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Author Topic: WOUNDED PILGRIMS  (Read 153772 times)
Kimberley Tobin
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« Reply #30 on: January 23, 2003, 09:43:51 am »

Garth, I KNOW you do!  That's why I am glad you are letting others see it! Cheesy Cheesy

Like we've discussed, there is a process one goes through upon "leaving" the assembly (to varying degrees): euphoria (we are FREE AT LAST-FREEBIRD), anger and grief (I'm sure there are more-anyone else feel free to post more.)  I believe each stage is valid, but we must move THROUGH them.  We shouldn't be staying in one stage too long.  That's why I love this BB.  It is a place of refuge (for the most part) for those of us who have been through a similar situation and we can help one another through the different stages.

Isn't it great to be involved in so many dear brothers and sisters lives, not to mention making new friends? Cheesy
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freebird
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« Reply #31 on: January 23, 2003, 09:48:43 am »

KimberlEy,

Thanks.  You are a good friend.  I can even spell your name correctly!! Smiley
« Last Edit: January 23, 2003, 09:49:09 am by FREEBIRD (Garth) » Logged
4Him
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« Reply #32 on: January 23, 2003, 10:19:33 am »

Garth & Kimberley,
You are both, IMHO, right on the mark, and at such a time as this.  I believe, after the character of George was made clear to everyone (well, almost everyone), that many need to just hear the plain encouragement of Christ and see that He is greater than anyone's failure.  How blest we are to have such a Savior.  I can see that He's changing all of us (tho' I for one, have a long way to go).

The love of God is greater far
than tongue or pen can ever tell,
...

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Kimberley Tobin
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« Reply #33 on: January 23, 2003, 12:03:16 pm »

Jesusfreak:  Your first point is a good one.  Your second point is good as well, we especially need for men and women who are left fellowshipping in various localities to pray that the Lord's will would be revealed to them.  

Now for my concern.  These same men and women have followed after a wicked man for numerous years, many for decades.  His teaching has proven to be cultish and heretical.  These men and women two weeks ago would have told you they KNEW it was God's will that they follow after this same man.  My concern is that if localities do not follow after the example of SLO and seek pastoral counseling, they could simply reproduce a similar system, which will continue to produce the bad fruit it has been producing for years.  So, do I disapprove of believers meeting in a house "under the auspices of praise and worhsip to Christ?"   NO!  Just that these believers would get help so as not to reproduce the same thing just with a new "George."
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al Hartman
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« Reply #34 on: February 01, 2005, 12:49:56 am »




Mark et al,

I found this article on the fotf website:

Overcoming a Bad Church Experience
by David Sanford

            www.family.org/married/growth/a0025601.cfm

Any comments?

Marcia


Excellent article-- Thanks, Marcia!

Here are a couple of excerpted statements that stood out to me:

Quote

At that point in their lives, Colleen and Eric weren't really searching for God — just the acceptance of a group of peers. So when they started noticing the church leadership's apparent contradictions and deception, they kept quiet. What they didn't know for several years: their church was part of a now-discredited cult.

Despite the guilt that Colleen felt from being in a cult, she wouldn't change her past. Why? God has allowed her to share her story with and assist others who have had bad church experiences.

You don't have to join a cult to have a bad church experience.

Approximately 22 million Americans say they are Christians and made a faith commitment to Jesus Christ, and say that commitment is still important to them, but they have struggled with faith or relational issues and therefore quit going to church.

Tens of thousands more will join their ranks this week.  (emphasis mine)
[/size]

Please check out the whole article at the link Marcia posted.  It should really get us to think, and pray...

al (of "et al" Wink)


« Last Edit: February 01, 2005, 12:53:24 am by al Hartman » Logged
vernecarty
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« Reply #35 on: February 01, 2005, 01:03:23 am »

Marcia:


  The idea of "forgiving those who have not acknowledged/repented from the evil they have done to you", is off in my opinion.  God has modeled for us the terms for forgiveness and there can be none without confession and repentance.

                               God Bless,  Mark C.

