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PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 4:03 am 
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But I want to add that I understand the desire and maybe even the need to lighten the atmosphere a little. Don't want to seem hard on those of you who have put so much time and thought and prayer into your investigations. I believe you truly want to see some good come out of all this. We are all here above all as respresentatives of the living Savior and wish to see His name glorified in the end.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 4:22 am 
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timeto wrote:
I agree that things were set up in a way that made for some unfortunate dictator-like behaviors, in NTM. But we must take care, lest our more well defined understanding of how things should be, causes us to become prideful in our own methods of judement. I also find that humor can at times be destructive when dealing with matters of such importance. For if we are trying to convey the tragic errors of someones ways, do we really want to lessen the impact with attempts at being funny? These are very serious matters. I think that maybe by taking a more somber and professional approach instead of a jovial or sarcastic one would show better, how serious we think the matter is.

It was never my point to maintain that things were set up in a way that made for some unfortunate dictator-like behaviors. Rather, I maintain that some unfortunate dictator-like behaviors grew from the root of unsound theology, including fanciful applications of Bible narratives. I further maintain that this unsound theology, these fanciful applications of Bible narratives are alive and well, and that the evidence is found in that there has there been no retraction from the author of that piece, which is arguably funnier than anything I have posted.

It appalls me to think that Mr. Brown's sermonette will be defended as "just an application" and I will be criticized for "splitting hairs." I reply that if this is splitting hairs, there are a lot more of them that need to be split. And, if Mr. Brown's application is to be accorded a friendly reception, then why even bother to use Scripture at all?

I repeat: It is exactly this sort of thing that gave rise to the excesses of the Old New Tribes Mission, continued to exist in the New New Tribes Mission and now is found in the Newest New Tribes Mission.

I am deadly serious about this topic. NTM, Inc. should be, too.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 7:16 am 
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I will go back and read everything again. Perhaps I misinterpreted something. If so, I am sorry. I sense you are angry with me. I hope we can be free to speak as we see fit here. I just stated what my personal opinion was on the use of humor when addressing these issues. If someone feels that with it, they can better express themselves or make a point, then they certainly should be free to do so. I don't wish to make anyone feel uncomfortable for having expressed an opinion, I guess I just wanted a chance to express mine.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 2:15 am 
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I began this thread with the following observations: "Some (a lot? all?) of what is hopefully going to be the subject matter of this thread will probably seem nit-picky to some (a lot? all?) readers. Feel free to move on to threads that seem less so; I have certainly spent some time on other issues on this forum as well, and probably will again. Especially if Kyle Yunker keeps posting. . . Meanwhile, I think it is about time to dive in to the treacherous waters of Bible study - waters that I hope we can navigate without being condescending, preachy or aggressive. Pedantic is OK!"

In saying that, I did not mean to convey that it had to be dull, with no vestiges of humor in it. Nevertheless, I have expunged the humor from my post and am reposting it. To be honest, I wasn't totally satisfied with the original anyway; I should have said "sandals" instead of "shoes." So, I admit that it is no great concession on my part to leave it off.

I have, somewhat lightheartedly (but not humorously), chosen the word "pedant" and its many variants as a hook on which to hang these theological discussions. I do not really think, as I hope my comments have made clear, that there is anything objectionable about striving for accuracy in our use of the Bible. The Bereans were commended for checking up on Paul, who was writing most of the New Testament at that time, and the commendation came with no warning of the dangers of being proud of their more well defined understanding.

I do not say this to minimize the dangers of pride. Pride is always a danger, and usually leads to much worse sins. Think of what could happen if one were so proud that sin were covered up to protect the Name of the Lord. That could lead to some real fiascos, could it not?

Here is the revised version of my earlier post:

FrmrNTer refers to "the military-like beginnings" of NTM, Inc. Soldiers, battles, military accouterments and more are used in the Bible, especially in the New Testament, as metaphors of the Christian life. There is nothing wrong with reading, believing and applying those passages to our lives and ministry; there is a lot to be lost by ignoring them. A careful reading of the passages involved, however, will protect us from thinking we are "God's Army" and that it is the duty of our leaders to impose hardship on their charges, to require unquestioning obedience of the rank and file, to control every aspect of another person's life. These passages, however, have not always been read carefully. Instead, they were applied carelessly and implicitly, if not explicitly, used to justify the military mind-set of the Old New Tribes Mission. How did this happen?

It is when we get used to fanciful, if entertaining, interpretations and applications of God's Word that we go astray. It has been observed that Scriptures can be used to prove anything, to support any doctrinal position, any theory, any cult. The Jehovah's Witnesses, for instance, use the Bible to support their religion.

