Saturday, February 25, 2006


The Quest for the WHOLE Council of God.

I was surprised but thrilled at a number of comments that came out following a recent post on the grace of God. I think Don kicked off the discussion by speaking of the freedom that we MUST find in Christ, then I threw out the thought that it is essential that our DOCTRINE must affect our PRACTICE.

The wonderful Jul then commented on something that has been at the back of my mind - the practice of constantly discussing "indwelling sin" accompanied by "accountability" groups. She, like me, is troubled by this - and made the point that we are indeed 'jars of clay' and that God is actually glorified in our weakness! She ended her comment with this outstanding conclusion; "When are we going to remember he chose us because we are weak and foolish? We are usually spending all our time trying to fill in the cracks in our jars of clay so we can impress everybody, instead of letting his glory shine out through our brokeness".

Don, then again demonstrated his experience and wisdom and gave a fantastically long post (that I wished he hadn't stopped on!) with discussing the Gospel - something that MUST be close, indeed central to all of our hearts. He again like Jul and myself has experienced the long accounts of how heinous our sin is that put Christ on the Cross. A popular quote is often used in this context of Martin Luther - "We carry the nails in our pockets". Yet Don wondered; "I thought He'd forgotten my sin at my moment of salvation, and raised me up with Jesus in baptism???". He noted how the Puritan writers are often used to talk of the need to constantly be "mortifying sin".

And he echoed the ache of my heart that we so rarely hear talk of the "positional" verses such as; 1 Peter 2:9: "We are A CHOSEN RACE, a ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, a HOLY NATION, a PEOPLE FOR GOD'S OWN POSSESSION!/That we might proclaim His excellencies!" and also remembered a hymn inspired by Galatians 2 & Colossians 3:"I've been crucified with Christ, nevertheless I liveYet not I, but Christ liveth in me and the life which I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me, and gave himself for meIf ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God set your affection on things above, not on things on the earthFor ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God."

The Whole Council of God.

This was the most outstanding section of his comment that I really want to emphasise, because in it - he summed up and vocalised something that I have been teasing through for a long time. He said:

"Here's how I see the gospel, based on how the disciples of Jesus behaved:

1. The cross without the resurrection leads to confusion and despair.

2. The cross with the resurrection leads to joyful assurance that our sins have been forgiven by God, through Jesus, who is now alive.

3. The cross with the resurrection and the ascension leads to hope in a glorious future with Jesus, who has gone ahead to make a dwelling place for us with His Father, and will one day return to destroy evil forever and take us to live with Him as He is now.

4. The cross with the resurrection, the ascension and the infilling of the Holy Spirit leads to a triumphant Body of Christ on Earth; moving with the mind and power of Christ to become ever more like Him and tell others of what we've learned and experienced with Him; and, united with Him not just through His written Word, but also through His moment-by-moment presence with us in our *redeemed* inner man. Members of this Body have complete access to *everything* that is His (Jn 16:14-15), including the experience of sonship in His Father!".

This IS vital because it emphasises the point that by no means am I or any of us trying to do away with the vitality and centrality of the Cross. I love and appreciate and benefit from the prophetic insight that speakers such as Mahaney have brought to this area. The importance that we mustn't just see it as a "beginning" and then to have no more relevence to us as believers! I have listened many times to Mahaney's message that he brought to the Brighton Leaders Conference last year on "The Cup". It must be heard.

But ...

Are we not missing out by stopping there? Is our Christian experience and life lacking because of an undue emphasis on one extremely valid part of the whole council of God? Another commentator noted quite rightly that this IS important - it is more than just semantics, or theological head knowledge - this is actually affecting lives! He ended quite rightly by saying that we cannot refrain from discussing this simply because of the sincerity or "nice-ness" of those advocating this view!