I must confess I have had a tendency to very strong agreement with you on this Marc. I heard a message by Erwin Lutzer in which he made a good case that we should not wait for clear repentance from others who have wronged us before we forgive.
Our pastor, this past weekend in talking about God´s dealing with the nation of Israel in the book of Deuternomy stated that ¨forgiveness is conditional.
It does seem to be that both men in a sense are correct, but it depends on one´s perspective.
Clearly no one can be forgiven for their sin apart from a confession of faith in Jesus Christ.
In that sense God´s forgiveness is unquestionably conditonal.
Scripture also seems to support the idea that we should be ready to forgive men their trespasses, but it is less clear what if any conditions apply...
We know in the case of brethren, at least one place in Scripture it says  if he repents... that appears conditional to me...
Some folk appear to be of the opinion tha trespasses ought not to be rebuked...

Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. Luke 17 13
Verne
« Last Edit: February 01, 2005, 04:37:57 am by VerneCarty » Logged
al Hartman
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« Reply #36 on: February 01, 2005, 09:21:17 pm »




  I know that when I was saved I felt a change in my being of the immediate rolling back of a deep oppression and the feeling that I was indeed connected to God!  Was this just a psychological reaction, or the touch of God?

                                 God Bless,  Mark C.

In answer to your questions, above, I believe that we cannot expect (i.e., require, demand) any sensory experience of God.  I can offer no explanation of what you felt at any given time in your Christian life.  ... the walk of faith described in the Bible is not sensory, nor should we expect it to be sensorily confirmed.

That which is sensory is of the flesh, or carnal.  This terminology is often misinterpreted to mean evil.  The flesh is not a source of evil-- it simply is not spiritual.  Our emotions or psychological senses are simply parts of our divinely designed human makeup.  Our Lord may or may not affect them whenever and however He chooses.  I, personally, get an emotional thrill-- a genuine sensation I find difficult to describe-- every time I read or hear the passage relating the answer Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo) gave to king Nebuchadnezzar:  ...we are not careful to answer you in this matter.  If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us... and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.  But if not, know this, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image... Dan.3:16-18.

Likewise, Stephen's loud proclamation, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. Ac.7:60 and Jesus' telling the thief, Today you shall be with me in paradise. Lk.23:43, and others.  To be honest, I cherish that feeling, and I used to think it signified the nearness of the Lord, or my being spiritually "in tune" with Him.  The problem with that should be obvious:  The absence of such feeling came to signify to me the absence, or distance, of God; the lack of spiritual connection, while in reality, according to God's infallible promise, NOTHING can separate us from the love of God which is ours in Christ.

It took me years to catch on, because I erroneously thought that what is good for the goose is good for the gander, i.e., the same experiences must be "right" for me as for you, and what "works" for me in one instance must work for me in every instance-- one-size-fits-all.  Finally I have realized that the feelings or experiences we may associate with spiritual awareness are "extras."  They are like the gravy on top, but the meat itself (that which the Word of God guarantees) is the real meal.

As long as our feelings don't violate or detract from the truth revealed in scripture, we may enjoy them if we can and wish to.  But we must never allow them precedence over the Word, which is inviolable.

In Christ,
al



While meditating upon what seemed to be an entirely different consideration, I was graciously reminded of an important omission from the above discussion:

Since our Lord knows how much I enjoy experiencing a "confirming" sensation of His presence and approval, why would He not give me that all the time, thus alleviating any doubts I might harbor?  The answer cannot be that I am not deserving, because I was not deserving of redemption in the first place, and He did not withhold that from me...

It is because we walk by faith.  That we walk indicates activity (whereas "we live" could be interpreted as a passive, let whatever happens happen concept of Christianity).  If I were to base the activities of my life upon my sensing God's presence and direction, I would be walking by sense ("sight"), and I would have no need of faith.  Or, to consider from another perspective, my "faith" would be in my feelings, and I would have no need of the Word of God!!!

That the sons of God are led by the Spirit of God is established (Rom.8:14), but what a travesty it would be to think that the Holy Spirit leads by our emotions.  One of my favorite commentaries on the unreliability of our feelings is in Dickens' words, as Scrooge explains to Jacob Marley's ghost that he might be nothing more than a product of Scrooge's indigestion of supper.

