Tuesday, August 24, 2010

On being the last to know

How does a betrayed wife feel when she finds out that she was the last to know her husband had been running around? Well, as if the betrayal was not crushing enough she's left with the shame of feeling like she's been a fool in front of everyone.

I was done crying because of the pain due to separating from The Cross Current(TCC) by the day after. I'm not going to lie to you however, it's been a chore to wrap my head around the whole situation. In recent days the history of the ministry for the last couple of years has been playing through my head. I'm glad I moved on, but I feel foolish nonetheless.

This article is not about TCC, it's about a problem in ministries and uses my experience in one ministry to illustrate my point.

I don't expect that recounting all the things going on in my head here would be more helpful to anyone reading than they could be painful to a few who may stumble upon them. The point boils down to this; consistently for the last week people have been saying that they were surprised to find out that I had resigned from TCC but that though they hadn't been told details they knew why - because they read my blog and know the theological differences between what I believe and what has been being taught by TCC.

I was the last to know, and I feel foolish.

Not only do their words mean that it was common knowledge, but that my testimony had been damaged by sticking with TCC; these friends of mine didn't expect me to actually live up to my convictions and depart. Little did they know that I had been in the dark about what had been being taught. I am after-all I'm over 1,400 kilometres away from the home office of the ministry so it has been easy to miss what is taught in training situations.

Now some may think that this is me "whimpering" or being dramatic. If thinking that is what floats your boat then enjoy. What I'm really doing is offering some experience.

In 2008 TCC posted a 21 page statement of faith and practices that was called "TCC CORE" this document has been removed from their website, over the last few days. It had been poured over and argued about for months. I know because for the most part I authored it. It was to be the document that we used to make sure that outside influences didn't pollute the preaching of the Gospel by our ministry.

It was a very demanding document, but in retrospect it was a document without much in the way of teeth.

Yet, the Bible is a document with teeth. The consequences of deviating from the truth are grave for those who would teach error.

Former US President George W. Bush may not have been able to say it clearly, but there is an old saying that fits my current thinking about statements of faith and practice.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

The Bible is a document with teeth, so statements of faith and practices ought to be as well. I never used to like how some ministries use the word "covenant" to describe their agreement with members and representatives to operate within certain bounds. It always seemed like they were trying to appear more spiritual than they are... or being needlessly religious... it just seemed "over the top" to me.

Well my view is different now. A covenant is an agreement, and the entire relationship between the parties is based on that agreement. To break the agreement is to break the relationship, so the covenant has teeth.

In light of this, a statement of faith and practices ought to only contain items of vital importance; things the parties in agreement are willing to "fall on their swords for." Of course there would have to be some mechanism for godly revision and correction to the document, but such should seldom be used.

If you are not absolutely sure of something, if you cannot defend it from a plain and consistent reading of the Scriptures then it has no place in your statement of faith.

I do not expect I will ever join in covenant with any person or organization that doesn't actually agree to be held to what they claim to believe. I feel foolish, and have indeed been foolish... but if I repeat then shame on me. Will such a stance make me harder to employ in a ministry setting? Sure... but here's a question for those who would bring that up. Do you really want to pour your life and ministry into something that is just going to go off in some completely different direction than what you believe? How about in some different direction than toward truth? If whatever ministry I end up serving with knows what is true, and that is plainly described by a consistent reading of the Scriptures then they can be sure that I will be loyal, almost to a fault. They'll know that no matter the cost, I'm on my walk toward Christ and will consistently call people with the same Gospel that I was saved through receiving.

How about you?

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