2013-07-14 - 3 John: Introduction
3 John ~ Introduction
There are people, who in their commitment to a specific point of view, lose sight of God's call to care for one another. They will not work with anyone who doesn't follow the party line. Sadly, the party line can be drawn over issues that are of no real consequence.
I remember one meeting of a group of pastors. An elderly pastor was highly critical of some of the younger men. Some of the churches within his affiliation had decided to send members to a Sunday School convention. It was held, Heaven forbid, in a "Pentecostal" church. (The church, by the way, was Assemblies of God.)
Regardless of one's position on the charismatic movement, the convention wasn't put on by the church. The fact of the matter was that the convention is a valuable service provided to the local Christian community. Laity and clergy would be well-served by attending. To stay away, because of some perceived differences, would have been detrimental to those who could have benefited from attending.
Now I don't question the sincerity of the older pastor. He came out of a system and era that didn't recognize the need to work across lines where disagreement was on secondary issues. There are basic doctrines held by orthodox Christianity which are not up for compromise. These, as we have seen elsewhere in these epistles, relate to the incarnation and the propitiatory work of Christ on the cross. These are to be the basis for separatism.
There are many individuals who function similarly to this godly old saint. The difference, though, is that this behavior is not due to misguided separatism. These individuals want to protect their own power and position within the church..
The problem created by these people isn't just their own loss of fellowship. They can bring dissension and battle into the local church. In some cases, this kind of activity can lead to a split within the church. People can fight with one another, and finally a church can be destroyed over these self-serving types of behaviors.
To be continued.
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