Our emotions are genuine qualities, but unreliable at best, being more likely to mislead than to lead us. The Spirit of God always leads us according to the Word of God, and needs no assist from our unspiritual faculties.  There may be times when our understanding of the Bible seems to fail us, but God's Word never fails its Author, and HE never fails us.

In Christ,
al


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al Hartman
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« Reply #37 on: February 01, 2005, 10:45:36 pm »



Thanks, Verne, I needed that (see Marcia's penguins Grin)!

In attempting to address specific distinctions, I affected ultra-simplicity to an extreme.  You are absolutely correct in that we are, as redemption's result, able to set our affections on things above.  All things are become new, but not all things are yet made manifest.  Perhaps you'd favor us by elucidating...

Gratefully,
al
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vernecarty
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« Reply #38 on: February 01, 2005, 11:14:53 pm »



Thanks, Verne, I needed that (see Marcia's penguins Grin)!

In attempting to address specific distinctions, I affected ultra-simplicity to an extreme.  You are absolutely correct in that we are, as redemption's result, able to set our affections on things above.  All things are become new, but not all things are yet made manifest.  Perhaps you'd favor us by elucidating...

Gratefully,
al

One of the things I have struggled with in life is my temper.
As if that were any surpise to those on the BB.
I know myself to be a man of passion, and sadly, not always to the accomplishment of God's purpose.
After I got married, the Lord began to deal with me quite sternly. I one day got upset with my wife over some  trivial matter and so was sulking while she tried to get the table ready for dinner guests rather than helping her move a heavy oak leaf.
Well, she dropped it a gouged quite a bit of the smooth finish.
I still remember opening my mouth to say God only knows what to her...
Has God ever spoken to you?
He spoke to me that afternoon.
He said with the greatest of clarity.

NOT ONE WORD!

My wife looked at me in amazement as I opened and just as quickly shut my mouth and proceeded to help her with the table.

I know I still can fly off the handle sometimes.
I am nothing today like the kind of man I used to be.
God can and does change hearts for He has greatly changed mine.
I could also tell you stories about how He has used my two precious daughters to teach me about gentleness of spirit.
Still a work in progress as you no doubt can tell... Smiley

« Last Edit: February 01, 2005, 11:20:45 pm by VerneCarty » Logged
al Hartman
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« Reply #39 on: February 01, 2005, 11:51:29 pm »



Verne,

Sorry Mate-- I was looking to you for some Bible teaching on the subject.  But I didn't specify, and I believe the Holy Spirit led: Thanks for a wonderful testimony!


Still a work in progress as you no doubt can tell... Smiley


Aren't we all, Brother!  Aren't we all?

In Christ's love,
al
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vernecarty
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« Reply #40 on: February 02, 2005, 12:49:21 am »



Verne,

Sorry Mate-- I was looking to you for some Bible teaching on the subject.  But I didn't specify, and I believe the Holy Spirit led: Thanks for a wonderful testimony!


Still a work in progress as you no doubt can tell... Smiley


Aren't we all, Brother!  Aren't we all?

In Christ's love,
al

There is a sense in which the truth of the gospel in our lives moves from the propositional to the personal, the Word becoming flesh as it were.
What good is it for us to agree with God's command"

Be holy, for I am holy

and yet remain essentially unchanged in the matter of our affections? The only basis we really have for proclaiming a life-changing gospel to others is that in fact God has made a difference in our lives.
I fully understand the objective truth of the message of faith, but I dare say that more men and women have been greatly impacted for the kingdom of God by looking at how we live, than by listening to what we say.
In fact I will go a step further and contend that the message looses all power and impetus, unless energized by a life of true holiness. I know some will strongly disagree but that in part explains what is happening in churches in America today.


 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.


Romans 8:10-13
« Last Edit: February 02, 2005, 01:19:39 am by VerneCarty » Logged
M2
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« Reply #41 on: February 05, 2005, 08:26:18 pm »

Marcia:

  Great link!  Interesting that the writer of the article has found similar answers to recovery that we have discovered here.

  I think that some of the article takes on a simplistic approach to what usually is a more difficult problem for most; especially those that have been in a group as far off as the Assembly was.

  The use of "writing down" how you were wounded, is a necessary part of identifying, and recovering from, emotional damage.

