Strict//EN" ""> EAGLES' REST: Do You Suppose God Really MEANT It?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Do You Suppose God Really MEANT It?

I saw a comment on another blog that gave me cause to pause, as it were. The comment referred to someone who claimed to be evangelistic, but tended to stay at his job, rather than going out "witnessing". That seems to suggest a misunderstanding of how this "body" is supposed to work.

I figure God wouldn't have said all that stuff about our being a Body ... the Body of Christ, in fact ... unless He intended for us to act like one.

One of the tendencies I've noted among different Christian workers is to trot out the scripture that (presumably) spoke to them, and use it to prompt others to do those same things, too. Sam Neugent, who used to be our Worship Leader at FBC Pelham, has joined a missionary organization which plants churches in foreign countries. I've heard him quote the Great Commission, saying that passage tells the listeners that they, too, should go to a foreign country to witness, to people. And that point, I disagree with.

I have to ask myself to whom was the Great Commission spoken? If it was spoken to Jesus' disciples, then they didn't do what He told them. They failed. Unless each one of them actually went into all the world! And I don't think any of them did. In fact, I don't think the disciples collectively traveled to every country on earth. BUT ... if the command .. the Great Commission ... was given to the church, rather than the individuals, then the command has, indeed, been followed.

I really don't think that's a lot different from God's command to Adam and Eve, to multiply and fill the earth. There are several billion people on earth now, and I'm pretty sure they weren't all born to Mrs. Adam. So, I'm guessing that order was given to mankind, not just the two people.

So it is, I think, with the Great Commission and the church. It's the church's responsibility to see that it happens. And that can have practical implications ... including discouragement ... if it isn't understood.

One such incident surfaced a few weeks ago, in my Sunday evening class on "Serving God". A young lady, bright and intelligent, and actively engaged in the discussions. Toward the end, she expressed guilt that she wasn't out "knocking on doors" witnessing to people. She has been gifted by God in ways the Holy Spirit has decided He wants her to be gifted. She's a very giving and hospitable person, yet she felt guilty because she wasn't out "witnessing".

That may be a failure of the church. In fact, it may be one of the biggest ... the fact that the church does not seem to teach much about the Holy Ghost, and how He gifts us to take part in God's redemptive plan. So the church sort of lurches along, oft times with people in areas God never gifted them for, while folks whom God has uniquely gifted to do the job in that area, sit idly by, themselves. Or maybe those folks work in some area of the church they aren't gifted for, either.

But that isn't what prompted me to write this, either. I'm thinking of what happens to the human body when it rejects part of itself. Like organ rejection. That organ is severely compromised in its effectiveness, its life is jeopardized, and the life of the body itself is threatened.

When I think of missionary candidates who are rejected because God has given them the gift of unknown tongues (I'm sick of people calling that gift a "private prayer language" ... the Bible says it is "tongues", and I thought what the Bible says was supposed to be good enough for Baptists, but maybe it isn't...). or are rejected because their Baptism wasn't in an SBC church ... you know .. the kind that lies about membership numbers, and can't account for even the whereabouts of over half the members.

And need I even mention Dr. Klouda and her rejection at the hands of one man whom many still seem to hold in high regard? And if you feel up to complaining about that remark, I'm open to criticism from anyone who has spent three hours in Dr. Klouda's home, talking to her person-to-person. Others, I do not consider qualified.

Or maybe there's rejection in the form of ostracizing comments, ungodly speech, and intolerance shown on comments on a blog.

Or, or .. well, who knows how many ways we can find of expressing rejection amongst us Baptists. We seem to be pretty good at it, don't we?

We're a Body ... the Body of Christ. It's time we acted like it.

Remember, while the Body will be in Heaven, the SBC won't. And we won't be Baptists when we're there, either

Thank God.

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At 10:27 AM, October 18, 2008, Anonymous jeraldd said...

Thanks so much for this post. I was once associated with a church whose pastor was very evangelistic but not very mission minded and discipleship seemed to be just necessary because he had Sunday school in his church.
Can you think of a time when an encounter with someone who just talked and talked and talked became painful? And, it can’t just be in the doing either. There must be a balance.
Possibly you can write a post on balance some day.
Thanks for your words.

At 11:56 AM, October 18, 2008, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...


Check Romans and 1 Corinthians and Paul's admonitions as to how the gifts are to be distributed in the church .. some prophets, some evangelists, some teachers, etc .. and the listing of various gifts like encouragement, giving, helping, administration and the others all fit together. When folks study gifts and their giftedness, the balance is achieved in the local body.

Great, great tragedy in the local churches, that those things aren't done.

Thanks for reading and commenting. Do come again.

At 12:12 AM, October 19, 2008, Blogger kerbeary said...

Hi, I jumped over to your blog from Pioneer Woman because your comment made me laugh out loud!
I was surprized and delighted to find an intelligent dialogue about church life. Thanks for the thought provoking blog, and the good laugh.

At 8:38 PM, October 20, 2008, Anonymous Lee said...

If we still think that simply getting out and knocking on doors is an effective means of witnessing, we've missed the whole point. It takes more than a casual conversation with a stranger at their door, and a small printed tract with just the right words on it to be a witness for Christ. It requires living out the gospel in a relationship that creates trust in the bearer of the testimony, so that what they see is not someone mechanically "spreading their faith" in some anonymous way, but a life miraculously transformed by God's Holy Spirit. That is something we cannot accomplish on our own strength, as Jesus says, "Apart from me, you can do nothing.

At 10:23 PM, October 26, 2008, Blogger Alan Paul said...

The whole idea of someone being my Holy Spirit has always bothered me... they see "the light" and they somehow think everyone else should as well. Makes think they don't want to knock on doors (or whatever it is) themselves, but have been guilted into it by someone else.

BTW: I hate it when anyone comes to my door selling me anything - especially religion. I have enver once "bought" anything from someone bothering me at home. And I don't know anyone else who has either. I even had a friend who posted the city ordinance against door-to-door solicitation on his front door to discourage anyone from ringing his door bell!


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