Studies in John’s Epistles – 3rd John

Some Things Never Change

3rd John is another personal-letter, which is also his last letter. So short, so telling. John is writing to his friend and brother Gaius. He seems to have been a leader in the church, and even though there are other mentions of men with this name in Scripture, it was a very common name; we can’t be sure if he has other mentions or not. Gaius was obviously serving others, and sharing God’s love with them. He was hosting a group of missionaries, and these workers were people he didn’t know.

You Walk in the Truth
1 The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.

2 Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. 3 For I was very glad when brethren came and testified to your truth, that is, how you are walking in truth. 4 I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.

As we saw also in 2nd John, his personal greetings are warm and tender. Wishing “prosperity” and “good health” was a common Greek greeting, so we should not be surprised that John greets Gaius this way, but what wasn’t “common” was tying physical prosperity and health together with spiritual-health, so in that regard, this is no “ordinary” letter. Messengers have brought news to John that Gaius is acting in an exemplary-manner, which brings great joy to the Apostle.

5 Beloved, you are acting faithfully in whatever you accomplish for the brethren, and especially when they are strangers; 6 and they have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. 7 For they went out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. 8 Therefore we ought to support such men, so that we may be fellow workers with the truth.

Gaius is the kind of Christian who is worthy of imitation. He is serving in love, he is putting others first, he is doing the kinds of things we should be doing. John encourages Gaius to keep up the good work. But there is another guy who comes up in the letter…

9 I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say. 10 For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church.

Uh-oh! Looks like John had a wannabe “big-shot” on his hands, a “big-shot” who thought that he knew more than John, who was an Apostle.

This dude Diotrephes is all too common in our day, and obviously they had this sort of nonsense going on even in John’s day. Did you catch what John said about him at the beginning? He said that Diotrephes “loves to be first.” Well that about sums it up! Do you know others who love to be first? They are the important ones, they are the ones who can’t be inconvenienced, they are the ones who always have the last word, who always get their way, and who must always be in charge. They want to be the bride at every wedding, and the corpse at every funeral. No doubt we are reminded of the words of Jesus when He said “the first will be last and the last will be first!

Diotrephes won’t welcome the Apostle to the church, and kicks others out for welcoming the strangers that Gaius has taken in. Diotrephes seems to have much to say about others. A bunch of nonsense (or gossip) is being spread about people like John himself, who should be given the respect they are due. I wonder if Diotrephes is doing this because he must be in the spotlight, and just can’t handle it when someone else gets attention.

I cringe when I see a ministry named after its founding-father and guiding-light, even though I know that there are many GOOD ministries so-named. All I can ask is “Why?

Maybe we’ll never know the exact motivation, but I think we recognize the person, and John is telling us not to emulate them or their behavior. Who can argue with that advice?

People follow all kinds of “role models” these days, but unfortunately, many people are following the wrong kinds of “role models“. We see big-name sports-stars get rewarded with even juicier contracts after an episode of wrong-behavior. What is wrong with that picture? Who do you know who would be a GOODrole model” for people to follow?

11 Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God. 12 Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself; and we add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true.

Finally, another good guy is mentioned: Demetrius. So there you have it, two brothers who are serving faithfully, and one bad apple. It seems that the bad apple makes the most noise, but the faithful servants are making a difference for the Gospel. I’d say there might be a lesson in this for us!

13 I had many things to write to you, but I am not willing to write them to you with pen and ink; 14 but I hope to see you shortly, and we will speak face to face.

As we saw in 2nd John, the Apostle had many more things to say, but he wanted to say them in person. We read the words of Jesus in the Gospels, and read the Apostle’s writings, and yet, if Jesus or one of the Apostles walked through the door of this room, we would turn our attention to them and would be all-ears for what they had to say. Nothing beats face-to-face interaction.

Jesus and the Apostles said many things which were never recorded, but as John wrote in John 20:30, we have a very-adequate record for our needs and purposes, and while the ministries of Jesus and the Apostles only reached a few people during their lifetimes; countless millions of people have been reached by the written word they left behind.

15 Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends by name.

