STAND YOUR GROUND
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Friends of Tithing-Study Group and Dr. Russell Earl Kelly:
After a recent meeting with my good friend, Charles Crabtree, I have come to the conclusion that we have been using the wrong strategy. Most of us, INCLUDING MYSELF, have been leaving churches which teach tithing instead of standing our ground.
What did Jeremiah do when he was right and almost everybody opposed him? He stood his ground and made the king act against him. If the king had killed him the negative publicity might have been bad.
What did Jesus do when He was rebuked by the scribes and Pharisees? He stood his ground and publicly rebuked them! He did not apologize for hurting their feelings. The truth was worth dieing for.
What did Paul do when he was kicked out of synagogue after synagogue? He stood his ground. He stayed in each one until he was forcibly removed –and—by then he had reached many with the truth.
Almost every Protestant church has rules in its by-laws granting any member the right to be heard with a grievance before the entire congregation. Neither the pastor nor the elders nor the deacons nor the board of trustees have the biblical authority to remove members or command members not to return.
From this point onward I will not counsel anybody to leave his/her present church UNTIL AFTER they have been heard before the congregated church at a formal called scheduled business meeting. This is biblical.
1 Tim 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
1 Tim 5:20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.
1 Tim 5:21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.
WHEN YOU INITIATE THE DIALOG
1. If you want to initiate an inquiry about your pastor (elder) concerning abuse of authority, discipline or doctrine, be DOUBLE SURE that you know what you are talking about and be double prepared. Discipline of church leaders is the context of 1Timothy 5:17-18 from verse 1.
2. The Bible commands doing such in front of two or three witnesses. Regardless of promises of confidentiality, this WILL very soon be known in the entire church.
3. If you are not prepared to be severely criticized, keep quiet. These are not games to be played.
WHEN SOMEBODY ELSE INITIATES THE DIALOG AGAINST YOU
Matt 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
Matt 18:16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
Matt 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
4. When any in the church accuse you of teaching a false doctrine and takes it upon themselves to discipline you, then Jesus’ words come into effect.
5. Be aware that, most likely, you will eventually be asked to leave the church because you disagree with it over tithing. Again, if you are not willing to take this route, keep quiet.
6. First, the accuser is commanded by Jesus to talk to you on a one-to-one basis per Matt 18:15 –even it the accuser is the pastor. The first meeting should not be a gang-up on you. If it is, then ask for this correct biblical sequence.
7. Second, if there is still no agreement, the next step is for the accusing party to speak to you again in front of two-three witnesses. This second meeting is NOT to be in front of the board of elders, deacons or the church. If it is, then ask for this correct biblical sequence.
8. Third, if there is still no agreement, the accuser is commanded by Jesus to bring the issue before the entire congregation. Only the church body has the authority to discipline.
9. Again, there is no biblical authority invested in the pastor, the elders, the deacon or the church board to discipline you BEFORE the entire church has heard your case. This is your opportunity to defend God’s Word and your conviction about tithing before the entire church.
10. Let the Tithing-Study Group know of your progress through these steps in order that all of us may pray for you.
11. I urge the Group to help me better state these ideas and fine-tune them. If you disagree and think I should delete this appeal, I will listen.