the weblog of Alan Knox

Connection between love and unity

Posted by on May 9, 2010 in blog links, love, unity | 7 comments

Joel at “The Double Edged Sword” continues his series on unity in his post “Gathering in Unity: Part 3.” One paragraph of this post is one of the best things I’ve read on the relationship between love and unity:

I believe part of our error has been we see love as weak. We think to love will surely make us a push-over. If we all only love, who will stand for what is right? Who will defend God’s end of things? Who will come against the scores of error and false teachings that are within the so-called “church”? I used to feel that it was my role in all circumstances. I’m learning that it is, in fact, not. I somehow felt like I had to seek out error, expose it and pass it on to everyone that I came into contact with (just peruse 50% of my older articles written over the past three or four years). In the midst of this season, I realized something that really changed my view. It’s the simple fact that I can easily judge and condemn, even “righteously” – it does not take much effort and absolutely no restraint. I did it for years. It comes “natural” to me. Error abounds in the Body and it only takes a few seconds to sit down and find a “ministry” to criticize and find fault with. Even a non-Believer with the ability to only read the Bible could do it properly. It is being loving, forgiving, patient and tenderhearted that requires patience, self-control and determination, for me.

I think Joel is on the right track… what do you think?


7 Comments

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  1. 5-9-2010

    I was taught that exposing the error of others was actually the loving thing to do. How else could they come to “the truth?”

    Now I see how arrogant that was.

  2. 5-10-2010

    I would say there is a difference in discussing principle vs. the person. If Joel has written about a trend he sees with brethren in general, then provoking us to love and good works may not always be a pat on the back, but names may not be named. In other words, if the shoe fits, wear it. This is how I receive brother Alan’s writings and many of David Black’s. They are sometimes very provoking to me, but I am not being personally attacked (Brother Eric, you are that man!!!). We simply do not know each other well enough. If Joel has written earlier articles publicly criticizing named individuals (or perhaps their 501c3 businesses) he has not personally contacted first, then I agree, this is not the right approach. If he has contacted them regarding a matter and they continue in sin, then should he not bring witnesses? If this sin still continues, then should he not bring the assembly?

    These instructions are for those who are brethren – not those without the church. We are given instruction that it is God’s work to judge those without (1 Cor 5). Do we not judge those that are within?

    How about a hypothetical? Let’s say we are brothers professing the name of Jesus Christ and happen to meet in the same assembly. You discover that I am committing adultery with my father’s wife, or that my desire for a new Corvette is causing me to neglect my responsibility to my family and other previous financial obligations, or that I am lobbying a local county commissioner with gifts to obtain favor for my business with the local government.

    How will you demonstrate love, patience and forgiveness toward me? Is anything required on my part? Are there such things as faithful wounds of a friend (Prov. 27:6)? Is there a point where you will follow Paul’s instruction and stop eating with me and put me away? How will you decide when that point has been reached – and would it be the same point if this were say, a different brother instead of me?

    This brings it to a personal level. It may be hard for you to be a “faithful friend” to an institution, to show love to a non-profit organization, to forbear a political action committee. Are man-made organizations the church?

  3. 5-10-2010

    Fred,

    So, how do we deal with brothers and sisters who we think are in error? (This is an honest question.)

    Eric,

    I think Joel is talking about pointing out doctrinal error, not pointing out sin.

    -Alan

  4. 5-10-2010

    Sorry, I read criticize a “ministry” and went on that.

    Prefer one another in honor & Romans 14. If truly in error, Titus 3:9-11. But how do you decide what constitutes a heretic or vain babbling (2 Tim. 2:14-21) that will eat others as a canker and overthrow the faith of some? There is a reason that the overseer is to be proven to rule his household well. These things WILL come up. I believe it requires judgment and considering the hearers. Is this doctrine being discussed outside the meeting among the mature men (seeking a resolution from a multitude of counsel) or is it being taught in a contentious fashion in the meeting (gainsayers subverting whole houses Titus 1:7-16)? How will you decide when that line is crossed? We must study to show ourselves approved unto God that we might rightly divide.

  5. 5-11-2010

    Eric,

    I think there is a place for confronting someone who I think is in error, primarily if that belief is contrary to the gospel. Do you think the gospel is a good place to draw the line?

    -Alan

  6. 5-11-2010

    Alan,

    I want to be clear that I don’t seek to be contentious or believe that we should be looking to find fault with the brethren. I really dislike confrontation. I agree with Joel’s teaching that we should first love. Charity covers a multitude of sins.

    When I read Paul’s instruction to Timothy regarding Hymenaeus and Philetus or to Titus regarding those whose mouths must be stopped, teaching for filthy lucre’s sake, I don’t think that is a line drawn at the gospel. Paul says that Hymenaeus and Philetus have swerved from the truth teaching the resurrection has already come. I believe when something that is not true is being taught that it should be corrected. The prophets are subject to the prophets. I should be willing to admit that I may not have the whole truth in a matter and be willing to accept correction.

    I believe many doctrinal divisions come from holding to a portion of scripture to the neglect of others. A false dilemma is created and you must choose A or B. If both A and B appear in scripture, then they must be true even if we see an apparent contradiction (i.e., maybe we do not have full understanding). Many are not willing to seek the end of the matter reasoning the scriptures or are not willing to dwell in peace together until understanding is given (which may not come in this life). We have nothing to fear in seeking God and His Word. The Truth Is. It exists – whether we believe in it or not.

    I think Joel may also be dealing with what I consider Romans 14 issues – meat offered to idols or personal convictions. For you to do it is sin, but I have liberty. My liberty should not be a stumbling block, an occasion to the flesh or a cloak of maliciousness. I should prefer you in honor and accommodate those things I can rather than provoke you to wrath. It could just be possible I am the weaker brother who needs to learn from you.

  7. 5-11-2010

    Eric,

    I agree. Of course, the “Romans 14 issues” are theological issues, since they affect the way that we relate to God.

    Good discussion. Thanks!

    -Alan