Thursday, February 12, 2009

UNITY?

God has been teaching me lately that I have to be ready to speak the truth in love. Often I am eager to speak the truth, but I forget to remember that I am commanded to love the people I am speaking to.

What makes it difficult is that, even with my best efforts, there are those who will respond to me in anger, and who will also forget to love me, especially when it comes to issues concerning the Church such as paid pastoral staff, tithing, running the church like a business, etc.

I am currently trying to reconcile and make peace with a few of my friends who have more vocally and publicly opposed me here on my blog. It's slow going, but I believe it's a worthy effort, especially in light of the fact that I am called to be a peace maker, and to take up the ministry of reconciliation, and to live at peace with all men - as far as it depends upon me.

Of course, the aim is not to bring my friends around to my way of thinking. In fact, whenever I do finally sit down with my friends my hope is that we do not debate or argue or discuss these issues that divide us at all. Instead, I hope that we can remember what we hold in common and agree to love one another even though we know we disagree on these issues.

So, yes, I will continue to write and to speak and to publish articles regarding the New Testament ideas of leadership, church modality, the priesthood of the believer, making discisples, caring for the poor, and everything else I have always been passionate about. My calling has not changed. But my approach may have.

For the last several months I have all but stopped writing my book, which is about the New Testament teachings concerning the people of God as the new temple, the new priesthood and the living, daily sacrifice. Why? Because I needed to make sure that I was really hearing from God about this subject and to be certain that what I was saying was done in love.

During this time I even went so far as to invite men of God, some of them my peers, some of them far above me in maturity, to rebuke me and to correct me on these issues. I needed to know if I was really off base or if my reading of the New Testament on these issues was accurate.

After this season of introspection and evaluation, I feel even more passionate about the book, and the subject of new testament ecclessia, but I have resolved to write a book that communicates these ideas in a more winsome and less provocative fashion.

I still haven't shaken my position that much of the traditional church today is a Jewish Temple-based form of Christianity which attempts to repair the veil that God ripped in half as Jesus finished his work upon the cross.

There is still, and always will be, a little of the reluctant radical in me. All that I'm writing about and the way I'm living my life and practicing my faith really is all about crossing those boundaries and many, many people are pretty upset that I would dare to think this way or encourage others to behave as if none of the Temple Christianity was valid (because it's not based on the New Testament).

I'm also learning that God is still working on my attitude and my heart in all of this, too.

My challenge is to point out these things and oppose these man-made ideas while still maintaining a sincere love for my brothers and sisters in Christ - even when they oppose me and respond hatefully.

Maybe there isn't a way to speak these things and write these things without severing these bonds, but if there is a way, I know I must try, for the sake of the Body and for unity among brothers.

Peace,
kg

1 comment:

Jamie said...

Keith, thanks for posting this. It was really great. I'm excited about reading your book. I, too, feel at a loss when talking to some of my Christian friends I grew up with in the South. I am always trying to find creative ways to communicate with them what we are doing with our lives. But they just can't understand it. They have no grid for the Church outside of their business/corporate model.

Me and my wife are feeling drawn back to our college town to build relationships with students. And the pastors and friends in our lives feel so good about sending us back there. But church leaders their have been so weird and territorial. I am still navigating with them relationally to reconcile. One told us he'd rather us not move back because he'd lose people. But I've been reconciling with him and things are getting better. We're just going to be who we are. While fighting for relationship with others who may not be at a place where they can partner with us. Keep on!