Ern Baxter was a strong advocate of the "Whole Council of God" as I have referred to in a previous post - "The Neglect of the Resurrection". There are a lot of issues and questions to be dealt with here. My first job is to take Volume 4 of the Works of John Owen to work tonight to re-read. It is quoted frequently in the whole area of discussion and I want to refresh my memory as to exactly what the Puritans said and their intentions - as I am absolutely positive that they never intended a legalistic unhealthy focus on "indwelling sin".

Furthermore as Hugh reminded me on a different subject, the most essential thing is to get into Scripture and assess what the Word of God has to say. So while I am aware this post has thrown out a lot of questions, I am excited about what may be found - as the bottom line here is indeed as Don said; Freedom in Christ!

14 comments:

Don said...

Well, I'm certainly surprised and gratified to see you pondering at length my comments on what we might call "The Cross Plus...". Also interested to see which Owen book you've highlighted, as it came highly recommended to us right about 1995, together with Edwards' "The Religious Affections" and "On Revival," and William Law's "A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life."

Perhaps you'll be interested, though for another reason, in another Owen book that was stocked in the church bookstore at that time, "Communion With God." I highly recommend this book for its rich, Scripture-packed teaching on communion with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. However, in Chapter 7 (titled "How Believers hold Communion with the Lord Jesus Christ in Grace"), Owen begins by stating "Scripture shows us that we hold communion with the Lord Jesus in grace by a marriage relationship." The first scripture he quotes is Song 2:16, "My beloved is mine, and I am his." Owen then uses verses from the Song of Songs, Isaiah, Hosea and other books to make his case.

At one point he writes, "The soul loves Christ for his beauty, grace and all-sufficiency. The soul sees Christ as far to be preferred above all other beloveds whatever (Song 5:9). To the soul, Christ is 'altogether lovely' (Song 5:16)...."

Also, in Chapter 11 -- in a section titled "The Saints' Delight in Christ" -- Owen quotes and refers repeatedly to the Shulamite's actions in delighting over, and searching for, her lover, and compares those to our soul's delight in, and continual longing for, our Lord.

This is an excellent book for many reasons, but I found it interesting that Owen identifies clearly with the concept of using the Song of Songs to describe the relationship between the believer and Jesus -- not as an earthly "sex manual." Anyone who loves the Puritans but disagrees with Owen on this point had better have some more convincing ammunition.

Owen is also proof that those today who mockingly deride song lyrics or writers' statements referring to -- as the mockers put it -- "Jesus as my boyfriend," either don't know through personal experience, or don't remember ever reading about others' experiences, of the depth of spiritual affections, from which such longings spring -- from both the redeemed lover of Jesus, and the Spirit of Jesus Himself.

Believe me -- Owen was not writing intellectual, doctrinal statements in this book. He was using Scripture to support arguments that describe what type of normal, earthly relationship with God the believer should work and pray toward.

Owen is stating plainly that anyone desiring a *mature* spiritual relationship with Jesus, through His Spirit, will eventually be invited by the Spirit into a deeper relationship, for which the deep affections of marital love are the only comparison. Most Protestants today have little teaching on this, because it's part of the entire contemplative spiritual lifestyle that was well-known before the Protestant breach with Rome, but almost completely lost since. Owen's generation still knew and understood what was possible for the spiritually hungry person. The Orthodox and Roman Churches still know and teach on developing a deeper, mature relationship with Jesus, through the activated spiritual senses that correspond to the passion and longing experienced in marital love. There are some in both traditions who hear and respond to the voice of the Beloved, and have centuries of written counsel available to them as they proceed.

Today, we have songs that express a deep heart-cry for that relationship: we're "Desperate for You/Lost Without You." The longing for a rich, deep inner life with Christ is, IMHO, a gift that the Spirit is *offering* this generation saturated with media enticements and shallow relationships that can't satisfy. This spiritual relationship with Jesus is part of the Spirit's "hidden-manna" reward for adopting the radical, fasting-interceding prayer lifestyle that is spreading like prairie fire.

