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Narrow Way Chronicles: Exclusivity of Inclusion

In a recent tweet I shared:

#Pride, #Presumption, and #Partiality create a culture of self-righteousness and hidden agendas. #churchpolitics”.

I thought it appropriate to elaborate because intent can be misconstrued and I wanted to allow for robust discussion.

Today, the term “inclusivity” does not prompt ideas of church unity. Opponents of the Way continue to do a “bang-up” job in hijacking and perverting the Creator’s intent on certain ideologies that is designed to reflect His glory. The ideology of “Inclusivity” is no different. History teaches that diversity and inclusivity have existed since the beginning of time. The Old and New Testament scriptures clearly show examples of communities that included all races and social-economic backgrounds.  It is only after the coming of the Anointed One, Jesus the Christ, do we see intentionality of this idea of Inclusive Communities. ….so let’s not get it twisted. ;-).

The intention of the tweet; however, was addressing my limited time and experience with the subject with regard to church unity. My sincere hope and prayer is that the Holy Spirit will be active in guiding my hand to write; as well as an active guide to those who are reading these thoughts.

It is written, He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches:

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Compassion and True Fellowship

The issue: Are our churches TRULY inclusive? With our drive to expose evil, false doctrine and plant churches, have we created a culture of elite communities? Is the mission still about the Gospel or has the mission become about growing a denomination, positioning for political leverage or making your brand known? Do we reflect true Koinonia or is the local church another social construct that is intended have a “positive” effect on the community? If true Koinonia is the intent, what should it look like and how much of our application is modeled biblically?

I have often been engaged in conversations with persons that boastfully share that they are socially connected with”like-minded” Believers. Notice I didn’t say, fellowship; and, that gave me pause to think (Hence the #ChurchPolitics).

What does the idea of being like-minded mean?

Secular society uses this phrase often. Should I assume that this idea takes on a different connotation because I perceive a spin of conservative Christianity or It is safe to assume that being like-minded is a belief or series of beliefs that is shared commonly through a connection of cultural norms to one may be accustomed; and if not accustomed, Idolize?  We’ve seen this in Charismatic circles.

It is elitism; BKA partiality.

If you initiate a Google search the topic, you will find little teaching or exhortation that addresses this, especially in conservative circles. Largely because most of our siblings still have that big plank in their eye.

Partiality is a sin and it greatly displeases Elohim our God. Because it is hidden, it is easy to deny that we have issues. When we choose to “do life” with people that do not foster sanctification, we stifle growth. Not only of ourselves but others that desire true sanctification.  Jerry Bridges exhorts: “It is not the fact that we are united in common goals or purposes that make(s) us a community. Rather, it is the fact that we share a common life in Christ.

Partiality convinces us that God’s choice isn’t good enough, smart enough, pretty or handsome enough, not quiet enough, or charismatic enough. Partiality says this person is not acceptable to my standards. Partiality shows no grace and therefore, shows no love. This is wickedness.

When we opt in for partiality instead of inclusivity we become complacent in our relationships. We are not intentional with the put offs and put-ons, and we do no “one anothering”.  The result is isolation among the saints. This is a dichotomy of true fellowship. Koinonia and sharing the Gospel is what the Father wants and desires for His children. Lastly, partiality is hidden and presumptuous sins. Partiality is heinous and damaging to the Body of Christ.  In Psalm 19:13 the writer prays:

Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. 

The church is not as inclusive as we like to think we are. Partiality is a real issue, more than we would like to admit. People choose not to bind themselves to a local body because they do not feel loved or safe.  At any rate, Jesus teaches compassion. Though the Savior operated as a prophet, he was remarkably compassionate to sinners. Do we desire or display that same compassion or do we make assumptions about people based on limited information or gossip? Moreover, what are we willing to risk or sacrifice to engage in true Koinonia? If your local body struggles in this area please check out this teaching by Arturo Azurdia of TCP titled “The Antioch Paradigm”.

 

WANTED: Manly Males to Rebuild the Walls

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If you haven’t noticed, the marketing and advertising industry is increasingly intentional about their MESSages in their campaigns. Below are just a few: 

That women are the better sex and should be the leaders of everything, should always be looked at as the victim, or the opposite…foolishness. 

That manhood exemplifies one or more of the following attributes: violent, superficial, uncaring, effeminate and/or homosexual, buffoons, weak, or incapable of doing anything without a women “stepping in” and handling it. Moreover when men are the target audience, it’s almost always packaged seductively or in a way that fosters performance driven motives, which causes debt.

That children and adolescents can operate as adults. This MESSage has created a generation of kids and teens that believe they can make MAJOR decisions without the wisdom of their parents (such as dating, money, sex). The MESSage is that “friends”, peers, or some other adult are the best people to go to when they are in trouble. In a word…..kids don’t need parents….get them out of the picture.  

