"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Glimpses of Grace 22: The e-mail to end all e-mails

     The Board of Elders took decisive, if passive-aggressive, action against those exposing them. Almost every service opened with a different elder reading some prepared statement or prayer misquoting Bible verses to declare things like "the elders are worthy of double honor" and declaring their "unanimous" support of Lou. (We know they aren't unanimous; at least three of them stand with us in opposing his doctrine and the personality cult surrounding him.) 
    Lou had finished his series on the fruit of the spirit, or rather, he had declared himself bored with the series and said he wanted to switch to something else. I noticed the fruits he had decided not to preach on, ironically, were "gentleness" and "self-control." Now in his sermons, Lou would manage to get a dig in at those sending out emails even if it had to come from a verse in I Corinthians during his new series on Exodus.
     In the Life Groups, held in private homes, they warned against reading unsolicited e-mails. They mentioned the "Renshaw issue" by name and told people not to speak to us or read what we write. (Of course we try not to send anything to anyone who doesn't want it.)
     The day after a group of intercessors agreed God was "changing the angelic guard" and giving us "a higher level of authority for a higher level of warfare, a friend in Oregon texted us, "Stand firm. The enemy has not retreated. He is just gathering more workers." That was at 7:48 on the morning of October 11. 
     At 4:01 that afternoon, we received an email, Important Communication from the Leadership of Grace, sent to everyone in our church of 800 who has email. It referred to "unsolicited emails containing charges, accusations, inferences and innuendo against the pastoral staff and elders of the church" with an "appeal to the people involved to address concerns in a Biblical and Christ-honoring manner." They called themselves "men of God" and defended their commitment to "personally living and leading God's church under the authority of God's Word.
     They certainly were "gathering more workers."
     It was signed by the head of the Executive Board of Elders, the one I have chosen to call Hatchet Man. It sounded so sane and reasonable even we could almost be persuaded they were the victims.

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