This is also the secret reward for those called to singlehood, and for all married people who know there is still deep yearning for "MORE" in their hearts, that the physical relationship only hints at: the gradual development of a rich, inner love life with the Divine Husband. (Remember Paul instructing married believers not to stay away from each other, except for times of prayer, and then to come together again? What other relational expression could be higher, to God, than physical affection between marrieds, *except* spiritual affections exchanged with the Heavenly Spouse?)

But who today is pointing the way to the reality and richness of that relationship? As long as Protestant leaders teach a vague, or a distant "employee's" or "servant's" relationship with JESUS (their vision perhaps hindered by the "plank" of The Cross?, or other worthy but secondary goals), believers will never understand the depth of the relationship on Earth that is possible with their Beloved.

Many will be frustrated when they plateau at a certain level of relationship with God, and no amount of extra Bible study; typical word-filled, "needs" prayers; and service will satisfy their hunger and thirst for "MORE" of JESUS. I've seen and counseled a number of these puzzled people in the past few years -- and tried to point them to the reality of a deeper, quieter walk with JESUS that, paradoxically, results in fresh joy and delight for selfless service.

We need to be taught by human leaders about these truths, but primarily by the Shepherd's voice as he woos and leads us, over the years, into this deep walk with Jesus Himself. I highly recommend Teresa of Avila's book, "The Interior Castle," for a detailed description of the path God takes in leading one from the outer courts -- where the enemy harrasses and discourages us so aggressively -- to ultimate union with Him. This process is something possible in this lifetime for some, and wonderfully rewarding to anyone who finds themselves caring more about Jesus and His desires, and less about their own problems.

Two excellent books by living authors describing this desire of God, and the process by which He calls us, are Jim W. Goll's "Wasted on Jesus," and Jan Johnson's "When the Soul Listens." There are many others I can recommend, but these, in addition to Owen's, are a great beginning.

In the Western Protestant Church, Mike Bickle's Friends of the Bridegroom (www.fotb.com) is one ministry that has grasped, understood and taught on this reality. (They're having their annual Passion For Jesus conference on March 9-11 in Kansas City!)

I have to say, however, that we can't approach these truths of scripture plus scripture-backed experience of past believers, primarily with our left-brain, "doctrinal" minds. This isn't doctrine being taught -- it's living spiritual relationship. You can't teach or grasp this in five-point sermons; it's much more like the way we understand Jesus' parables by meditating on them quietly, in our own, away from the noise and bustle. After being taught, we must do -- by getting still and quiet before God, in what appears to the left-brain as a total waste of time. Many are called, but few are (self-)chosen.

Baxter's Boy said...

Thanks so much for reminding me of Volume 2 - I haven't read it for a while, but I was particularly interested to be reminded of Owen's use of marriage terminology in the whole discussion of how we relate to God. And of course how vital the Song of Solomon plays a role in that! I love the book! It is packed full of such richness - and although I am single, I enjoy and draw much on it because it speaks of how I can relate to God - His delight in me - the depth of feelings and passions that we should have towards Him! Hence it IS disturbing to me to come across views that would seek to discount that and argue that it is purely a book of instruction about sex. I find such a view dishonouring and distressing to say the least. But I have gone on about Song of Solomon in great depth earlier so I won't repeat that here!

I've almost finished Volume 6 of Owen on Temptation and Sin and I am amazed - absolutely AMAZED at the role he attributes to the Holy Spirit. And we call OURSELVES charismatics!?!? His teaching is utterly clear - without the Spirit, we can do NOTHING!! Accountability groups ... are meaningless and useless if we do not allow the Spirit to take charge.

I am looking forward to including and reprinting the sections on this and his words about superior pleasure triumphing - that the "forbidden lusts" do not even match the awesome delight in the Lover of our Souls! John Piper - move over!!

