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Doctrine in dialogue format
if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear?
In today's episode we find our Pastor Leo sitting with his friend Pastor Otto. Listen:
"I see a number of things. But what I suspect you want me to see the two boys who just walked in. What about them Leo?"
"Fine looking young men aren't they? Well dressed in suit and tie and Bible in hand. Just the kind of lads you'd want your daughter to bring home for you to meet, wouldn't you say Otto?"
"Leo, what's gotten into you? Those are cult members out soliciting their heretical views. No, I wouldn't want my daughter bringing one of them home. In fact I wouldn't want them in my home at all. They're standing with one foot in the gate of hell. You know this. Are you playing ignorant with me?"
"Yes I am Otto. So just play along with me, ok?"
"I'm not into games Leo, but ok, I'll go along with your little charade."
"Again, consider those young men, and forget your differences of opinion. Remember when we were young and all the children dressed up nice and clean for church? Remember? Even little boys and girls dressed prim and proper and sat with their little hands folded in the front row of the sanctuary. Those boys could have very well been you and me a few years back."
"That's not likely Leo. This isn't Sunday for one thing, and those boys are going door to door. That's something I never did when I was young, and I don't think you did either."
"You're right Otto, I didn't. But why?"
"Why what Leo? Why didn't we dress up during the week? Well for one thing...."
"No Otto. I mean, why didn't we go door to door and spread the Word as those boys are doing? Why is it only those we call the unsaved cults take such initiative? Why aren't your young people, or my young people, dressing up in their suit and tie and spreading what we call the truth? If we feel so strongly that what they're teaching is wrong, and that they're leading people astray, then why aren't we doing all we can to counter their efforts? Why do we just ignore them and criticize them and their doctrine? Could it be that we don't really believe what we preach?"
"I don't know Leo. I never thought about it before. I guess...."
"Otto, look. Two more youngsters have just come in along with a girl, at least I assume she's a girl. It's hard to tell the way they dress now days. Notice the difference. These youngsters look like they belong to a gang of some sort. Notice the pants down to their knees, and the stained and tattered T shirts worn over highly tattooed and pierced bodies. How would you like your daughter to bring home one of those boys and introduce him as your future son-in law?"
"That's Ralph and Marvin. They're part of the church band. They're not really bad kids Leo. You just have to get to know them."
"You say they're in your band? You mean choir don't you Otto? And surely they don't come to church dressed as they are now."
"No, I mean band. We don't have a choir any more. We now have a Christian rock band that entertains the congregation. And yes, I'm afraid that's the way they attend church, just as you see them."
"Otto, are you telling me that your church has a rock band? Have you dipped that far into the world that you actually bring it right on to your stage, behind the alter? I knew there were some churches who did such a thing, but I didn't know you were one of them."
"Don't get snooty with me Leo. It's common practice these days. It's hard enough to get people to come to church any more without making a compromise here and there. You must understand that."
"No Otto, I don't understand that. And to tell you the truth, I don't think Jesus does either. We're wearing His name tag. I think He expects us to wear it with pride, to strive for our best, and to present ourselves to the world as living ambassadors for Him. And I don't think catering to the world is what He has in mind for His Church. In fact, as we look back at history, I see where God wiped out the nation of Israel for doing the very same thing, that is, compromising with the world."
"You're getting awfully high and mighty Leo. I think you need to come down from that vainglorious cloud you're riding on and see things for what they really are. Don't you know we're not to judge others? We're especially not to judge others according to their appearances. And that's just what you've done. Without having the slightest idea who or what those boys at the counter are, you made a judgement call on every one of them and relegated them to the underside of your footstool. You assume the well dressed youngsters are ok, and the shabby ones are not fit for our church. Jesus accepted everyone, even the thieves and the lepers. Who are you to reject who Jesus has accepted?"
"You miss my point Otto. I'm not saying one is fit to attend church and the other is not. But you have. In fact you said the well dressed youngsters are not fit to enter your house, and you've relegated them to the door step of hell. What I'm saying is that one is showing his dedication to his church, and behaving as we would want our own child to behave, and the other is not. And if you will recall, I asked earlier why our young people are not doing what the Bible tells us we should do? Why aren't we actively spreading the Gospel in our little hamlet? Why aren't we showing the respect for our Lord, our church, and our elders we once did not many years ago? What has caused this decline? And finally, why do you and I, as leaders of the church, permit such behavior by our congregation without at least voicing some opposition? Why do we relegate appropriate behavior and decent apparel to those we condemn, behavior we should be appreciating and imitating? Isn't there something wrong with this picture. We see, and appreciate what those we look down our nose at are doing, so why aren't we doing the same thing they are? And Otto, as for judging others, what do you call relegating people who are doing what we full well know we should be doing, to an eternity in hell for disagreeing with our doctrines? Isn't that judging in your eyes? Again I ask you, what's wrong with this picture?"
6A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. [ Despise = "disesteem, vile person."] And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? 7Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible.. . . .12But ye have profaned it [My Name], in that ye say, The table of the LORD is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even his meat, is contemptible. 13Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the LORD of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the LORD. 14But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, saith the LORD of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen. (Mal 1:)
1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Rom 12:)
[ Question: Are you presenting the very best you have to God? Or are you sacrificing the dregs of your life, and expecting the Mighty God to accept the leftovers you offer Him?]
21Then said Jesus to them again, ...: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. (John 20:)
1the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face.(Luke 10:)
21Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22And of some have compassion, making a difference: 23And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. 24Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, (Jude 1:)
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