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MK forum • View topic - Picky, picky, picky: A thread for theological pedants

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:08 pm 
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Maybe some examples from my own experiences will help illustrate ways that perspective can be lost. I'm sure others will be able to add to this list, whether from the standpoint of an adult member of NTM or an MK. Some have been/ are both MKs and adult missionaries; they must have some real humdingers to share. Please do so!

I mentioned that is often the very best option to overlook certain irritations of life. In my 25 years as a Triber, I was an occasional irritation to others, irritations that were not often overlooked.

Item: I was too generous with the tribal people. I did not require or even ask others to be, but I was. I was called "controlling" because I did not want to violate my own conscience, even though I did not demand that others follow suit.

Item: I often went without a shirt.

Item: I had answers for questions people asked me. This was in the days before FAQs, something that even NTM has taken refuge in now. In those days, having answers was a sign of being proud.

Item: My yard was often messy, my kids didn't adequately pick up after themselves.

Item: The outside faucet at my house was dripping.

These became huge issues, requiring the Field Committee to intervene and pronounce me "unapproachable." Requests for a scriptural definition, or even example, of "unapproachability" was taken as proof that I was, indeed, unapproachable, possibly legalistic and certainly unteachable.

Meanwhile, in the topsy-turvy world of NTM, things that did not fit into the "best overlooked" category were brushed aside.

Item: The Mantle, which, in a real sense, fell from Paul Flemming onto Ken Johnston. I just rolled my eyes and got about the work. Yet this kind of fanciful application of scripture undergirded – and undermined – a lot of what went on in NTM.

Item: Boarding schools are the best option for your children and ministry. I had temerity to question Macon Hare's article (Thank God for our Mission Schools) and was accused of being bothered by Satan. I took cover and got on with the job.

Item: God leads through leadership; Moses as an example of NTM leadership. All we really learned was to steer clear of leadership. . . and get on with the job.

Item: New Tribes Mission is a church. We knew it wasn't, but the job was more important than this picky point.

Item: Racism. Non-whites were not allowed to date whites at the Jackson campus of NTBI in the early 1980s, something I deplored. . . and, to my lasting shame, once counseled an ethnic Thai adopted by an American family to overlook.

Item: When other missionaries were mistreated by leadership, we sheep remained placid, thankful that it wasn't us. We got on with the job.

Quite in contrast to the first category of offenses, offenses that could have been easily overlooked but were inflated into questions of suitability to even serve as a missionary, those in this group were dismissed with, "Gene, I sure wish I served in a perfect mission." The obvious message: Nobody is perfect, just relax and get on with the job. I did. . .

I did, and so I have a great deal of sympathy with those Tribers who are now doing the same thing. It is very difficult to see the seriousness of the situation when you are in the midst of it. And, it's not made any easier by failing to evaluate things according to God's Word.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 10:42 am 
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Gene,

Thanks for sharing our experiences and listing specific instances to illustrate your point. I am quite sure many former and urrent Tribers can relate.

In the Scripture we are intructed to "as much as lieth i you live at peace with all men". I have always understood this passage is dealing with us taking offence at someone's faults (real or perceived by us), avoiding conflict where possible (we seem to want to be "right" or win the argument), etc.

Balance this with Paul's confronting Peter over lgalism where Paul rebuked Peter openly and even later stated Peter "was to be blamed".

Seems to me that when it comes to te watering down of Grace and the Gospel of Grace, the pattern is unrelenting forceful confrontation even in public or in the church. There are other examples of public confrontation such as sin in the Corinthian Church where sin was dealt with openly. How mean of the Apostle Paul to humiliate Peter,the rock! In front of everyone and God no less!! Where was forgiveness there? Where was grace there? In Corinth, Paul also beseeches sisters to get along and quit fighting. He didn't say forgive one another. They needed to quit fighting.

It seems that "easy forgivism" is a reflection of our microwave society and kind of like a reset button on our computers. Too bad it isn't really that east. An office supply store advertises an "easy" button. Were it not that easy! Atually, it is all about relationships and not mechanical robot responses, actions and reactions. As it should be.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 10:44 am 
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:58 am 
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There are two types of people in the world: Those who post on forums and those who don't.

