Not done lightly (3-a)

It came up in a few e-mails and a note in the meta that we haven't talked about the problem of "abuse". And we haven't, I admit it -- because I think the category is too broad. All manner of things get tossed in there -- from the worse sorts of things like physical assault or sexual stuff to someone (a human being, you see) losing his temper (as opposed to being prone to violent outbursts) or someone simply rebuking someone who needs a rebuke but isn't emotionally equipped to handle it.

So if we have to talk about it (and we should), I'd say we need better categories to use to talk about it. And here's the thing: the Bible gives us those categories. We don't need the secular law or the materialistic psyhologist to define these categories.

Here are the things an overseer/pastor/elder should not be:
  • He must not be arrogant
  • He must not be quick-tempered
  • He must not be a drunkard
  • He must not be prone to violence
  • He must not be greedy for gain
  • He should be a one woman man, with all that entails
Now, that's a starter list -- it doesn't go to the criteria in the letters to Timothy, and it doesn't speak to all the other disqualifications in the rest of the NT like he shouldn't be someone who demands harsh rules, or whomeone who thrives on conflict and divisions. But as a starter list, what do you do about it?

Listen: if your pastor or an elder in your church hits you, and it wasn't a bar fight* or a situation where you baited him into violence through taunting and hateful behavior, he has disqualified himself. If you persue that with your church, either they are going to tell him to leave, or they are going to tell you to leave. You either have a church which recognizes what's right and what's wrong, or you don't. If you don't, as enablers they're going to make you the problem, and you should be glad to see they are like that -- because they'll show you the door.

I'm not saying it will feel really good and you'll get all vindicated and immediately sanctified: it's going to hurt deeply, and leave you angry and bitter, but when they tell you to leave, just leave. And I have a suspicion that this will work in all the cases above -- for the angry man, the violent man, the drunk, the guy who's greeedy for money or power or "respect" (whatever that means), the womanizer. use Mat 18 as a model, bring it up, and move on.

Nobody -- not me, and certainly not Paul or Jesus -- wants the church to be a place where people are abused. It's supposed to be a place where our infirmities are healed by His stripes.

*If it is a bar fight, you have to admit that you were both someplace you shouldn't have been doing things you shouldn;t have been doing, and repent.