As John is closing this personal letter, he sends greetings from those who are with him, and Gaius would know who else to greet by name.

Sola Deo Gloria!

Trusting God In The “Rest-Areas”…

God’s plan for our lives is like a road-map, but He doesn’t show it all to us at once. He will only show us our next step when He is ready, not when we are. Like all good road-maps, ours includes turns, intersections, and even “rest-areas“. I LOVE rest-areas when I am traveling because I can’t drive for over two hours at a time and need to stop and stretch my legs periodically, but I don’t always like it when God places me in a “rest-area“. Maybe some examples will help illustrate what I am referring to.

A missionary couple comes home on furlough, and when they prepare to return to the country they were serving in, their way is blocked by the political situation in that country. Are they no longer missionaries? Of course they are, but their area of ministry may change dramatically.

A pastor I used to know, while he was without a church to pastor, took a job as the mail-clerk and telephone switchboard operator for his brother-in-law’s business. My mom was the owner’s executive-assistant, and she introduced me to Pastor John. I got to know Pastor John, and he was very instrumental in helping me through my wife’s suicide and the subsequent destruction of my family. He was also by my side during her funeral service, as was another Pastor, a Catholic Priest I had also gotten to know. Pastor John may have been in a “rest-area“, but God used his pastoral skills and loving heart to help me through a very-difficult time in my life. He also performed the wedding when my second wife and I got married. Just a few weeks later, he received a call to a church in another part of the country, and I haven’t seen him or heard from him since.

Another pastor I met a few years ago, while he was between churches, was the “substitute-preacher” when the church’s pastor was out of town, and he also taught at a private Christian school. When he was called to another church, he and his wife moved on.

From about 1981 til about 1991, I served in several different capacities in three different churches. I was on the building-committee of the first church. I taught Sunday School, sang in the choir and was a deacon in the second church, and I was in the band/orchestra in the third church. When we moved to a different part of the country in 1993, there was a brief “rest-area” period.

In 1994, I was elected, ordained and installed as an Elder in a small church. After I left that church in 1997, I went to another church where I was invited to sing in the choir. That only lasted for a few months until I remarried and we went to a different church. Our roles may change, but that doesn’t mean that our new role isn’t ministry.

After my second wife and I moved to Florida in 2000, I became involved in the music ministry of yet another church, and eventually became the Music Director. That lasted until I got cross-ways with the pastor’s mother-in-law who had very different ideas about what and how we should sing. Rather than fighting it, we moved on to another church.

Thanks to an invitation to participate in the church’s ground-breaking celebration, we immediately found our new church-home. I joined the choir, even though I decided to keep a low-profile otherwise. I also participated when we dedicated the new sanctuary. That lasted for about two years until we decided to move to another state in late 2006.

I have managed to keep a low-profile in every church I have been in since 2006, and I haven’t even joined the praise-team in the church I belong to now. I did offer to help out with the sound-system, but they haven’t even taken my up on that offer. The musical talent runs very deep in that church, so I enjoy just being there. When it comes to music-ministry, I am in a “rest-area“. That doesn’t mean that I don’t still enjoy singing, and He may yet use me in the music-ministry, but all in His good time.

God has kept me in a public-ministry “rest-area” for almost ten years, but has He? I felt led to start this blog on December 31, 2013, and I have been writing and posting regularly since then. With regular readers as far away as South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, this ministry is pretty “public“.

A few months ago, I received the “call” to begin a ministry at Cypress Cove. This may be the most ambitious “project” I have ever taken on, but God is still in control. This isn’t about me. It is about spreading God’s kingdom into a part of His world where it hasn’t been before. I am simply His servant, and God calls the shots. If this ministry thrives, it won’t be because I am so great. It will be because God is great and awesome and doing His work through me.

While I have been in a “rest-area” from teaching and church-leadership since 1997, God hasn’t left me idle. He has directed me into other avenues for ministry. For those who are lamenting that God doesn’t seem to be using you for an obvious ministry, all I can say is “Trust Him” and see what else He may have for you to do. God alone knows His plans for you, and He is working everything out for your good and His glory. Oh, and by-the-way, loving your neighbor in tangible ways IS ministry, and you ARE serving God by showing His love to that person.

