Tuesday, 24 March 2009

The Tyranny of the Weaker Brother 2

What happens when the weaker brother/Pharisee is one of/all of your elders? What happens when you get an elder's visit for going to a football match, the cinema, drinking alcohol, etc? This is not a situtation beyond the bounds of reality in some quarters (particularly in some brethren churches).

If an elder must be apt to teach and he is coming down on the flock in matters of indifference, then it's clear he doesn't get the gospel, justification, etc. It is HE who should face discipline, not the guy/gal who was reported for drinking a Baby Sham. If this freedom quenching is a collective spirit in the eldership and not the views of a maverick, you are left with only one option, leave.

It was for freedom that Christ set you free. Stand firm then, and do not allow yourself to be burdened by a yolk of slavery.


Dougie said...

Hi Nick,

Some cracking recent posts and I agree with this one especially as we in Scotland have often been very legalistic.

How easy/difficult is it though do you think for a pastor/elders to show real Godly, pastoral concern for something and becoming a Pharisee?

Maybe by asking this I've already missed the point but do you know what I mean? When does it turn from one thing to anthoer?

JohnGreenview said...

Two questions

How do you distinguish between a 'weaker brother' and a 'legalistic brother'?

Do you think it is reasonable to include with things that are altogether indifferent (foods drink etc) matters that are possibly sinful (watching morally compromised films)?

Nick Mackison said...

Hey Doug, I think it's important to discipline with real humility. Approaching the brother/sister with fear and trembling is a good start. Galatians, I think, says elders should restore someone caught in a sin with a mixture of fear and mercy. You should listen to the WHI on discipline. It was quality.

John, I would consider a 'weaker brother' generally one who is younger in the faith or someone with a tender temperament. Every case is different so I'm generalising.

I think too, that it's a case by case basis with things indifferent. For instance, is it bad to go to the cinema to see Bambi? Is it bad to go and see Basic Instinct? Is it wrong to smoke a cigar? Is it wrong to smoke crack? It's not nice and neat.

Andrea said...

This is an old post, I found it by googling...but it is really helpful to me. I am grieved beyond measure because this is our exact situation!

An elder contacted us because he heard that I was participating in a concert that is taking place in a local Catholic church. Mind you, it is not a worship service...everyone else (outside our church) understands this is a venue, being rented because it is the best place for a choral/orchestral concert in our town. No one thinks I am a closet Catholic because I am doing this concert.

Anyway, my husband has tried to explain that we understand that he (the elder) would not do this, but we don't put that line of "separation" in the same place. Ugh.

Yes, this is the spirit of all our leadership. They also recently outlawed basketball between services on Sundays for the youth. We have a 2+ hour break and most families remain at church, packing their lunch. The teen boys are now gathered in little groups, talking about who-knows-what. Seems basketball might have been more wholesome, no? :)

This is way too long for a comment, so forgive me. Just reeling right now, trying to decide what to do. There are people we love at this church, but it does seem to be a church FULL of "weaker brothers."

PS: Not sure if you should actually approve this comment. Everything I've typed has already been discussed and shared with the appropriate authorities, but we don't really need the trouble, kwim?