Category Archives: Conflict
I am absolutely “joy-filled” at the character,courage and integrity of the SBC leadership for holding Perry Noble publicly accountable for perverting the 10 commandments into promises in order to make them more palatable to unbelievers in his church.
The seriousness of the SBC rebuke came with the threat of excommunication from the convention should Noble refuse to correct his heretical teachings. Bam!
Perry Noble, pastor of a South Carolina megachurch, was rebuked by a Southern Baptist leader in South Carolina for calling the 10 Commandments “10 promises” and for other “problematic positions and statements.”
The rebuke came last week from the president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, Tommy Kelly, who said, “We as South Carolina Baptists must publicly state and remove ourselves from these positions and problematic statements and call for NewSpring to correct these positions if it chooses to say that it affiliates with South Carolina Baptist churches.”
..Hoping to bring more people to Jesus, Noble asked those at the worship service to view the 10 Commandments not as rules they have to keep in order to be Jesus followers but as promises that they can receive when they accept Christ.
He interpreted the first commandment (You shall have no other gods before me) as “Promise #1: You do not have to live in constant disappointment anymore.” The second commandment (You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything) was translated into this promise: “You can be free from rituals and religion and trust in a relationship.”
The “you shall not murder” command, he said, is actually a promise that “you do not have to live in a constant state of anger because you will be motivated by love and not hate.”
I am a firm believer in Al Mohlers Theological Triage. Simply put, there are three levels of theological urgency.
First level doctrines are absolutes that are non-negotiable such as inspiration of scripture, virgin birth, deity of Christ,justification by faith alone, the resurrection, and the gospel of Christ. Denial of one or all is clear denial of the Christian faith. This means we should never fellowship with,embrace, or sanction anyone who denies cardinal doctrines of the faith.
Second level beliefs are those that distinguish one church or denomination from another. These involve issues such as frequency of the Lord’s table, mode of baptism, continuationism, cessationistionism, complimentarian, egalitarian. These things may identify and distinguish but must never become grounds for close fellowship and certainly should never become the “litmus test” for whether one is viewed as being Christian.
Third level doctrines are non-essential beliefs. What time your church service starts, multisite video campuses, eschatological beliefs regarding pre-mid-post tribulation period, and views about the millennium.
John MacArthur has elevated second tier beliefs regarding charismatic gifts to first level essentials for defining who is and is not Christian. To borrow a friends term, that’s just Poppycock!
MacArthur is “off the gospel reservation” and is guilty of causing the very chaos he is supposedly warning others about. I say this as one who has throughly enjoyed his ministry over the years and have greatly benefited by his commitment to sound exegesis.
The arrogance of MacArthur leveling charges at all charismatic continuationist today as his means for rejecting us as “christian”, when the first century Corinthian church was guilty of the same fleshly chaos and even worse culpable behaviors and yet the Apostle Paul called them Redeemed Saints, the Temple of God, and brothers in Christ.
With that said, here are some of the best responses to the Strange fire conference.
My life experience confirms the truth that Seminaries should train ministers in the “art of war”. Why? Because disgruntled sheep get mad and even attack the shepherd. The Corinthians maligned the Apostle Paul and the Galatians came to view him as their enemy.
Believe me, conflict is unavoidable. Here is an informative article that gives some very practical counsel for ministers and leaders who find themselves under attack from “friendly fire”.
Check out these extracts and you are sure to read more.
>”If you’re a referee, you’ve been yelled at. If you’re an umpire, your eyesight has been called into question publicly. If you’re a soldier, you’ve been attacked, at least in training, and in combat, by people who want to kill you.
And if you’re a pastor, you’ve had people mad at you. Really mad at you.
Opposition comes with the job. But people who expect mistreatment for referees and umpires and soldiers are sometimes surprised when it happens to pastors. Why the anger at a person who’s just trying to lead a community of faith? To proclaim and embody the gospel?”
>”A friend of mine recently changed careers after being in pastoral ministry for nearly a decade. I asked him how his new job was going. “Really well,” he said. “These days, people get mad at me only once or twice a year. When I was in pastoral ministry, it seemed like someone was mad at me every other day.”
However, L Z Granderson, a black writer for ESPN, said this morning during an interview on CNN, that it is a “god awful song”.
The song portrays Brad Paisley as having been an accidental racist. He didn’t think he was, but understands why some might have perceived him to be, yet resents being called a racist.
I understand this very well. After the grace of Christ conquered my life during the racial tension of the 70’s, we planted a multi-racial-church in Georgia. At one point, I placed a bumper ticker on my truck that stated, “American by birth, Southern by the Grace of God.”
Shout! I truly believed [and still do] that Sovereign Grace allowed me to be a proud Southerner. It wasn’t an issue of race, but of grace. However, someone pointed out the confederate flag in the corner and kindly shared how it might be perceived wrongly by some in the congregation. It never crossed my mind. Therefore, for loves sake, I gladly removed that which could become a stumbling block to those I was intentionally trying to reach for the cause of Christ.
Check out the song and see if you personally believe the lyrics to be “god awful” or a good faith attempt to be “grace filled.”
As for me, I believe this song will help us take a step closer toward Rebel and Yankee, Ebony and Ivory, living together in racial harmony. May it be so!