In Christ,
Steve

LGBTQ Issues

Many Christians are getting bent out of shape because non-heterosexuals are making big gains in rights in our society. I believe that Christians have the wrong emphasis. I believe that the Church has the wrong emphasis. God has given US, His children, a code of conduct which applies to how WE live our lives. He never gave us permission to sit in judgement on those outside the Church for not keeping His code of conduct, but God did say “Love your neighbor as yourself“, and that command DOES apply to US.

Jesus was often seen in the company of “sinners“. The Pharisee’s two biggest gripes about Jesus were that He associated with “sinners“, and that He didn’t meticulously keep their “rules“. Jesus met people in their places of need, not with condemnation, but with love and grace. The Incarnate Son of God, the eternal Word made flesh, chose to associate with the “scum of the earth“. What part of that do we not understand?

As I have read the Apostle Paul’s epistles to the various churches, most of which were in heathen cities, I was struck by the fact that, while he gave those believers a code of conduct, he never authorized them to go on a “clean-up campaign” in their neighborhoods. We also never read where Paul himself undertook a “clean-up campaign” in any of the cities he preached in and established churches in. Paul simply preached the Gospel, the Good News, and left the results up to God.

Paul did not denounce temple-prostitution, even though it was rampant in those heathen, idol-worshiping cultures. He simply told the believers that they were not to be part or party to it. Paul also didn’t denounce the pedo-homosexuality that was rampant in the Greek culture. He simply told the believers that they were not to be part or party to it. Paul also never told those believers to not go to the gymnasiums, which were centers both for fitness and learning, all of which was done nude. Paul also never told those believers that they could no longer go to the Roman bathhouses just because they would see other nude people and be seen nude themselves. Paul never pointed those believers down the road to prudery. Paul preached the Gospel, because that is what the Great Commission is all about. Paul didn’t try to “change” people, because that is God’s job, not his.

I have several friends who live with people they aren’t “married” to, but my job is to love them, not judge them. I have several friends who are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or even try-sexual. If you aren’t familiar with what it means to be “try-sexual“, it simply means that a person will try anything sexual. My job is to love them, not judge them. I also have several friends who are polyamorous, which means that they have more than one intimate relationship. It is my job to love them, not judge them. If you think that I should disassociate myself from these people, you don’t understand either the Great Commission or God’s command to “Love your neighbor as yourself“. I may be the only “Gospel” that these people will ever see if I love them and love them well. They might refuse any attempts to “evangelize” them, but nobody in their right mind will ever turn away love. God ALONE is the judge of all the earth, and He has NOT, nor is He hiring “associate judges“.

Rights…
Why are we still, as a nation, bickering about who should be “allowed” to have certain “rights“? The US of A was founded on the principle that “ALL men are created equal“, and yet we still have some classes of people who are more “equal” than others. We also have some classes of people who are less “equal” than others, and the latter includes LGBTQ people. The US of A is NOT a theocracy, even though our founding fathers were mostly Christians. Why did it take an act of Congress for women to get the “right” to vote? Why did it take an act of Congress for people of color to get the “right” to vote, and a host of other “rights“? Why do we still have ANY citizens who are denied equal rights under the law? The answer is that certain people still believe that they are more “equal” than others, and some of those “certain people” are Christians.

I have heard the tired old argument against same-sex marriage that “If we legalize same-sex marriage, we will be opening the door to legalized polygamy.“. What is so “bad“, so “wrong” about polygamy? Polygamy was practiced throughout the Old Testament, and Jesus, the Messiah’s “father“, King David was a polygamist. Prophesies foretold that the Messiah would “sit on the throne of His father David“, and Jesus was called “King David’s greater Son“. Sorry to pop your theological-bubble, but there is only ONE place in Scripture where monogamy is the “Gold-standard“, and that is for church officers, Elders and Deacons. So much for the vaunted “Traditions of the Elders…“.