So yes, thank you for stimulating me to this study - its been useful and important, and I think it absolutely DOES tie in with our simultaneous discussion on the Gospel. Because I think the views that we hold so central there, will affect how we play out the mortifying of sin.

Sheila said...

Well, Don stole my thunder. I've read the entries on grace, and listened to the messages by Terry Virgo - and all of it is so very soul-enriching! I had a near-brush with legalism as a young, soon-to-be pastor's wife. I'm sad and embarrassed to tell you I even wore a DOILY on my HEAD for a number of weeks!! (headcovering) I can see now that PART OF my heart was simply passionate to serve God, and I was willing to do what no one else in our charismatic fellowship was doing...which was (ahem) wearing a doily on the head. But there was another part of my heart that was self righteous and ready to latch on to any doctrine or practice that smacked of being "radical". I was also in the habit of popping off my head and handing it over to some well meaning Christians, and saying, "Here. Fill this with YOUR passions, your ideas, your doctrine. I'm too busy to forge it for myself."

...a dangerous practice (that popping off your head thing) that I have since left off.

At the time, my husband and I were preparing to be sent out by our parent church, to plant a new fellowship. The sending out day was on the immediate horizon, and there I went...showing up at church with a doily on my head. The only thing that saved me from a headlong fall from grace was our pastor - the man who identified our pastoral gifts and sent us out, and who is aggressively violent against legalism! ;-) I am grateful for the training I'd received regarding full submission to leadership, because it was for that reason alone I took the doily off.

I could not reconcile the Corinthian chapter (11) at the time. I thought, "If it is in the Word, shouldn't I be doing it?" Our pastor called my husband into his office, and angrily asked, "Is your wife wearing a headcovering?" My husband answered in the affirmative - telling our pastor that he was letting me sort of "work out my own salvation" without his interference. (My husband was in the process of figuring out what to do with me - HA!)

Our pastor cut to the chase. He said, "Tell her to get that...that...that THING off her head today. Tell her *I* said so. The enemy is trying to kill your church plant before it even gets started...brother, a spirit of legalism plays for keeps. Your wife must be instructed by you never to toy with it! Legalism will choke the life out of your church, and this headcovering thing has split and destroyed every church that I have personal knowlege of. It is from the pit of hell."

ACK! (That is my "laugh").

What was a girl to do, but take off her doily? AND get into the Scriptures to find out why I had no foundation in grace. (reason: A legalistic upbringing)

Truthfully, the headcovering thing was just an outward manifestation of an inward effort to add to the grace of God. I was treading DANGEROUS territory. Thank God for spiritual oversight that was bold and determined.

Well, I have to tell you, my newfound friends, it was a long journey - one that I am yet (with joy) making still today. I am more free today than ever before, but even as recently as four weeks ago, I rec'd a prophecy from a brother who did not know me, saying, "Why do you criticize what I(God) have accepted? Why do you put yourself down? When will you stop performing and simply live in grace?"

Darn. I thought I had this grace thing all "together" by now. I considered myself even a wee bit mature in grace.

Anyway. Here is how Don stole my thunder. I've been considering how that grace flows from a *person* who is altogether lovely. I've been pondering how that there IS no real understanding of grace without a long and obedient gazing in one direction - examining and reveling in the person of the Bridegroom.


Then, last week, I got hold of my first Mike Bickle book. (I know..."Where have *I* been??") I really thought I had a GIANT contribution to this discussion - I was all ready to recommend Bickle's books and ministry. Don beat me to it.

But I do have one other tremendous resource! There is an out of print book by Jeff Harkin (oh, I HOPE I got that name correct!) entitled "Grace Plus Nothing". Everytime my husband finds a copy of this book, online or otherwise, he snatches it up to give away to some grace-bereft soul in our church. Reading the book has placed many on the road to freedom.

But still...looking at grace and looking at Jesus are two different things. I believe that a heart's discovery of how utterly delighted the Lord is in us is THE foundation of all understanding of grace. I'm delighted to see that your thoughts are running along the same lines.

