[forthright] The Visit and the Speech

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From: "Forthright Magazine" <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Mon, 16 Mar 2009 10:58:10 -0300
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross

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COLUMN: FINAL PHASE

The Visit and the Speech
  by J. Randal Matheny

The three of us stood in front of the apartment
building, as Jorge depressed the buzzer to #2. As the
chosen spokesman for the brethren, I silently rehearsed
my little speech while we waited for the tinny little
speakerphone to come to life.

One buzz. Two buzzes. No one home.

As we returned to Jorge's car, one part of me felt
relieved, but an inner voice expressed dismay that love
would not have its opportunity this day to confront in
an effort to correct.

The address we'd sought out belonged to a brother
returning to our town after a two-year stint elsewhere,
bent on teaching false doctrine.

Several men had already met with him just to listen and
understand better what he was really saying. And the
result was dismay and deep disappointment.

At the end of the meeting, he'd wanted to know if the
church was going to let him participate in its
meetings. We promised an answer, after consulting among
ourselves and consulting the Word of God.

Now, here we were on his doorstep, a couple of weeks
later, after this brother's absence from the church for
two Sundays, to give him his answer.

I suspect he sensed from our questions that we were not
happy with his new teaching. That's probably why he
hasn't returned to church. But rather than wait any
longer, we decided to go to him.

The first part of my speech to this brother, after
affirmations of love and appreciation for him and his
family during the many years we've known them, centered
in what the Word of God tells us to do.

It would have been far more convenient to stay at home
and rest that Sunday afternoon, much easier to read a
good book rather than visit and confront and risk his
disapproval.

But as God's people, we stand under the Word to obey
its commandments.

We were not coming to him as authorities or masters or
manipulators, but as obedient followers of the Lord
Jesus Christ. We were doing what we'd be told to do in
the Bible.

That opening would segue into an appeal for his
repentance, that quaint old concept that few preach or
expect anymore. Quaint, but still valid in the Lord's
kingdom.

For the moment, however, my speech still goes unsaid.

Perhaps next Saturday or Sunday, Lord permitting, the
three of us can share this message with the wayward
brother, that the door is still open for those who will
put away foolish ideas and speak where the Bible
speaks, and no more.

----
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