Paul Tripp explains the difference between admission and confession,and in doing so, presses christians to “dig deeper” and “confess bigger” so that grace can effect true heart-based repentance. His principles are most appropriate in their application to our relational sins as well.
While reading this, I was reminded of situations I have encountered where these principles were seriously ignored and compromised, in an attempt to cover a corrupt heart. In one case, a brother was caught secretly recording a confidential meeting in order to try to entrap me. When confronted by multiple ministers, he responded with a shallow admission that he merely had a lapse in judgement.
Tripp on the other hand, points us to emulate the depth and bigness of David’s heartfelt confession that brings forth redemptive turnaround in our lives. Scripture calls that the fruit of repentance.
Here is an excerpt:
“Last week I wrote you about the subtle, yet significant, difference between the admission of wrongand true confession. Admission of wrong has two potential flaws. First, we might admit only because we were caught. And second, we might admit to only our behavior – not the heart motives behind it.
Now please, don’t mistake me. Admitting wrong and confessing behavioral action is good and necessary. Bu we need to go deeper. Our confession needs to be bigger.
Take the example of David in Psalm 51. When he prays for a pure heart and a steadfast spirit (v. 10, 11), he’s acknowledging that his struggle runs deeper than just behavior. He’s not only confessing to the physical acts of adultery and murder, but also to the reality of a heart that’s corrupt.
He’s confessing that his heart loves personal pleasure more than it loves the Lord. When he talks of God’s desire for a truthful and wise heart (v. 6), he’s confessing to a heart that has craved what was impure and that has loved what was foolish.
It’s only when you confess that your heart is corrupt that bigger things begin to happen. You turn…really turn. You don’t just turn from that specific sin pattern, but your heart turns to God in new and deeper ways.”
Please consider these biblical realities: Paul and Barnabas engage in heated disagreement that eventuates into two friends relationally separating, Judas plays the role of a frienemy and betrays Jesus, Diotrephes rejects relational accountability to the Apostle John and excommunicates congregants who do, the Corinthians mock Paul’s bodily appearance and inarticulate communication skills as grounds for refusing him as their founding father, Jesus has disciples who eject from following him due to one sermons teaching content, and at the end of Paul’s ministry, his relational friends have abandoned him.
Yep! Even the best relationships, involving some of the most charactered people in scripture, resulted in mental affliction,emotional pain, hurtful words and discouraging experiences. Why? For such is the stuff of life in the Kingdom.
Paul Tripp gives great perspective to the “relational messy stuff” we experience.
“Have you ever wondered if the people around you deal with the things you do in your relationships? Have you ever wondered if other marriages deal with petty differences or with the collision of differing agendas? Have you ever wondered if other parents struggle with resistant children and the impatience that greets you when it happens? Have you ever wondered if other people get in trouble with their neighbors or fall out of favor with a friend? Have you ever wondered if other people experience harmless conversations suddenly turning angry, or misunderstanding getting in the way of an otherwise productive friendship? Have you ever wondered if other people get as exhausted as you do with the mess of relationships? Have you ever wondered if other people say to themselves, “Christians; you can’t live with them and you can’t live without them?
Well, you should find comfort as you read Scripture because the mess of relationships that we deal with every day is on almost every page of the Bible. From Adam blaming Eve for his sin, to Cain murdering his brother out of jealousy. From Abram and Sarai colluding together for Abram to have sexual relations with the servant girl, to Rebekkah plotting with Jacob to deceive his father and get the blessing that his brother rightly deserved. From Saul’s murderous jealousy of David, to David’s murderous adultery with Bathsheba. From Delilah’s seduction of Samson, to Eli’s struggle with his wayward sons. From the inability of Solomon’s sons to get along, to the grief of Hezekiah over his evil son Manasseh. From the competitiveness of the disciples for a place of honor in the kingdom, to tension between Mary and Martha as to how to best serve Jesus. From the rejection of Christ on the cross by his own Father, to the divisions that wracked the New Testament churches. The Bible puts before you account after account of people just like you dealing with the same things you do as you live as a sinner, with sinners, in this fallen world.
Why do we have these gritty stories in the Bible? Because God wants you to know that you’re not alone in what you experience. And not only are you not alone, God wants you to know that you’re not left to your own wisdom and your own strength. The One who’s your wisdom and strength subjected himself to the harsh realities of relationships in a broken world so that he would be a sympathetic and understanding Helper in your time of relational need. But there’s more. He was willing to face the ultimate in relational suffering, the rejection of his Father, so that you would not only have the hope of acceptance with God, but also the hope of real reconciled relationship with your neighbor. He purchased our peace with God and in so doing made peace between us possible as well.
What does all of this mean? It means you don’t have to give way to discouragement, panic or hopelessness. No matter how frequent or complicated the mess is, there’s hope. Not because some day you’ll discover the key to perfect relationships or meet the perfect person. But because Jesus did what we couldn’t do, so that we’d be able to experience what we could never experience if left to our own strength and wisdom.
So don’t passively accept the mess and don’t run away when it comes. Determine to be an agent of hope, change, peace, and reconciliation. There’s probably not a relationship in your life that couldn’t be better in some way. Jesus makes that change and growth possible.”
Paul David Tripp