Baxter's Boy said...

Fantastic to read your account Sheila and see how God has irresistably drawn you to His grace! I feel such an affinity with you, because I too had a strong legalistic background. Our home church believed strongly in head covering also! Although we didn't have the doilys - our ladies had berets ...

And for me it was a case of realising that if I wore a suit and a tie and sat in the orchestra (bands were far too charismatic) I would be spoken well of. So this was my upbringing.

I guess I still struggle with that overhang from the past in that I long for people to think well of me and to approve me. This is why I think I was so so utterly devastated when the pastor of my previous church uttered his sentence; "Dirty sinner" and "disfellowshipped me". It was only literally a year later when Terry Virgo came to speak and just radically broke through into my life and I realised that the sentence that God has uttered on my life is; "Forgiven, cleansed, loved, precious, spotless in My Son!!!". And guess what I realised - that God's sentence is the ONLY one that counts!!!

So that is why those Terry Virgo talks are so extremely precious to me. And that is why I am beginning to realise more and more how Paul could get SO ANGRY with the Galatians because of their legalism!! Because it is (and still does) ROBBING the saints of their inheritance!!

So thank you again Sheila so much. It's such an enormous joy and privilidge to get your contributions and if anything help me think through and re-think through these glorious truths!!

Don said...

I agree completely with Dan -- thanks, Sheila, for your insightful contribution on Grace!

I am attracted to obey more by beauty and loving encouragement, than by punishment and shame (I once did a word study on "shame", "ashamed" and "unashamed" in the Bible -- amazingly, it is the worship of idols that will *always* bring one shame, while the reverse is true for the worship of the true God!). While I understand the need for areas of continuing rebellion and blind-spots to be revealed, I am much less apt to deny-and-defend when my "accuser" has a loving and redemptive attitude. Sounds like your former church wasn't committed to walking out a redemptive process with you, Dan.

I always thought it interesting the interpretation placed on Jesus' command to treat unrepentant, church members stuck in sin like "sinners and tax-collectors" and put them outside the local church. We usually interpret that to mean we should avoid them. But what if Jesus meant we should continue to pray for and pursue them, as we would an unsaved sinner or tax-collector, and so woo them with loving grace -- and the ministry of the Spirit released through intercessory prayer -- into an *authentic* born-again relationship with Jesus? Just a thought.

We now live in an area where many well-meaning women are using headcoverings. Can you give us an understanding, Sheila, of how God led you to discover grace and abandon the headcovering (besides the pastor's command!)? The ladies we know are trying to exhibit submission to their husband or father, and obedience to Scripture.

Two more excellent grace-centered books are "The Rest of the Gospel" (there's a play-on-words in the title), by Dan Stone; and, Grace Walk, by Steve McVey. Both these books are by pastors who suffered under the heavy burden of Christian legalism, before the Spirit of Jesus freed them.

I will check out the Harkin book on Amazon. Thank you for that tip!

And keep the Owen comin', Dan!

Sheila said...

The "Grace Plus Nothing" book is by no means a seminal, scholarly work...it is a street-level, "every man's" explanation of grace. That is precisely why it is such a powerful tool in any pastor's toolkit. Anyone can read and understand.

To answer your question, Don, about how God led me to discover grace and abandon the doily, I'd have to tell you how I got INTO legalism.

Sure, my background was intensely legalistic. My mother would not allow me to wear pants to school...to PUBLIC school. I was told that Christians were "in the world, not of it." I had 5 minute telephone limits imposed on me as a teenager - so as to "redeem the time" and not fall prey to evil influences. And those instances are the tip of the iceberg! I can remember being asked, at the tender age of 15 (and I exhibited a very real hunger for God and a walk with God from the time I was small...) "Are you even SAVED??" I can't remember - I might have worn pants to school or told a lie to warrant the question. ;-)

Then, I got married, had children, and the Lord led us to home educate them. OOooooh BOY. *I* thought I was signing up to teach my children at home. What I was REALLY signing up for, was to be assaulted with new rules! These well meaning saints will try to take over your life, all the way from your demographics (really holy people move out to the boonies and teach themselves survival skills since all of life is viewed through a very apocolyptic lens)...they wanted to impart their views on everything from the checkbook to the bedroom. (Birth control is a lack of trust in God, doncha know??)

