An Open Letter to the Church



Dear Friends,

I've recently withdrawn my membership from a local church due to it's reluctance to organize in a Biblical manner:


February 2, 2017

Dear Pastor _____ and ______ Church Council,

It is with great sorrow that I write this letter. I became a member of ______ in February of 2013 with the hope and desire to see ____  grow and mature as a body of believers. And while I have seen the congregation become more interested in God’s Word and continuing to work together in Christian love, I have not seen any movement toward Biblical Church Government as outlined in Scripture. (If there is a movement toward Biblical organization and I’m unaware, please let me know.)

Scripture speaks very plainly about the organization and leadership of the local congregation.

First of all, Hebrews 13:17 tells us: “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.” I truly believe this is true and that you, as leaders, will give an account of your service to the Lord, so let’s be certain you are in His will and meet Biblical qualifications.

1 Timothy 3: 1-7 tells us the qualifications for Elders and Deacons (which is in effect what each of you are even if you are not using the title):

Qualifications for Overseers and Deacons

3 Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full[a] respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.

Those of you serving on the Church Council that I know meet all of the above qualifications – except one – being male. I do not see any wiggle room for women in church leadership roles that serve the function of Elders. Now, I do see Deaconesses in Scripture and can provide Biblical information on qualifications for those who can fill this role.

And Acts 20:28 tells what an awesome responsibility Elders have:

28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God,[a] which he bought with his own blood.[b]

So, in conclusion, I ask you to prayerfully think about what Scripture says regarding the government of the church and the proper roles for men and women. I also ask that my church membership be withdrawn as a matter of conscience for me.

Thank you and may the good Lord bless _______ ________ Church. Amen.

Your sister in Christ,

Angela Wittman

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"But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another." Galatians 5:15 (AKJV)

Recently I became aware of a popular pastor in Texas who has a podcast in which he demeans and hurts members of the body of Christ for exhorting him to do more about the slaughter of the preborn in his community. Instead of examining his heart to see if there really is more he and his congregation can do, it appears he has chosen to lash out and demonize those calling for repentance. Friends, this ought not to be. Where is our Christian love for the body of Christ? Have we become so busy building our little kingdoms on earth that we've forgotten what our good Lord has said?
"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." (John 13: 34, 35 AKJV)
Perhaps this is a good opportunity for all of us to examine our hearts when it comes to obedience to the Word of God and our reaction when a fellow believer points out inconsistencies.

I have yet to receive a response from the church or pastor I've withdrawn from and can only assume that they are too busy serving the Lord to write a letter or make a phone call in response. I am happy to report that I've found a Reformed Baptist church plant nearby for Worship in which the Word is faithfully preached and the congregation appears to be quite zealous for the Lord.

May God have mercy upon His church and lead us to repentance for not loving each other as Christ commands. In Lord Jesus Name, I pray, amen.

See also:

Comments

  1. Angela, we can only pray and labor that the Church will be loving, holy, and obedient. God bless you!

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    1. It's not easy to withdraw from a body of believers. I pray my withdrawal will prompt a conversation about church government and then they'll take appropriate action to line up with God's Word.

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    2. Yes, Angela! But my experience has been that when someone leaves
      they are seen as the one with the problem. This is unjust but real.

      We are in a dilemma with our own church, someplace we should not have been in the first place. I began attending against my better judgment, quenching the Spirit, and have reaped years of frustration and lack of peace. But what kind of witness would it be to leave now? Have you considered this for your own situation? We deliberately attended a non-Reformed assembly after worshipping with an Associate Reformed Presbyterian assembly (it closed). But leaving this little Indy fundy Baptist church now... ? Doesn't't this show to the world a lack of Christian love? Did the Lord tell the faithful Christians in the seven churches to leave or to continue to be faithful? May the Lord Jesus direct you and us!

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    3. Well, that was my thought when they first rejected Elders for Church government. I believe it was in 2012 and I had left, then returned and joined afterward because I thought I was being impatient with them. They had left an apostate denomination in 2005 and I wanted to give them time to reorganize. Then they once more recently had officer elections and the pastor actually said he was ordaining them for office, which opened my eyes to the truth that they were no closer to Biblical governance than back in 2012. So, it's been a long process for me to make this break - and I'm not doing anyone any good if I have a critical spirit during Worship, which I had. I believe the good Lord has led me to a healthy congregation which I found on the church finder at Sermon Audio! :)

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    4. Angela, I understand and pray for this assembly you have been led to, to remain Biblical and ardent. Maybe we too can check out the Church finder function at sermon audio. :0)

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    5. It isn't an easy decision to make and I'll be praying for you and your husband. I had even contacted the OPC to see if they would be interested in planting a church, but right now I really like this little Reformed Baptist plant; the pastor preaches the Word faithfully and the congregation is zealous. You know I'm Presbyterian, so it would have to be good, solid reformed teaching for me to keep going back. :)

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    6. Thank you for your prayers, Angela, and we will pray for you! I've started to search on sermon index and will share your post and this resource with my husband. Recently images of "Jesus" have come out of Sunday School into the sanctuary and onto the bulletins. So happy for you to have found mostly like-minded fellowship!

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    7. Yes, I'm sure it would have to be for you to be worshipping there, Angela. May the Lord lead us all!

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