At a leadership training meeting the following Sunday evening, I attempted to follow the biblical instruction to "mark or identify, those who cause divisions among you contrary to the doctrines you have received of us so that you (and the rest of the body) can avoid them". And instead of the pastor REBUKING the man who confessed this demonic doctrine (Rm. 16:17), he turned on me.
He attacked my approach as being angry, my delivery as being crude and my question as being provocative. The pastor then stated that this man only answered yes to the question because my question made him angry". A number of fellow trainees offered comments in support of what the pastor was saying, so I got up and walked out of the meeting. A week later, this same man gave his 'testimony' at the pastor's request, and stated the same thing in a little different words. He said: "After I was saved, I again found myself a slave to sin - and stayed in sin for many years, but never lost my salvation."
The biblical instruction of Rom 16:17, whether by design or not, got completely lost the moment the pastor begin to attack me. This heretical man was made out to be the victim while I was castigated as being some sort of dissenter who was attempting to divide the body. I later told the pastor in a one-on-one meeting that I believed him to be the schismatic because he created a schism the moment he knowingly invited that heretical man, and others who shared his beliefs, into the church and acknowledged them as brothers in Christ and made them members.
His rather clumsy excuse was that in his opinion, a person who clings to heretical beliefs is not really a heretic unless they are conscious of the fact that their false beliefs are actually false. As long as they were adhering to those false beliefs in ignorance, they could be welcomed into the church as a brother or sister in Christ. I said, well that sounds fair on the face of it, pastor, but what scriptures can you give me to support that conclusion? He stated that he couldn't think of any but then reminded me that he had already told me that it was just his opinion. I said and what about Rom 16:17? We are clearly given the 'reason' why we should mark such persons and why we should avoid them. Then I told him in plain words that if one of those heretical persons through their good sounding words and fair speeches deceived the heart of even one of those young Christians and they go back to sin, and die in their sin, their blood (their spiritual death) will be on his hands.
I further told him that 2,000 years ago, such who would turn the grace of our Lord into a license for sin had to sneak into the church and use a great deal of subtlety and craftiness to get their demonic doctrines established. (JUDE 1:4), but today pastors like yourself are actively courting them, so that you can gain the support of the larger church community who believe as they do.
He stated that I would have to submit to his leadership in this matter if I wanted to be a member of HIS church. I said I could never submit to a pastor who would willfully ignore the scriptures in favor of his own unsupported opinion that was clearly contrary to the scriptures. I haven't been back since.... May God help us to see what time it is.
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