Apr 14, 2006

the perfect christian

Not only is it tough being a perfect Christian, it's impossible!

About twenty-five years ago a man caused a great deal of heartache to a small church he claimed as his family. He decided (in his own legalistic mind) that an elder must be perfect in order to shepherd the church scripturally, and went about promoting his agenda for perfect elders, and letting everyone know how corrupt the existing elders were...they were not perfect and should be replaced with those who were perfect.

Many in the church family (including the elders) attempted to explain that perfection was impossible for any mortal including those desiring to be an elder, but scripture, logic, and common sense meant nothing to him. He would always spout his favorite elder bashing scripture quoting Titus 1:7, 8 as absolute proof of his sound convictions.
For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.
Being "above reproach" was equivalent to being perfect in his mind, and he didn't think the existing elders were qualified to be shepherds and should resign. No one in the local church met his standards to lead as an elder...they just didn't meet his flawless interpretation of God's Word.

After causing a lot of problems this man eventually left the church and was always quick to pronounce the whole group as a bunch of hypocrites. Unfortunately he died a very bitter man with no use for the church.

We're all far from perfect-even our shepherds, but expecting perfection in others when we can't meet the criterion ourselves is ridiculous!

11 comments:

jettybetty said...

We have to love our erring brothers--it's all we have.

None of us are close to perfect.

So sorry to hear the man died bitter--so sad.

Larry said...

JB...
Very sad indeed!

He was very bitter the last year before leaving the church. His marriage broke down as well, probably because his wife continued to love God and didn't side with him against the church. She was a very good and loving Christian.

When we expect our brothers and sisters in Christ to be pure as the driven snow we will always be disappointed.

L.E.Meredith said...

I only have one LEADER in Church and HE was perfect. And Paul does hold Bishops and Deacons to a higher standard after all they have taken on the task of decesion makers for the congregation, but I have yet to see one who I would call perfect. Even my darling wife makes mistakes, just look who she married.

Larry said...

Laymond...
Unless we're divine we fall short of God's glory. Perfection is a wonderful goal, but not to be realized in this life.

Being perfect will have to remain in the realm of God.

Just think how imperfect you would be without your wife to keep you under control. :)

Hoots Musings said...

This may sound harsh, but I do not mean for it to be.

My church is a good church. I do get the distinct feeling that if you do not make a certain amount of money, are not slim and attractive, or have a perfect family (all externals) then the leadership (ministerial staff) does not acknowledge you.

Sadly, the church of Christ has become more of a country club mentality...at least where I am now.

My hope is to be all I can be to everyone, even the down trodden and erring ones.

None of us is perfect, and this spiritual snobbery is nothing more than s-i-n.

Larry said...

Hoot...
The one place in the world you would not expect to feel like an outsider is within the church, yet I know many Christians who feel neglected and misunderstood in what should be the most loving environment on earth.

Perhaps I err (as usual,) but the larger churches seem more prone than smaller churches to assign ones worth to the church by their appearance, income, age, and position in the secular world.

Of course I'm prejudiced towards smaller tighter knitted churches that accept all Christians into their fold equally without tagging them by any standards of the world.

Hoots Musings said...

Larry,
My husband recently lost his job, we are sinking financially and we only feel comfortable telling a few at our church.

We are hoping when he lands work that God leads us to a smaller church.

Please pray for us!

Larry said...

Hoot...
Regardless of our righteousness and love for God we often find ourselves being severely tested. Just hang in there and do your best and allow God to do the rest.

You and your husband are in my prayers!

TCS said...

Too many of us have seen this played out.

Larry said...

tcs...
Its bad enough having a my-way-or-the-highway attitude about other churches, but really bad when this attitude is within our own church.

TCS said...

Larry,
Just checking back. Yes both ways are bad. My mother was persuaded by a my way or the highway man to leave not one but 3 churches. The circle kept getting smaller and smaller. The first church she had been a part of for over 50 years.