was just not enough. So ... where does that leave us ????

Where is this found? I can't seem to find in my Bible that Satan repented.

Gerry

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