Saturday, January 26, 2008

When Judging isn't Loving

We are in the midst of a series called "Loving Judgment" at Cedarbrook. It's my attempt to bring some balance to the many Bible texts that I've preached on that tell us not to judge. The truth is, there are times when we need to judge...not a person but their behavior. The church at large seems to have adopted the army's "Don't ask, Don't tell" policy. That might work for them but the Bible tells us that love doesn't hide problems from each other. Love brings them into the open so they can be resolved in a safe environment.

The topic is a dicey one though because the church has so often abused the idea of judgment. Someone sent me a link from the Wallstreet Journal called "Banned from Church". This tells a number of scary stories about how churches misapplied the verses in 1 Corinthians 5 about throwing out the "immoral brother".

Last week I attempted to address the true meaning of Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 5. Read or listen to what I had to say by clicking the link. Our goal should always be reconciliation and not punishment. It's surprising to me how church folk so quickly forget that and seemingly relish in the opportunity to harm others.


Anonymous said...

Here's a post sent to me by John...

I am able to empathize with pastor Burrick...even while the article portrays Mrs. Caskey
so sympathetically...I wondered if Mrs. Caskey's role was not unlike that of what I remember of the movie "Polly Anna"
and Aunt Polly's controlling (over-controlling) influence on the pastor in that story.

There may have been a GOOD reason that the church in question was dieing on the vine. (Even though "taking ownership"
can and should be a good thing when a congregate involves him/herself in a church, the congregate has to understand
the limits of that "ownership"...when we put so much of ourselves into a church we may find ourselves easily offended if
we don't put our contributions into hand is raised here)

That being said, Pastor Burrick made the mistake of hiring on without first addressing the bylaws of the church. He had
to have been aware of them. Not being aware would be complete ignorance. As part of his hiring on it could have been
implied that he'd have autonomy, but without an official suspension of those bylaws, Pastor Burrick was completely at fault
and should have accepted Mrs. Caskey's recommendations or simply bowed out.

Anonymous said...

I get the impression that people hate "the church". Either it is too "conservative" or too "feel good". Megga churches are portrayed as substanceless while conservative evangelical prodestant churches are portrayed as controlling and hypocritical.

This article uses bad examples(maybe good) to paint "the church" in those two shades of BLACK. As I read the article, it embarasses me to be a part of "the church."

Remy Diederich said...

Yes, it embarrasses me too. The number of bad stories is overwhelming at times. It makes me think that people feel like they are rolling the dice and taking their chances upon entering a local church. Pretty sad. I hesitated to even provide the link to the WSJ article because it does paint a negative picture. But I thought it was important for people to see what the world at larges sees. All we can do is seek to prove to the world that these bad stories are not the whole story.