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LOVING THE BRETHREN?
In the book of John, we read the following:
It is pretty clear: those whom have been redeemed by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and have been justified by faith in Him as personal Savior from sin, are to love one another in the same way in which Christ loved us. I will admit that sometimes that can be quite a challenge. There are believers who make it very difficult at best to love them. Still, to be obedient and in fellowship with our Lord and Savior, we are to love them.
In the book of Ephesians, we read:
This too, is abundantly clear: what comes forth out of a believer's mouth is to minister grace to all who are in listening range. Or reading!
Of late we are witnessing a barrage of attacks unlike at any other time in church history. Some of that may be due to the fact of technology and the speed upon which access to information occurs. It is only normal for the world and false religions to attack, criticize, poke fun at, dismiss, and seek to limit born again believers. We are considered fair game to be on the receiving end of discrimination, hate speech, or persecution, and the hunting season is open always. Calling evil good and good evil happens all the time, but now with greater frequency, and from broader sources.
Take for example, the strange case of Southern Baptist pastor, Rick Warren. A pastor of a mega church in California and author of a best-selling book, as well as conducting successful seminars, Pastor Warren made some pointedly hateful, unloving, caustic, and judgmental statements concerning me. Oh, not me personally, but what and whom I identify with. Listen carefully: he likened fundamental Christians (brethren) with Islamic terrorism, secular atheism, and called us the greatest danger and threat of the day in the world. Documentation is available upon request.
The Word of God is my authority and standard. It is absolute truth and perfect in far more than faith and practice. I do not idolize the Bible, but I believe what it says to be so, and try diligently to live out its commands, exhortations, and purposes. I wish that I have been 100% successful, but sorrowfully cannot say that. As an independent fundamental Baptist pastor, I have not and do not legislate what people can or cannot do, nor do I advocate or suggest that someone meet my standards to be saved (the original meaning of a legalist before the revisionist pseudo-scholars got a hold of it). I am not, nor are the fundamental people that I know, 5 point fundamentalists. There are many more than five. The name fundamentalist came from the book called, The Fundamentals . It was a collection of writings by men of many different theological persuasions, all maintaining the same position as to the Word of God and against the attacks by the Modernists and Infidels of their day. The book is also valid against Post-Modernism and Neo-Evangelical drifting into apostasy. It is still in print and I highly recommend reading it. I offered it to any of our church people who promised that they would read it, and personally bought the books for them. Anyone who reads the book cannot make the statements and allegations that Pastor Warren has 'purposefully' made.
On the basis of the Word of God, Pastor Warren is either 1) a believer with unconfessed sin in his life over these statements about the brethren: There is the absence of kindness and love of any degree in those remarks. The statements do not edify the brethren, but rather, divide. His later clarification and an earlier statement show a tremendous inaccuracy concerning fundamentalism, as well as a divisive, judgmental disdain for the brethren of fundamental persuasion, enhancing the scripture's charge of sin in his life for not loving the brethren; or, 2) Pastor Warren is a wolf pretending to be a sheep. You may think that there are more choices than this, but then we must go outside God's Word, and if we do, then we might as well not go back to a book one believes to be incomplete and insufficient.
Brethren, we must be careful in how we say what we say. Love is based on truth, and we are to speak the truth in love at all times, whether we want to or not. We are to have no agenda but God's agenda, and we are to do God's work in God's way. His Word tells us how. Furthermore, we who are brethren in Christ should all pray for Pastor Warren that the Holy Spirit would convict him to make things right with the Lord and the brethren he judged, and that the Lord would then bless his church ministry. Or, that he might be saved before it is too late.