Thursday, March 22, 2012

Walking the Walk

The role of an elder, when fully embraced in all aspects as defined in the Scriptures is a terrifying proposition. That the Lord Jesus Christ would hold elders accountable for their shepherding of His flock is a fearful thing. Any "authority" of the role is actually a "responsibility" since elders are held accountable by and to the Lord. I can't see how a reasonable man would actively seek out to be an elder.

There are times when difficult truths must be shared (in love) with individuals. There are times when difficult ministry decisions must be made. And still other times when difficult decisions must be made on behalf of the entire church. In all these, submission to the Lord, prayer for His guidance, and adherence to His Word must be front and center.

Periodically we find ourselves in situations where Jesus basically asks us, "Will you follow a man, a movement, or Me?"
The decision to dissociate with Harvest Bible Fellowship was one of those difficult decisions. 11 months of prayer, fasting, seeking the Lord, discussions, and study of God's Word. We didn't come to the decision quickly or lightly. As the issues grew in severity, the team arrived at a consensus as to the timing of the decision. One of our prayers were that we would do it in a way that honors God, respects those involved, all without injecting any drama.

We have been gracious in our verbal and written communications on the subject. Unfortunately, those who disagreed with our decision have not extended that courtesy to us. Apparently, "gracious conversation" is reserved only for those who are "with the program".

We made a difficult decision. It was a public and definitive stand. We are on record for what we decided and why. Those who disagree with us, do it privately and ungraciously. Yet they are publicly silent in their support of the Fellowship and their decisions. That is not an honorable thing. In the midst of 3 churches parting ways with the Fellowship and other opposition from trusted leaders in the Evangelical community, failure to publicly and definitively support Pastor James and the Elephant Room is frankly, cowardly.

"Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong." - 1 Corinthians 16:13