Then I was told that, to be a REALLY dedicated Christian mother, I had to grind my own grain to bake my own bread. (You think I'm joking, don't you? There is a popular twisting of the Scripture with these folks, "spending your money on that which is not bread..")

Granny dresses and headcoverings were next.

So that's how I got INTO it. Today, I love to torment devils of legalism. ;-) (I'm being tongue-in-cheek of course) I almost wonder if I should repent of my intense dislike of legalists. ("God loves them too"...GAH! I love 'em, but I don't like 'em.)

How I got out of it was by divine design and deliverance! I say I had a "near brush with legalism" in the full sense of the play on words. Most folks expect you to say you had a "near death" experience, or a near brush with death. Same thing! To come as close as I got to legalism was as close to spiritual death as I ever want to be. I was so very close to demise.

It all started when one of the associate pastors at our church (the one that later sent us out) spoke to my husband and I about his love for James Taylor's music. We were becoming friends with this precious converted Jewish man, respected him greatly...and he was telling us how much he loved James Taylor??? But...but...JT is SECULAR! (scary shiver)

So I figured if Neil Silverberg, Godly man and extraordinary Bible teacher, loved James Taylor, I could revive my love for James Taylor...and Three Dog Night...and I went downhill from there into discovering a great love for jazz. My husband began to privately sing the lyrics to a few Boston songs...and he found Eric Clapton and BB King to be positively therapeutic!

From there, I began to have an occasional glass of wine with my dinner. Oh heavens...all this and Jesus too!!!! Could life get any better?

Now I'm a full fledged, card carrying member of the Grace Club. I still have boundaries...but they are not artificial, they make spiritual SENSE.

So again, I thank God for the pastor that forbade me to wear doilies. And I am equally thankful for the James Taylor fan...the associate pastor who lived grace out in front of us...I think he got to know us well enough to know we would not stumble over his secrets! ;-)

Had I not been a part of a healthy local church, I'd not have been delivered. I learned grace from watching others walk in it.

Sheila said...

The "Grace Plus Nothing" book is by no means a seminal, scholarly work...it is a street-level, "every man's" explanation of grace. That is precisely why it is such a powerful tool in any pastor's toolkit. Anyone can read and understand.

To answer your question, Don, about how God led me to discover grace and abandon the doily, I'd have to tell you how I got INTO legalism.

Sure, my background was intensely legalistic. My mother would not allow me to wear pants to school...to PUBLIC school. I was told that Christians were "in the world, not of it." I had 5 minute telephone limits imposed on me as a teenager - so as to "redeem the time" and not fall prey to evil influences. And those instances are the tip of the iceberg! I can remember being asked, at the tender age of 15 (and I exhibited a very real hunger for God and a walk with God from the time I was small...) "Are you even SAVED??" I can't remember - I might have worn pants to school or told a lie to warrant the question. ;-)

Then, I got married, had children, and the Lord led us to home educate them. OOooooh BOY. *I* thought I was signing up to teach my children at home. What I was REALLY signing up for, was to be assaulted with new rules! These well meaning saints will try to take over your life, all the way from your demographics (really holy people move out to the boonies and teach themselves survival skills since all of life is viewed through a very apocolyptic lens)...they wanted to impart their views on everything from the checkbook to the bedroom. (Birth control is a lack of trust in God, doncha know??)