Dividing everything into two opposite categories - bifurcating, in the trade - is a legitimate way of looking at things. In fact, at some level, it is almost impossible not to divide everything into two opposite categories. But, sometimes the opposites are not the obvious ones. [Republicans are not the opposite of Democrats.] And sometimes there are more than two alternatives. [Republicans and Democrats are not the only choices; there is also Presbyterian, for example.]

What are our choices regarding forgiveness?

Are we limited to forgiving or holding a grudge?

Is hatred the theological/ scriptural/ biblical opposite of forgiveness?

Is forgiveness intrinsically good, unquestionably good, always good, never wrong?


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:24 am 
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That was a riveting soccer game, guys! I enjoyed it! (Bet you're sore this morning!)


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:21 am 
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God says a great deal about forgiveness in the Bible. We are never told, however, to unconditionally forgive those who are unrepentant. Nor is there any example of such in the Bible. There are many important precepts for us to implement in our own lives when victimized by evil, but forgiveness of unrepentant perverts is not one of them.

Abraham Lincoln once asked a man how many legs an elephant had. "Four," was the answer.

"Well, what if you called its tail a leg? Then how many legs would it have?"

"In that case," came the answer, "it would have five legs."

"No," countered Lincoln, "it would still have just four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg."

Calling something "forgiveness" doesn't make it forgiveness. But, if it helps us avoid being bitter, hardened, angry people, does it really matter what we call it? "A rose by any other name. . ."


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:04 pm 
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2 Cor. 2:5-11

(If you've already mentioned this, sorry for the redundancy - haven't quite caught up to this point! :P )

I thought it interesting that the forgiveness came after the punishment was sufficient.

Sufficient for what?

The offender was sorrowful which could be an indication of repentence.

In 1 Cor. 5:1-5 - the following punishment is inflicted, "hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord."

This may not be the same person, but the progression is clear - consequences are inflicted on the offender in hopes that the offender will be saved; sufficient consequences result in sorrow which brings forgiveness. Implied, I think, in IICor.2 is that a godly sorrow that has led to repentence. (II Cor. 7:10) The church is then free to forgive, comfort and restore fellowship.

So, godly sorrow => repentence <= forgiveness

I don't think we are helping an offender by making it easy for them to continue living a lie or living in their sin. But we call it "forgiveness"...often enough.

The more I think about - and thanks to seeds planted by Gene in this thread - the more I am understanding forgiveness as a transaction. There is a kind of exchange involved. Maybe, the offended "forbear" (vs. forgive) when the offender refuses to acknowledge the offense.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 4:37 am 
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Arara Azul, you have sure hit on a good word: forbearance. I used the word "overlook" earlier, and that is fine for many of the daily irritations we face. But, forbearance does a better job of bringing out what we have to do with a lot of the other situations that present themselves. And, of course, it is a useful, scriptural way of dealing with things.

It is not, as Arara Azul says, forgiveness. And, it is not easy.

So, good point and thank you for bringing it up. I confess that I had not planned to deal with that passage, and had not even considered the word forbearance.

I don't pretend to be the most qualified person to post on this subject, a subject that I think is very pertinent. I hope Arara Azul will favor us with more insights, and that others will join her.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 11:17 pm 
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 4:32 am 
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Before I give my first reason, a little background. . .

"Meaning" has been defined as "all the situations in which a linguistic object is used, and the responses it calls forth in the hearers." Most of us will credit Jean Dye Johnson with that quote, though I think Leonard Bloomfield said it first. Regardless of who gets the credit, it's certainly an important point.

We've all seen how words have changed in their meanings over the years. To pick one at random, gay used to mean "characterized by exuberance or mirthful excitement." From there, it became a derogatory slang term for homosexual. It is now a euphemism for the same. And, it is no longer used to describe people who are characterized by exuberance or mirthful excitement.

Fundamental and fundamentalist and their related words have also changed in their meaning in recent memory. These words are now nearly synonymous with terrorism and terrorist. Those who believe in the fundamental doctrines of God's Word are hesitant to call themselves fundamentalists, no matter how much they mourn the loss of the word.

Of course, the meanings of words have always changed, simply because the ways they are used have changed. Many of our good Bible words once meant other things, but we started using them in new ways and preempted the former meanings, packing them with our Christian definitions. So, this works both ways.


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