  The idea of "forgiving those who have not acknowledged/repented from the evil they have done to you", is off in my opinion.  God has modeled for us the terms for forgiveness and there can be none without confession and repentance.

 This is not to be interpretated as the offended individual holding on to a grudge in a bitter attitude that seeks revenge.  For those who feel this way, attempts to force them "to be spiritual by putting away bitterness", violates a proper sense of justice.
...

quote from page 74 The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning

The saved sinner is prostrate in adoration, lost in wonder and praise.  He knows repentance is not what we do in order to earn forgiveness; it is what we do because we have been forgiven.  It serves as an expression of gratitude rather than an effort to earn forgiveness.  Thus the sequence of forgiveness and then repentance, rather than repentance and then forgiveness, is crucial for understanding the gospel of grace.

Marcia
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sfortescue
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« Reply #42 on: February 06, 2005, 12:08:14 am »

The Biblical order seems to be that faith comes first, then forgiveness.

Luke 7:40-42,47-48,50
And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee.  And he saith, Master, say on.  There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.  And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both.  Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? ...  Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.  And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. ...  And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

It was by faith that the woman expressed her love because she knew that Jesus would forgive her.

I think that part of the debate about forgiveness has to do with a difference between the Biblical meaning of the word "forgive" and the way the word is often used in our time.  The modern concept seems to be more about letting go of anger rather than restoring a relationship.  Restoring a relationship must involve the cooperation of both parties.  The Bible is in agreement that letting go of anger should be done quickly.

Ephesians 4:26-27
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil.
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al Hartman
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« Reply #43 on: February 06, 2005, 09:37:44 am »



We may often run into the problem caused by our linear way of thinking, bound as it is by our perceptions' being conformed to the parameters imposed by time.

Quote
Posted by: Stephen M. Fortescue  Posted on: Today at 02:08:14pm  

The Biblical order seems to be that faith comes first, then forgiveness.
 


I think of the arguments my kids used to have in their school days:
     "I'm 10 times smarter (or faster, or better looking, or...?) than you!"
     "Well I'm 20 times smarter than you!"
     "Oh, yeah?  Well, I'm 100 times..." and the numbers would continue to mount exponentially until someone shouted "I'm infinity times..."
     The pause was only momentary, however, until the other would come back with "I'm infinity x ten..." and on it would go.

We just can't conceive of the magnitude of our God; of the limitless dimension of infinity.  We satisfy ourselves with a three-dimensional mobeus strip, which we symbolize by a two-dimensional reclining figure-eight, and claim to grasp infinity, but we fail utterly to understand the unbounded Mind of the Spirit of Him Who spoke the worlds into existence.  We attempt to define His thoughts and doings in terms that have parameters we can visualize; linear "orders."

There is no finite language to express what has, of necessity, been explained (for the present) to us as God's having known the end from the beginning.  If we have to have a chain of cause and effect, it will be something like God's sovereignty enables God's grace to grant man's faith to open up to Christ's forgiveness to bring about salvation.  But in the realm of the infinite Lord of the universe, all these things exist simultaneously.

In terms of man's comprehension, Jesus had to be born, mature, minister, die, and rise again by a schedule, but in God's terms He is "The Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world."

Men will fret themselves over which came first, the chicken or the egg?  But any child knows the answer: God made the chicken...

So it is with grace and faith:  God is in charge.  Our comprehension of exactly how He performs the unseen (or in what "order") is utterly nonessential to the process.  This doesn't mean we may not speculate, based on the information He avails to us-- just that the value of our conclusions is limited.  Despite our best efforts, we still see through a glass darkly...

al
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Mark C.
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« Reply #44 on: February 06, 2005, 07:05:50 pm »


Quote

quote from page 74 The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning

The saved sinner is prostrate in adoration, lost in wonder and praise.  He knows repentance is not what we do in order to earn forgiveness; it is what we do because we have been forgiven.  It serves as an expression of gratitude rather than an effort to earn forgiveness.  Thus the sequence of forgiveness and then repentance, rather than repentance and then forgiveness, is crucial for understanding the gospel of grace.

Marcia

Quote

 Thanks Marcia for the above quote!

   I understand what Mr. Manning is saying, but I think he is basing his conclusion on a misunderstanding of the biblical meaning of the word "repentance."

