Wednesday, March 5, 2008

when to cut and run...or stay and fight?

I've never had much of a problem fighting for things or standing up despite the opposition. For instance, I distinctly remember refusing to do any homework related to evolution in the 7th grade. I took F's on every assignment. At the time, it was more important than my teacher, my grades or my parents misgivings. I stood and fought.

Another time, I spoke out against what I saw as a wrong choice for youth minister. In the end, after fighting, I cut my losses and moved on.

In both cases, looking back, I was basically just an arrogant stuck up punk. I wasn't a believer and the convictions I had were based in large part on what I felt they should be...not what they actually were. I acted in my own best interest and not God's.

There are two situations at present that I am dealing with that need action. One, is immediate. I must stand and fight for a teacher (a music teacher) to keep his job. Despite all the minor things going on, despite some discrepancies, this guy deserves his job. And so, I will fight for as long as the option is available. Right now, it looks like the chances of the job remaining are about 0%. But, still, I fight on principle. I believe that this man was stripped of dignity afforded to him by being a human being and made in the image of God therefore I will stand.

The other issue is much more difficult. It has to do with my current church association. (Not the physical church where I pastor, but the larger body that governs my church.)

You see, there is a person who teaches (not as a pastor, but as a layperson) at a sister church within the association what I deem as heretical things. Now, before you get all out of place about things (because I know some of you will) this has nothing to do with any famous persons that rhyme with shell, mcfaron, or legit.

I'm fairly familiar with his teachings and I know that they don't fly with the Bible, orthodox Christianity, or what I think is the association. But, here's the issue, I'm not sure.

So, in order for the good name of God not to be made a mockery of by this man, I have resolved to write a letter to the powers that be in the organization to inquire whether or not they are upset by this guy. My hope is that they say "He teaches what?!" and then they talk with the individual church and the guy is removed from teaching.

If, however, they say something more akin to "What's wrong with this stuff?", I will be forced to again decide whether to work to reform the organization for the glorious name of God or to abandon ship and leave them to their demise.

These type of things are not peculiar to me, we each face them often. Like Paul throughout the book of Acts, we must seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit and determine whether to stay or go.

A great assurance in these things comes from Philippians 2:12-13. In it, we are encourage to "work out your salvation with fear and trembling." So, we are to be constantly working to be more Christ-minded and Christ-acting. And then the great promise comes in v.13 "for it is God who is at work in you both to will and to act according to his good purpose."

It is here that I rest assured. God is at work in me and I am confident that as I strive to be more like Christ that his good will is accomplished through my decisions to fight or flee.

Rarely, if ever, are we to flee when it is the great name of God that we are defending...for we should never fear anything when we are defending him. It is only when we think of protecting our own good name that it may be appropriate to flee. I think if you read through Acts and the OT history that you will see that that is the case.

As I consider what my decision will be (of course, hopefully, it will not come to this) I must make sure that I am doing this for God's glory and not mine.


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