I’m simply stating the obvious. It is a fact that there is definitely a diabolical plan to change our perception in respect to human creation roles and how we view the importance of family and community. The Advertising industry’s goals are generally geared to shape and direct our thinking and what will be perceived in the future. It’s always about the “future of” something…but I digress. 

So is it me or is there a growing message that is focused on degrading the manly man’s role in our society. Jokes, satire, movies, and commercials that are filled with messages of weak men are commonplace. Even on the street one can see a man in a “domestic” setting (always with a baby on his hip or in a stroller). He needs to be at work!  There is a laying of groundwork being done to “ease” men out of major positions of leadership in our society. Headship of the family is a very integral part of this plan. Friends, we are well on our way to a major collapse in civilization.

This is a clarion call to the Manly men… is time mount up get on the wall and repair it! 

In Nehemiah it reads: 

And I said, “O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses. Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’ (Nehemiah 1:5-9 ESV)

 

Not only is husbands and fathers important in understanding what he has been created to do, sons, brothers, and unmarried uncles, play a major part in this puzzle as well; for a three chord strand is not easily broken. Men are born to lead. They were created to make the tough decisions, take the hits for the familySince the fall of Adam do we know the consequences and importance of order. A wise friend said to me “Because of Eve, we have suffered eternal consequences of evil, through Sara nations are divided”. Both examples give a clear picture of what happens when the authority is shifted from manly men to women. 

The foolishness of sitcoms, movies, and other forms entertainment is intent on the reverberation of damaging messages about the creation roles of men. Men, Be strong and courageous! Clean up your homes. Remove the spirit of “Jezzi” from your homes. Repent and turn away from selfishness, greed, and the need to be “better than the next man”..forgive..stay resilient,  be reliable, and extend respect. Don’t let the foolishness of this world define what your true attributes are in the sight of God. You are NOT a buffoon, or a gigolo/playa (in a word…a male whore). You are not shallow, violent, homosexual, or effeminate. You can be a great father, husband, brother, uncle, and friend. It is okay not to wear pink or pierce your ear(s), or hold the door open. It’s okay to tell your daughter that she cannot dress like a prostitute. It’s okay to love your wife tenderly and strong. It’s good train up your boys to protect women.  It is not weak to say “my mistake”, “Please forgive me”, “I repent” or “let’s pray”. You were made in the image of the Almighty Elohim with attributes like: Protector, Faithful and True, Provider, …I can go on! Society would have you think that you are a punk if you resist the urge to “Do what thy wilt”. This lie is the reason why fatherlessness AND faithlessness is prevalent in OUR culture. That is the same lie that has convinced two generations women that they don’t need a man….Selah. For it is written “What has been is what will be, and what been done is what will be dome, for there is nothing new under the sun”

Recently I exhorted a brother to understand that there is a divine and intentional assignment for all men. Godly Male headship is crucial to a thriving civilization. I continued to explain that not only is this power of God’s sovereignty evident in a thriving society, it extends to our current perverse generation. Men..you have the power to repair the walls! Repent and start praying. You will be amazed and blessed at the results. 

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Works of Destruction

The following is from http://www.spurgeon.org

THE SWORD AND THE TROWEL (TRACT 5)

ANY a man may see his portrait here! The spendthrift hacks away his estate and falls into destitution and disgrace. The drunkard cuts at his health and strength, his family comfort and household peace, and when he has finished his mad work, he drops into ruin, through his own folly. The man of low, debauched habits, is chopping, with fearful effect, at his own body and soul, and will, ere long, rue the lusts which hurl him into disease, agony, and death. There are other fools beside the man in the woodcut, who are lopping off the branch which holds them up. It is base ingratitude when men are malicious and cruel to those who are their best friends. Wives and parents often have to feel sharp cuts from those whom they lovingly support and are anxious to preserve from ruin. Shame that it should be so!
    Self-righteous reader, you are ready to join with us in any censure which we may pass upon the madness of the sins we have just hinted at; but permit us to ask you, whether you yourself are not photographed in our picture? You are resting upon the bough of good works, and yet, every day, your faults, imperfections, and sins are rendering it less and less able to bear your weight. It never was a firm support, and if you know yourself, and are candid enough to confess your shortcomings, you will at once perceive that it has become, in the judgment of conscience, a very frail dependence, quite unworthy of your confidence. Had you never sinned, and, consequently, never made one gash in the bough, we might tolerate your trusting to it; but since you have cut at it again and again, and it is ready even now to snap beneath you, we pray you, leave it for a surer resting-place. All reliance on self in any form or shape is gross folly. Feelings, works, prayers, almsgivings, religious observances, are all too feeble to support a sinful soul. “Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid—Jesus Christ the righteous.” “Whosoever believeth in him is not condemned.” ” He is able also to save them to the uttermost who come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Trust Jesus and he will never fail you.

5.—Sword and Trowel Tracts—6d. per 100. Passmore & Alabaster, 23, Paternoster Row.