My Thoughts. . .
Monday, August 5, 2019
“The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell” (James 3:5-6).
One church member says to another, “We no longer have the Lord’s table in front of our auditorium.” In shock the listener replies, “REALLY?” An affirmative nod seals it. Later, with this upsetting information, the man blurts out to his preacher, “Did you know that the Northeast church no longer observes the Lord’s supper?” The preacher is speechless, but ultimately overcomes his shock with, “How do you know?” The informant states, “I work with one of their elders and he told me!”
The preacher meets with his elders. He breaks the sad news to them. One states,
“I knew something was wrong with them, but I just didn’t know what it was. They have really gone off the deep end with their apostasy.”
Affirmations show in each elder’s eyes to that statement. Prayer is offered for the erring congregation. A decision is made to inform the congregation Sunday that their assembly will no longer fellowship the Northeast assembly. A letter of withdrawal is prepared, signed by the elders and preacher, and mailed to the Northeast eldership. The statement is brief.
“To the elders and members of the Northeast church:
“The elders, minister, and members of the Southwest congregation are withdrawing from the Northeast church due to your apostasy. Until you repent publicly of your false teaching and practice, fellowship will not be restored.
Signed: The elders, preacher, and members of the Southwest church.”
When that letter is read by the Northeast elders, they have no idea why they have been withdrawn from, nor what sin they have committed that requires their repentance and confession. The elder who works with the member of the Southwest congregation on Monday asks him “Why?” The member is somewhat reluctant to speak, but finally explains that the withdrawal is due to the Northeast elder telling him that they NO LONGER PARTAKE of the Lord’s supper. This is a shocking surprise to the Northeast elder since he NEVER said that.
The Northeast elder explains that they decided to remove the table from the front of the auditorium that normally held the fruit of the vine and bread used for communion. The elder informed the Southwest brother that Northeast continues to partake of the Lord’s supper and has never ceased to do so. The only thing removed was the platform the two elements rested on. In fact, scripturally speaking, the table referred to in 1 Corinthians 10:21 as “the Lord’s table” was NOT A PIECE OF FURNITURE, but the unleavened bread and fruit of the vine! Tradition had distorted the Southwest church’s thinking and from that misunderstanding they were misled in their actions. Such misinformation is often too easily spread. It is similar to a wildfire started from a small spark. Such beginnings often lead to additional innuendoes that destroy unity rather than promoting it. It is often harder to correct such situations once introduced! Inappropriate pride and self-justification may cling to the guilty more than truth does.
The words “gossip, gossiper, or gossiping” cannot be found in the King James Version of the Old or New Testaments. However, such an action is implied in James 1:26; 3:15-16.
“If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless” (James 1:26).
The seed from which this article is taken happened between two congregations about forty-one years ago. The details have been changed, but one withdrew from the other over a matter of judgment.