Wednesday, August 30, 2006

God Speed

This past Sunday, part of the sermon was about our relationships with false teachers. We discussed both those who were once a part of the church but have now been swayed into believing that which is false, and against God’s Word, and those who proclaim false doctrines but have never truly understood the Truth.

If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. - II John 2:10-11

Much of the lesson dealt with those who have never known the truth, but teach a falsehood. Like shady televangelists, snake charmers, denominations and even “good” organizations that operate under a religious umbrella.

The idea being that we shouldn’t give to places like the Salvation Army because they have churches and minister a false religion. Even though they have a branch of their operation that gives to the poor, the giving comes with false teaching.

Helpful organizations like the United Way also support pro-choice legislation and homosexuality.

All of this makes some level of sense, to me. However when I think about it further it brings up some questions that, honestly, I don’t know the answer to.

Recently, I helped organize a blood drive through the Red Cross. But look at that name, red CROSS, it doesn’t take much to realize there is, or was a religious connection to that organization. I don’t believe they have churches, or do a lot evangelizing. However, if there is any type of connection to falsehood does it mean that I must not be a part of them, must not give blood? Giving blood, quite literally saves lives, and I don’t know of any other means to donate. If it is the only means of which to give this live-saving liquid, is it still immoral of me to give?

If I have furniture that I no longer need and want to give it to the poor, where do I give? If the Salvation Army is out, is a secular organization like Goodwill ok? If, by giving to a false religious organization I am aligning myself with their beliefs, does that mean I am aligning myself with secularism if I give to Goodwill?

Taking this a step further, if I buy my groceries at Wal-Mart am I then aligning myself with their evil corporate policies? If K-Mart supports pornography, and Disney supports the homosexual agenda and abortion, am I then supporting these things by buying their products?

Surely, at some point, we have to “support” evil things in some way, so that we may live. Early Christians must have gone to the market and purchased things from heathens. Jesus said that we should render unto Caesar what is his. But where do we draw that line.


bigsip said...

I try not to think about this too deeply.

I know that sounds like a cop-out, but the fact is that you can analyze something like this to the point that everyone in the church has to become a Menonite.

My take is to help people person to person and try to disregard the middle-man. If the only conduit to giving blood is the Red Cross, so be it. If you have to use Goodwill or the SA to get your goods to people who need it, alright.

Just because the conduit is not perfect (btw, the church isn't perfect either) doesn't mean your giving attitude and heart are wrong and will be spurned by God.

Just my take...

Rachel said...

If you look at this verse in context, it's talking about individual false teachers, not organizations. If some wacked-out preacher visited our church or home with the purpose of (false) teaching, it would be our responsibility to stand up for the truth and tell him to move on. But if the guy owns the local grocery store and doesn't use that store to do his false teaching, I don't see any reason not to shop there.

We can, however, easily fall into the politeness trap and end up "wishing them God speed." As in a door-to-door (false) evangelist- you may politely get rid of them and sin in wishing them good luck in their work instead of teaching the truth to them.

bigsip said...

Rachel's explanation is better and more of what I was trying to say.

We have a bad habit of condemning organizations and everyone connected with them when we should be looking at individuals.

It's so much easier for people to look at a group and say, "They're all going to Hell" than it is to deal with singular teachers. While an entire group very well may be going to Hell, the only way to convert people is one person at a time.

Jamison said...

Im with the Sips. You know I used to LOVE to boycott anything.. these days I simply dont give a rip. I dont shop at walmart because the emplyees would rather you not come at all, the parking lot is a mess, and the customers look like they were dragged from the funnel cake stand at the local red-neck outdoor county fair.

Ryan F. said...

It's much easier and helpful if you just know of alternatives. Like for example, if a member of the church runs a grocery store, you might want to do your business with him because you know what type of person he is. I agree, you can't questioning every store owner or business owner. If that were done, we probably wouldn't be able to buy most things we need. I do my thing, and if I hear of a Christian who owns a business that I have need of, and does a good job, I will use them instead.

Brewster said...

That's a good point Fred. I try to help local folks out and especially local christians. But there aren't that many here that own joints.

I agree Sip, and part of the question stems from the fact that if we do look too deeply we'd better form a comune and grow our own food, make our own clothes etc.

The congretation here tends to take it too far sometimes. In that they once scolded another congregation for playing in a softball league. This was a handful of folks playing a game mind you and sometimes they played against the baptist, which is apprently fellowshipping the baptists!

mullinz8 said...

Should you do any sort of business with a guy who you know is going to put that money into child pornography, no. Should you do any sort of business with a guy you know is a Baptist and going to put that money into a local grocery, no.

In a greater sense of things I think we should support those of like faiths and walks. I think the warning could be more about someone actively trying to dupe you into something that is wrong.

I constantly overlook the chapter of finite details God laid out for his people to find their salvation, especially the part that says “those who go to the church of Christ are correct in all their assumptions and everyone else is wrong”.

I think it’s wrong to actually consider our knowledge of Gods actions and motivations and one persons walk of faith more astute than Gods grace, especially from the pulpit.

There are things denominations (like the non-denom c.o.C) do that may or may not be right and teaching can be skewed but we don’t know what’s in a person’s heart until we get in the trenches with them and figure it out. God told us that we must always be accountable for our faith and be ready to back it up. There is a huge difference between backing up ones faith and asserting Biblical correctness in interpretation and condemning another’s entire faith because of something which may be a small difference.

I’ve heard of Baptist churches and baptize members into the Baptist church and others who baptize people into Christ. Knowing that I can’t lump Baptists into the same mold of Hell bound sinners bent on bake sales and world domination.

Having said that, I do believe there are “steps” to salvation: confession, acceptance, baptism, actively maintaining faith, diligent study, prayer, etc, etc, etc, just like the rest of you.

In the NT I was recently struck by the passage where Christians were told to be nice to those who were not like them because even the Pharisees were nice to their own and it gained them nothing. It’s a rough paraphrase but you should get the meaning. By helping those that aren’t like you and you’ll be doing something good where if you only help those in your circle you won’t be advancing the cause, so to speak.

Jamison said...

i stopped doing biz with people just because they are "members of the church." IN the past they have taken their time helping me, charged me the same, if not more, than others would have charged me, and plus you dont know if that man you are doing business with that sits in the pew next to you spends his earnings on porn sites on the internet...

so I saiy, buy from whoever, let God deal with the rest.

bigsip said...

My Dad gave me some good advice years ago that sort of goes along with what you're saying, Jamison.

He told me that you should try to avoid buying from or selling to family. Too many bad feelings can get wrapped up in stuff like that.

I feel much the same way about church members. It's awkward and sometimes just bad practice to do business with church/family members. I even try to keep away from that sort of thing with friends, too.