In the hands of those who are skillful at deception, this is true; anything can be proved from the Bible. It helps (hurts) when the followers are in some sense dependent on the leaders, be it for employment, status, protection or shepherding. To return to the military mode, most soldiers are at least subconsciously aware that a General's jokes are funnier than a Captain's jokes. Most missionaries are more open to the interpretations and applications propounded by leadership than they are to those from fellow servants.

But, if the Bible is skillfully and carefully studied, interpreted by sound principles, and if all believers take seriously their personal responsibility to know what God's Word teaches, it is no longer possible to teach any old thing and claim to have Scriptural support. Hence the emphasis by sound Bible teachers on "rightly dividing the Word." That does not just mean "parroting the official line," either!

Even when rightly dividing the Word, of course, it is possible to study it and still come to some differing conclusions on a number of issues. But, it is not possible to come to just any conclusion, any interpretation, any application under the sun. That is why theological issues are so foundational, so important. Most people even loosely associated with NTM, Inc. will profess agreement with this.

Yet, somehow, Larry Brown was able to find undressing and embarrassment in the story of Naaman, topics which are actually read back into the text, not derived from it. Naaman's objection to washing in the Jordan was that there were better rivers in Damascus. There is no hint that he objected to undressing. In fact, his servants remonstrated with him based on the fact that it was such a simple thing to do.

Please do not misunderstand me. I agree with the general drift of Mr. Brown's word of encouragement: We certainly need to "keep ourselves in a position where God can complete His work." It takes "courage, understanding and a commitment to stay the course. God will discipline and teach us in love. Let's not miss those imperative lessons." That's pretty hard to gainsay, even for a pedant.

My objection is that the passage of Scripture chosen by Mr. Brown did not teach this lesson, does not even support his application. To defend his sermonette on the grounds that it is "just an application" is to say that it doesn't matter how one handles Scripture, just so long as the overall message is OK.

In the Old New Tribes Mission, it was often remarked that the leadership could get away with almost anything when preaching, things that regular old missionaries could not.

Turn now with me in your Bibles to II Naaman. . .


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 11:20 am 
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Geminale- I liked your verses. Hebrews 4:12-13 came to mind as well:

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

And that is where we are all exposed as to who we really are, inside and out, and that He can see and will use His Word to reveal us, should be utmost in our hearts.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 11:26 am 
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Quote:
I have, somewhat lightheartedly (but not humorously), chosen the word "pedant" and its many variants as a hook on which to hang these theological discussions. I do not really think, as I hope my comments have made clear, that there is anything objectionable about striving for accuracy in our use of the Bible. The Bereans were commended for checking up on Paul, who was writing most of the New Testament at that time, and the commendation came with no warning of the dangers of being proud of their more well defined understanding.


Gene-We all need to be Bereans. Hey, if they had the liberty to check up on what the APOSTLES said, then we should not feel any timidity to do the same for those who preach to us, and each other.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 11:28 am 
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I am not a theologian but I am a student of the word. I totally get what Larry used to explain exposure of sin. And I think the embarrassment is a true emotion. I have no problem with his illustration. Matter of fact, I think it gives true human response to the passage.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 11:52 am 
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Interested- I get you, and actually I heard this illustration before Larry mentioned it. My issue at the time was not with the illustration, but with the issue over the exposure.

And, I totally agree that if I were a current member of the mission, I would find it to be very difficult to be put under a microscope.

However, in this particular thread I think we are trying to look at Scripture somewhat objectively as far as how we use Scripture and how leadership uses Scripture affects how it is used to establish policy within an organization or local church.

Given Diane's recent post and the EB visit to GA and IN I think we are far more encouraged about what is going on with NTM in particular, but it should not prevent us from being able to have a serious yet amiable discussion of the use of the Word.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 11:53 am 
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Quote:
However, in this particular thread I think we are trying to look at Scripture somewhat objectively as far as how we use Scripture and how leadership uses Scripture affects how it is used to establish policy within an organization or local church.


That was poorly written, on my part :( .


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:06 pm 
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I think that the bottom line in this is that the time has come (in fact, long since passed) for NTM, Inc. to stop thinking of itself as some sort of special and spiritual entity, but as a business (which is what it truly has become). It may have a spiritual purpose and goals, but is actually a large multinational corporation (even though they would like to claim that the "fields" operate independently). As such, I think it would do them good to engage people who have expertise in business and how to run such a corporation. At this time, I think the areas that could use the most help are public relations and human resources.


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