  The modern English usage of the word repentance means changing our actual behavior through the strength of our own wills.  In this sense of the word he is absolutely correct that change will only come after forgiveness.

  When I talk of "repentance" I am referring to the Biblical meaning of the word that literally means "a changing of one's mind."  

   Peter, in Acts 2 ,tells the Jews that they must---- "Repent and be baptized, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.

   There are conditions for forgiveness, according to Peter here, and some people (like Church of Christ folks) see a merit salvation scheme in it.

    I believe they miss the point of what Peter is saying here re. repentance, as did Mr Manning in his quote, and that is that Peter is asking the Jews to think differently about this Jesus "whom they crucified."

 In other words:  change your thinking that sees Jesus as a heretic and a liar and accept a different view that he is indeed the Messiah and the Son of God!

  Baptism was needed, not to earn God's forgiveness, but to demonstrate to the world one's sincerity.  Likewise, a hidden change of mind from a former Assembly leader (though God knows the heart) will not heal a broken relationship between a wronged former member and a leader.

   What is Mt.18:15- all about?  This is a process to bring healing to a relationship that includes a change in attitude by the one doing the offending before there can be reconciliation (which must include forgiveness).

   The process in this passage involves three steps, that we are all familiar with, but which show us clearly that there can be no forgiveness for the offender if he is unwilling to:

    1.) "Hear" the complaint of the offended party alone.

    2.)  Bring in a second party to help mediate, if still not resolved.

    3.) Tell the whole church the situation in an attempt to get the offender to listen, admit his wrong, and change his attitude (repentance) toward the offended member(as a last resort).

   If the above offender refuses to receive entreaty after all of this Jesus does not recommend that the wronged person just, "forgive and forget," rather, the offended is to change their own attitude toward the offender (repent) and treat him like an unsaved individual.

  For former/present Assembly leader/members who have wronged us there must be a demonstrated willingness to follow the above guideliness Jesus has given us in Mt. 18 or we have no obligation to forgive and forget the wrongs they have perpetrated upon us; on the contrary, we are advised to consider them as estranged from Jesus himself and one that Jesus is against as well.

   This does not mean we can't pray that God would bring the offender to repentance, or that we need to hold on to bitterness in our heart toward them.   However, forgiveness and forgetting is not what Jesus is telling us to do here.

  Re. bitterness:  It is easy for me to tell folks not to "hold on to bitterness" but another thing to actually have some success with this negative emotion.  Following  Jesus direction in Mt. 18 re. the process of reconciliation will do more to free one's heart from bitterness than our attempts to "transcend the hurt" via the unbiblical means of "forgiving and forgetting."

   Jesus words allow for a process that includes face to face encounter, vs. some kind of idealistic escapism via some kind of denial of the facts of how one was wronged.  Forgiveness is always connected with moral clarity and even if the offender refuses to be entreated we can realize that justice will be accomplished by God on the offender.

  When I know that I am right, vs. feeling guilty about my negative feelings toward the offender, there is a sense of relief that goes a long way toward helping me to get beyond any bitterness, and/or grudge I may be holding.  Repressing anger and attempting to forget my abuse does not cure the problem---- on the contrary, it only makes the matter worse.

  Jesus, Paul, etc. used very harsh language, at times, against those they considered to be offensive to God's children (in teaching and practices) and I would expect some of those telling us to "forgive and forget" would want to correct them for doing this (if they could).

   The Assembly attempted to rob us of the legitimate use of our emotions that declared outrage against wrongs.  We were told that this is "un-spiritual" and that we must shove down our passions (crucify the flesh) and be passive in our trust that "God will vindicate us if we are right".

   It is no wonder that when out of the group and being released from the pseudo "spiritual" denial of our passions that one might explode in anger against those that controlled and abused us.

  The fact is that Jesus is mad at unrepentant abusers too!  "Aren't we all just sinners Mark?"  Yes, but some of us can admit that, while others continue to deny their culpability re. their behavior while in the Assembly.  It is not the sin that is the issue for forgiveness, but the willingness to actually own up to that sin and seek reconiliation with the one you've wronged.

                                            God Bless,  Mark C.

     



   
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