The Church…
Would a same-sex couple be welcome in your church? How about a trans-sexual? How about a cross-dresser? How about a biker? How, and whether we accept these people, who are “different” than we are, is a matter of the heart, whether we have a heart that loves God above all else, and a heart that, in gratitude to God for the love that He has lavished on us, loves our neighbor as ourselves. I wouldn’t be welcome in many churches because I have a beard, and my hair is way more than “shoulder-length“. I am “different“, and in many churches “different is bad“.

Final thoughts…
You have the right to associate or not associate with people who are “different” than you, but you don’t have the right to NOT love people who are different than you. It is not coincidental that several of my recent posts have been about love. God has been working on me, and I can’t help passing on what I am learning about love to you, my beloved readers. How am I doing? Not good enough, because I flunked a test just last night, when I didn’t greet and warmly-welcome someone who seemed to be “different” to a group I belong to, a group where, in some ways, I am also “different“. I knew what I should do, but I didn’t do it, and in so doing, I failed to love them as I ought. I am still a work in progress.

I know that there are many Evangelical Christians who would take strong exception to what I believe, but that is between them and God. I have been there also, but God hasn’t allowed me to stay in that place. My wife and I lived in an RV park which was owned and managed by a same-sex couple, and there were several other same-sex couples in that park. I had to learn to love them, and to love them well. I am now in a meetup group which welcomes people from all sexual-orientations, sexual identities, and relationship statuses, including polyamorous. Oh, and there are a few atheists, Wiccans, and assorted and sundry other kinds of people. I believe that God has brought me into that “Samaria” to not only teach me some badly-needed lessons, but also to be salt and light in that diverse community. I am not a “closet-Christian” in that community, as anyone who reads my community profile can easily see, and it hasn’t gone un-noticed. Someone in the group asked me about it at a meetup just a few days ago. Am I being “salt and light” in that community? Only God knows for sure.

Are you “loving your neighbor as yourself“? Are you being “salt and light” in your community? I pray that you are.

God bless!
Steve

Women In Church Office…

There is a growing trend in the church to ordain women as Elders, Deacons, and even as Pastors. There is even an organization called “Christians for Biblical Equality“(CBE) whose mission is to promote opening up the leadership positions in the church to women. Does this trend arise simply from the desire to more fully employ the gifts of women in the church, or has it come from an attempt to conform the church to the cultural norms of our day? We must always acknowledge that God is the final Authority, particularly in matters of His worship, so does the Bible have anything to say about it?

There is a lot of passion of both sides of the aisle regarding the ordination of women into leadership positions in the church. I was a deacon in a Christian Reformed Church (CRC), and I resigned that position and left that church and denomination after I became convinced from Scripture that women were not allowed to be installed as deacons. I must say that it wasn’t because the women were incompetent, because in many ways, they “outdeaconed” us men. I resigned and left that church was because of what I saw in Scripture.

A dear friend of mine, who was raised in the CRC, also left the CRC because of that same issue. She is Dutch, was raised in the church, educated in the church’s college, and served as a medical missionary for many years. She is about as “trueblue” as it gets.

Another friend resigned as an elder in a Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) church because they DON’T ordain women into leadership positions. I don’t know the whole circumstances of his resigning as an elder, but he had become a member of Christians for Biblical Equality.

Historically, we know that God has gifted and used certain women in mighty ways throughout redemption history. Deborah was a judge in Israel (Judges 4:4-14), however women were never permitted to be Priests or Levites. Those positions of religious authority were reserved for men.

Gender equality…

True gender equality is based on the fact that both men and women are equally God’s image bearers. Just because man was created first, doesn’t make a man a greater image bearer than a woman is. Men and women are also equally saved and liberated from sin and the devil by the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Being co-equals does NOT equate to having equal authority in the home, church or otherwise.

