Monday, April 24, 2006

Response to a critique of my McVey review

My review of Steve McVey's Gracewalk still draws an occasional email. I got one over the weekend from "Dennis." He wrote:
as a baptist I can see where you do not understand or comphrehend what Mcvey says. You need structure aparently. Personally I dont need a King mouthpiece. Your denomination is unscriptural and performance related. The basic truth is its not a works salvation or you wouldnt need Jesus Christ. I pick up the pieces of people lives every day that were hurt by the so called organized church.
My response to "Dennis":


Thanks for your feedback on the McVey review. You make a few comments to which I want to respond:

First, you said, "as a baptist I can see where you don’t understand or comprehend what McVey says."

Can you help me out by being specific as to where I have misunderstood Mr. McVey? Is there some point, in particular, at which I have misinterpreted his ideas? Or are you objecting to my disagreement with his ideas as I have accurately understood and presented them? Do you see how those are two different issues? I stand open to correction on either point if you can show me my error.

Next, you write: "You need structure apparently. Personally I don’t need a King mouthpiece."

I don’t exactly understand the "King mouthpiece" comment. Anyway: Yes, I gladly admit that as a sinner I need structure. I need the structure of God’s Word, the Scriptures (this is the mouthpiece I want to listen to and what I am saying is that my reading of it does not jibe with McVey).

I also need to submit to the three foundational institutions as established by God and revealed in Scripture: the family, the civil authority, and the church.

My reading of the Bible indicates that men have a tendency toward disorderliness and God does not like that. For examples, see the golden calf episode in Exodus 32:24-25:

NKJ Exodus 32:25 Now when Moses saw that the people were unrestrained (for Aaron had not restrained them, to their shame among their enemies), 26 then Moses stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, "Whoever is on the LORD's side -- come to me." And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him.

See also the unsettled situation in Israel at the time of the Judges (21:25):

NKJ Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

See also God’s judgement of Eli’s household in 1 Samuel 3:13:

NKJ 1 Samuel 3:13 "For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them.

This theme is continues in the New Testament. See the restrictions Paul places on unruly worship in 1 Corinthians 14 including his rebuke: "For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints" (v. 33).

See also Paul’s household rules in Ephesians 5:21-6:9 and Colossians 3:18-4:1 where wives are to submit to husbands, children to parents, and servants to masters.

Christian citizens are also to submit to civil authority (Romans 13:1-7).

And Christians as individual members of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27) are to submit to the godly, spiritual leaders of the church, most notably the elders: "Obey those who rule over you and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give an account…" (Hebrews 13:17). See also Paul’s first letter to Corinth when he encourages the believers to submit to leaders like Stephanas (16:15-16).

What do we find in the Bible? Structure, structure, structure!

Third, you say my "denomination is unscriptural and performance related."

Agreed, "denominations" per se are not in the Bible but the concept of fellowship and accountability among churches is (see Paul’s collection for the saints in Jerusalem as only one example in 2 Corinthians 8-9). As for the SBC being "performance related" I largely agree and am doing what I can to change that.

As to your final comment that you "pick up the piece of people (sic) lives every day that were hurt by the so called organized church," let me offer a few thoughts. First, are there bad churches where people get hurt? Yes. But there are also good churches. In truth, there are mostly impure churches trying to be more faithful. Churches are not man’s idea but God’s. Jesus constituted the church (see Matthew 16:18-19; 18:15-19; and 28:19-20). The NT provides instruction on how to organize churches (like leadership roles in 1 Tmothy 3). Is organization evil? Certainly not. Yes I have met many who claim to have been burned by organized churches. Sometimes it is true and they need comfort and healing in healthy churches. But sometimes what they call being "hurt" was their own unwillingness to turn from sin or to submit to appropriate authority.

I have found that some who distrust "organized" churches really dislike accountability and discipline.

As I said in my review, I do not see how McVey’s lawless and undisciplined gospel deals with all those passages that tell us the Christian life is constant striving toward godliness (even with the full assurance that we are saved by grace alone). Ponder Paul’s exhortation in 2 Corinthians 13:5a: "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves."

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff

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