Thursday, July 8, 2010

Perhaps it is God's mercy?

How hard it is to walk into a plenary meeting knowing that Belhar will be sent to the Presbyteries for a vote. It passed. How hard it is to walk into plenary knowing the Presbyteries will now need to vote on nFOG. It also passed. How hard it is to walk into plenary knowing of the other overtures and recommendations that may be passed. (The committees passed the elimination of biblical marriage language overtures & and the removal of the ordination standards, hopefully the whole GA will not, but ...)

But the Lord confronts and comforts his church. He confronts his church in every age for her waywardness; he surprises her from time to time with the gift of revival and renewal.

Judgment begins with God’s Church so says the word of God. Karl Barth refers to God’s ability to take away the candlestick of the Church in some areas. He reminded the Church of Germany that Jesus Christ was as capable of removing the candle stick of the German Church as he had removed the candle stick from the Church of North Africa, that Church of Augustine. Now God has brought revival to Africa. It is his gift to those beleaguered and persecuted people.

All of this is His will; if the biblical understanding of marriage and leadership is cast aside in the next two days, it is only because he allows it to be so. Perhaps to purify and strengthen those who hold tightly to the word of God and intend to follow Him where ever he leads. And perhaps God allows this so that hearts might continue to be hardened that he might display his power against evil and darkness, against those powers that bind the wayward.

If those who wish to find a blessing for sinful behavior use the church to justify their action God will allow them to move even further away from his transforming gift of mercy into a world of despairing emptiness. This is a two pronged action. To remind the sinner of her sinfulness and turn her sisters and brothers toward her in an act of love and mercy. That is why Jude tells the Church:

“But you beloved ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you that In the last times there will be mockers following after their own ungodly lusts. These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. But you beloved , building yourselves up on your most holy faith praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; and save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.” (Jude 17-23)

We all have a call; it is waiting for us as we return home. It is a call to be sorrowful before the Lord because of our Church’s waywardness, yet full of joy because Christ is with us. It is a call to keep reaching out to those whose hearts are hardened. And it is a call to protect, love and care for one another. It is a call to care for the little ones who will be hurt.


Amy Kosari said...

Thank you Viola for your beautiful post. I guess the juggernaut is poised to roll once again and we'd better start taking our spiritual vitamins in preparation for its coming.
On Monday I testified against changing ordination standards based on new insight into Romans 1. I was grateful to God to be able to be a witness and I was even more grateful to hear the other testimonies about how people had been saved from the spirit of confusion by Jesus. One young man spoke of how by upholding the Bible we were protecting the poor in spirit. People need to know that Jesus saves from same-sex attraction and that was what testimony after testimony was about.
There is so much darkness in GA but the light was shining in that young man, "the light that shines in our hearts;" the reflection of the brilliancy of the face of our Lord Jesus Anointed as he looks into the face of God.
Thanks again Viola!

Barb said...

Viola, thank you for this perspective that leads to God and not ourselves. God is working His ways out - not ours and thankfully His ways are not our ways. That's my hope during this time.
Barb Moody
Sparta, IL

Linda Lee said...


Thank you for your voice in this
troubling time for our church.
I appreciate you witness so
much! My thought were with those who were at the GA, like you, who
have to persevere in the face of blatent arrogance and celebration
of wrong beliefs.

Do you ever ask your self "How long
can I stay in this denomination?"
I've been asking myself that lately
when I see this GA act to put strain on the Presbyteries/members with actions that must be voted on again - against Scripture and even changing the confessions. The sweeping change to the Book of Order (NFOG) maybe too much for me.

Thanks for your reminder to stay
faithful to building up the little ones.
Thank you so much for this post -
I needed it!