CBE…

CBE claims to believe in the full authority of all of Scripture, however they have chosen to selectively “throw-out” or ignore certain passages that don’t support their “equality” premise, particularly those passages which set forth the qualifications for church leaders, and which give directions for home-government. That is a major inconsistency, because either ALL of Scripture is authoritative, or NONE of it is. When we start picking and choosing what parts of Scripture we want in our “Bible“, we no longer have true Christianity. We might as well write our own “bible“…

As I was reading through some of the “endorsements“, one particular “endorser” called their “theology” “progressive“. “Progressive theology” is simply a term for “liberalism“, which is cultural modification at its finest. “Progressive theology” is HERESY. I know I may get some barbs from this, but it won’t be the first time I haven’t bowed to “political-correctness“. BTW, one of the founders of CBE is a woman…which doesn’t surprise me. CBE seems to be merely an extension of “women’s liberation” and “political correctness“. “Women’s liberation” has also brought us legalized abortion, under the guise of “choice“. I have to wonder how many of those babies which were murdered in abortion clinics were consulted about their choice. That kind of “choice” is a one-way street.

The Virtuous Woman

My first wife was a true woman…a LADY, and she found her ultimate fulfillment as a wife and mother. She was never happier than when she was bearing and raising children. She had learned all the motherly “arts” from her own mother, who had born and raised nine children. Is it any wonder that pregnant women have a certain unmistakable “glow” about them? They are radiating the truth of their design…to bear children. For a Biblical description of a “virtuous woman“, we need only turn to Proverbs 31:10-31:

“10 Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. 11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. 12 She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. 13 She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships, she brings her food from afar. 15 She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household, and a portion for her maidservants. 16 She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard. 17 She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms. 18 She perceives that her merchandise is good, and her lamp does not go out at night. 19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. 20 She extends her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household is clothed with scarlet. 22 She makes tapestry for herself; her clothign is fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies sashes for the merchants. 25 Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come. 26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. 27 She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many daughters have done well, but you excell them all.” 30 Charm is deceiptful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. 31 Give her the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.”

Why did I introduce this passage about the “virtuous woman“? In short, because it blows the stereotype of the “stay at home mom” out of the water in a grand way. This woman ran the “family business“, and her husband trusted her to do so wisely. She had a great reputation, and her reputation fueled respect for her husband. Her business was also family-oriented, driven by the desire to provide the best for her family. She didn’t sit around the house drinking coffee and watching Soap Operas. Both her husband and her children were justifiably proud of her. She was NOT a downtrodden “lowerclass” person.

Male headship…

The principle of male-headship was not a result of the fall, as some would assert. Even though it is first enunciated by God after the fall, it was part of the created order. God gave Adam the authority to name the animals (Genesis 2:19-20). Authority to name is also the authority to govern. Adam also named Eve. “And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman because she was taken out of Man.”(Genesis 2:23). Eve did not walk up to Adam and introduce herself. God brought Eve to Adam, and Adam named her. Theirs was the first “arranged marriage“. Man was intended to be the head of the family, and eventually the church.

Those who are rebelling against Biblical male-headship are rebelling against God. It is a Satanic attempt to derail God’s leadership and undermine His authority, and it is sad that it has gotten a foothold even in the church, under the guise of “equality“.

Biblical church leadership…

The Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, gave very specific directions for the qualifications of church leaders. Christ is the head of His church, and He alone sets the standards for church leadership. He is the Good Shepherd, and His under-shepherds must be chosen with care. If we ignore our Lord’s directions for church leadership, we open ourselves to many other problems.

“1 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer(elder), he desires a noble task. 2 Therefor an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity, keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6 He must no be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.”

“8 Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9 The must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 The wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 3:1-13)

On a personal note: I am not qualified to be an elder or a deacon in the church for several reasons, which I won’t enumerate here. It would be the epitome of arrogance for me to think and say otherwise. I have “been there, done that, got the T-shirt“, so being a church leader is not on my “bucket list“.

I have great respect and admiration for those capable men who lead my church. They lead with quiet dignity, and show Christ’s love in everything they do. The Apostle Paul could have been writing about these men when he penned this passage.

“Indispensable” women…

There are several roles in most churches which are best filled by women, because they have unique talents in these areas. No church will ever truly run smoothly without them. They are an important part of every church community.

1) The pastor’s wife: While there are a few pastors who have been gifted with singleness, the vast majority are married. The pastor’s wife brings a unique set of talents to his ministry which no other person can bring.

“Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make a helper fit for him.” (Genesis 2:18)

Pastors who lose their wife, particularly if the loss was the result of a serious tragedy, immediately become like a ship without a rudder. One pastor, whose wife committed suicide, was completely out of the ministry for several years, and did not re-enter the ministry until AFTER he remarried. This speaks to both the depth of his personal loss and the devastating effects losing his wife in that way had on his ability to minister.

The music ministry in my church wouldn’t be the same without the talents of our assistant pastor’s wife. She makes the piano dance with joy to the Lord. She also leads the women’s discipleship group, and teaches piano to several of the children in the church.

Other pastor’s wives may not be quite as “visible“, but their roles are no less important.

2) The church secretary: Church secretaries, often called “administrative assistants“, are the ones who hold the whole church together. If it has to go through an office, it goes through theirs. They are the “nervecenters” of the church.

3) Sunday school teachers: How would we ever have children’s Sunday school without those dedicated ladies? They are a huge part of the church’s part in raising our covenant children, and without them, children’s Sunday school would fall apart.

4) Women’s discipleship: Godly older women are the ones BEST qualified to disciple and lead younger ladies in the church. The Apostle Paul, in his epistle to Titus, even speaks of this role: “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands.” (Titus 2:3-5)

5) Widows: Who better to minister to the needs of the widows in the church than other widows? Most people don’t really relate to losing a spouse to death, unless they have gone through that themselves. That is where other widows can have a huge impact. One lady in my church “keeps tabs” on the other widows by calling them regularly, and relaying needs and prayer requests to our pastoral staff. Sometimes something as simple as a ride to church, the grocery store, or a doctor’s appointment can make a huge difference in a shut-in’s life. Another older lady regularly visits other older ladies. That personal touch can make a world of difference. A young mother with a new-born may appreciate a visit from a “surrogate-grandmother“.

These women are VERY important, and even though they are in supporting roles, they are no less “equal”. Everyone in the church has someone to submit to, and our ultimate submission is to Christ Jesus, our Lord. Even pastors and elders, who truly understand their calling, are servant-leaders.

Patriarchal…

There are a lot of people, particularly women, who complain that Christianity is too “patriarchal“. If Christianity is “patriarchal“, it is because God is our Patriarch. God is always “HE” in the Bible, not “she“. God is our “Heavenly Father“, not our “Heavenly Mother“. Christ Jesus is the “BRIDEGROOM“, and the church is His “BRIDE“. Those images are used throughout Scripture.

Homosexuality…

Often linked with the desire to see women in church leadership is the ordination of openly-homosexual persons. A few years ago, the Episcople church installed an openly-homosexual man as a bishop, which caused a huge division in the denomination. Those committed to the truth of Scripture and traditional marriage split off and joined the Anglican church, which was the global parent denomination. Closely-allied is the push for same-sex “marriage”.
All of these movements are spawned from the same Satanic origin…”You shall be as gods“. They are direct attacks on God and the authority of His Word.

God calls homosexuality an abomination. “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22) “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.” (Leviticus 20:13). God hasn’t rescinded that decree, so if the church is going to be faithful, it must call homosexuality what God calls it – an abomination.

We are to love homosexuals and minister to them, however we must never aquiesce to their demands. The church must never ordain them as leaders in the church, nor bless their same-sex relationships.

Final thoughts…

I know this topic is controversial, but I have never shied away from speaking and writing what I believe. I have three choices…go with the flow, uphold the truth of Scripture, or don’t write at all. I have chosen to write, regardless of the barbs that come my way.

It is time for the church to “suck it up” and start proclaiming the truth of Scripture regardless of whether it is “politically-correct” or not. The Bible, Scripture, God’s Word IS the final authority, because it is God’s revealed will for our faith and lives.

There have been movements throughout church history which have sought to “modify” the church to be in conformity to a certain faction of society. That is still happening, but the church MUST resist, or we face having our true light snuffed out. We must draw the line, and I have drawn mine. Are you with me?

To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: “The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitians, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” (Revelation 2:1-7)

In Christ,

Steve