Then I was told that, to be a REALLY dedicated Christian mother, I had to grind my own grain to bake my own bread. (You think I'm joking, don't you? There is a popular twisting of the Scripture with these folks, "spending your money on that which is not bread..")

Granny dresses and headcoverings were next.

So that's how I got INTO it. Today, I love to torment devils of legalism. ;-) (I'm being tongue-in-cheek of course) I almost wonder if I should repent of my intense dislike of legalists. ("God loves them too"...GAH! I love 'em, but I don't like 'em.)

How I got out of it was by divine design and deliverance! I say I had a "near brush with legalism" in the full sense of the play on words. Most folks expect you to say you had a "near death" experience, or a near brush with death. Same thing! To come as close as I got to legalism was as close to spiritual death as I ever want to be. I was so very close to demise.

It all started when one of the associate pastors at our church (the one that later sent us out) spoke to my husband and I about his love for James Taylor's music. We were becoming friends with this precious converted Jewish man, respected him greatly...and he was telling us how much he loved James Taylor??? But...but...JT is SECULAR! (scary shiver)

So I figured if Neil Silverberg, Godly man and extraordinary Bible teacher, loved James Taylor, I could revive my love for James Taylor...and Three Dog Night...and I went downhill from there into discovering a great love for jazz. My husband began to privately sing the lyrics to a few Boston songs...and he found Eric Clapton and BB King to be positively therapeutic!

From there, I began to have an occasional glass of wine with my dinner. Oh heavens...all this and Jesus too!!!! Could life get any better?

Now I'm a full fledged, card carrying member of the Grace Club. I still have boundaries...but they are not artificial, they make spiritual SENSE.

So again, I thank God for the pastor that forbade me to wear doilies. And I am equally thankful for the James Taylor fan...the associate pastor who lived grace out in front of us...I think he got to know us well enough to know we would not stumble over his secrets! ;-)

Had I not been a part of a healthy local church, I'd not have been delivered. I learned grace from watching others walk in it.

roger said...

You mention comments by your former pastor ("Dirty sinner" & "Disfellowshipped"), and as i have followed your blog i have read other negative comments you have made. However, don't you think the term "no smoke without fire" might apply here?

Dan said...

Thanks for your comment Roger, you are certainly free to make up your own mind on whatever 'negative comments' I have made. Unfortunately to give you an answer as to whether there was 'no smoke without fire' would mean that I gave a full and detailed account of what happened in that situation, and out of respect for my family who are still in that particular church, that isn't something I am prepared to do publicly on the website.

I could assure you that actually in this case, there was indeed no fire, but unfortunately being humans we find it almost impossible to approach situations especially ones that involve us, without a degree of bias, so I don't expect you to take my word on that. I am sure that the individuals involved were sincere in what they were trying to do ... It was just extremely unfortunate that I was the one at the focus of that.

That's all I can say for now.

ollie said...

Amen. Thats a really God-honouring way to write and act. Your story would be a great and useful thing to hear at some point, but in the right context and causing the least amount of hurt to your loved ones. And let me point out that the amount of positive stuff that you write VASTLY outweighs any negative stuff!

roger said...

If you have been so badly treated, and without cause (i.e. there being smoke without fire) why do you parents remain in the church there?

To "ollie" the negative SGM stuff isn't outweighed by the positive.

dan said...

To "Roger", why my parents stay there is a matter really for my parents isn't it. I don't have authority over where they choose to fellowship and neither they me.

dan said...

Regarding the negative comments versus the positive, I have had a thought. To me it is like the break up of a relationship - to begin with, you often don't have a good word to say about the other party - especially if the break up was painful. But after time goes by, and healing comes - you begin to remember what was good. That's already begun with me re: SGM and I am confident it will only increase.

ols said...

Amen! Furthermore note the comments from John MacArthur in the Q and A session that you have just reported on. ANY public ministry is worthy of criticism - just because they are popular does not mean they are immune! The question should not be are they negative or not, but are they justified or not.