By Elder Matt Jordan, published in The Banner of Love, May 2003
the title caught your attention. Perhaps the sentiment is too harsh or even
inaccurate. Perhaps I am too inexperienced to make such a statement.
But, this is the conclusion to which I am being led to make. And,
perhaps, as the years go by, I will look back and conclude that I was wrong or
too hasty in writing this article. I really pray that this will indeed be the
case. For now, I simply pray that I can express my feelings in a way that you
will know this is written in humility and in love.
However, my sadness and disappointment, no doubt, will also be seen and
perhaps shared by others.
I think we Old Baptists know the Scriptures as
well as anyone. We understand the great truths set forth therein; truths that
many of the Lord’s people are blinded to. I believe we are well grounded
regarding the practice of the Church.
In many generations, though not all, we have been instructed very well
as to the application of God’s grace in our lives. I feel like we know very
well how to behave ourselves in the church of God. We know what our conduct
should be in our relationships as brothers and sisters in Christ. As proof of
this last premise, we are able to quote many verses such as: “go and tell
him his fault between thee and him alone”, “if a man be overtaken in a
fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of
meekness”, “speak every man truth with his neighbor”, “be thou an
example of the believers, in word, in conversation”, “against an elder
receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses”, “but if ye
bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of
another”, and many, many more.
While we may know these things and are able to quote these verses, I
must ask, do we follow the instructions that are given? Do we go to our
brother and speak to him alone? When we go, not if we go, do we go in meekness
with the purpose of restoration? In our meekness, do we always speak the
absolute truth? Do we as ministers fully realize the grave responsibility we
have to be examples to the believers?
How often have we received an accusation against an elder without the
proper witnesses? Are we consuming one another?
Recently, I have had two opportunities to go
to my brother to find out the truth of a matter. I was doubly obligated to do
so because the accusations involved elders. In the first instance, after
discovering the truth, I replied to the brother who had asked me my opinion of
Evidently, the truth offended the brother because he never replied,
although we had been communicating on various subjects for several weeks. In
the second instance, an elder explained a particular situation to me. He was
saddened that rumors had been spread about him. I was even more deeply
saddened when he told me that in all his years in the ministry, I was only the
second brother that had ever approached him personally about any matter of
Perhaps these two instances are not the norm.
Perhaps it was just a fluke that I was faced with these situations only a few
days apart. Am I being presumptuous to think that maybe, just maybe, these
‘opportunities’ came my way to prompt me to write this article in hope
that someone will read it and take it to heart? Surely, Satan must be pleased
when he sees the Lord’s people biting and devouring one another. Satan
doesn’t have to try to consume us. God warns us that we may do that to
ourselves. Probably makes Satan’s job a little easier, don’t you think?
With sadness, but yet in hope,
Elder Matt Jordan