Note: This letter is written at a time of peace both in our church and in my life, without any particular situation in mind.  I also have purposely waited for certain situations to resolve (2-3 months) just to be sure when I wrote a post like this no one could say, “this is about me, etc.”

This has been a post I’ve been desiring to write for the last year when I was confronting “hyper-grace” folks, but I just felt the peace and release to write it today after having fun with my family at the pool.

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Dear Facebook Friends,

Greetings in the Awesome Name of Jesus Christ who is the Great God and Savior of the World!  As an elder who has served God’s people for over 15 years you probably know already that I have a passionate love for God’s truth.  However, I’m not a sectarian or a divisive person in the Body.  Meaning, I love all Christians who agree with the fundamentals (Jesus is God, the Bible is legit, etc) and yet disagree with me on such issues as, “spiritual gifts,” “women preachers,” “the rapture,” “Calvinism,” etc.

However, what I do have an issue with is when people from other churches come to people in our fold or other churches and promote divisive beliefs behind the church leadership’s back.

Meaning, I have known Calvinist to go behind other pastor’s back and sow division in the youth group or church and try to teach their members the lies of John Calvin.  I even witnessed first hand people attack our church’s disciples because we allow women to preach and be elders and yet not confront the leadership openly or publicly (they hid behind emails and back room conversations).

Therefore, everyone who reads my posts and knows me please hear me very clearly,

I have no issues with you or someone else being a Christian and disagreeing with our church in ‘non-essentials,’ however, if I or any of our leadership ever hears of your false beliefs being “pushed or promoted” on God’s people that we care for we will come after you, your church, and its leadership.

Like Paul rebuked Peter openly “face-to-face,” we will do the same, Galatians 2:11.  We have no fear of man here or concern about “winning friends and influencing people.”  We believe an open rebuke is better than hidden love and that when Jesus called religious leaders, “blind guides, hypocrites, snakes, and vipers” he did it in love.

Make no mistake, you can have your own beliefs that differ with us on the “minors,” but if they cross the line into God’s people’s lives that we are accountable for you will meet our Elders/Deacons with the full weight of God’s Word, Holy Ghost power, and the boldness of a lion.

We have actually had cults (who were even secretly attending ‘Christian churches’) drop off their materials at our church in hopes that our members would read them.  However, within 2 hours they were being sat down in our church and were publicly rebuked.

We always give people fair time, avoid intimidation tactics (yelling, cursing, violence, etc), and are full of grace and truth- but we don’t run and hide from workers of division- we meet them head on.

We have placed four Mormon missionaries on our stage, gave them fair time and annihilated their lies for all to see.  We have openly challenged the most proselytizing Muslim tv show in Chicago, “The Deen Show,” to public debate and they have refused to come.  We have gone to three Jehovah Witness Kingdom Halls in our neighborhood and preached Jesus in their lobbies and parking lot for all to hear.  I personally walked into the “Adi Da” center on Fullerton and confronted their idolatry and man worship.  (I know I am a fool to boast, but I must to show others reading this, we have no fear of man.)  Not to mention over 3 years on Belmont and Clark- street preaching in the Gay Community.

Now, once again, if you are a true follower of Christ and believe differently than us we offer you the “right hand of fellowship,” and say lovingly, “let Christ be glorified in His church.”  For we truly desire to love as much of the church as Christ does.

On the other hand, if you bring your disagreements to our people without bringing the Elders/Deacons into the meeting first, we will challenge you, your church, and whomever you have with you to stand publicly and give an account.

Please take serious note of this, Metro Praise International is not like the other churches you may have been around.  What you say to our people you will be held accountable for.  And not only in our church but I personally have been involved with other churches many times to help them defend their doctrines against harmful outside influences as well.

The gift of apologetics is a gift God has given me and our church.  It is the fulfillment of the prophecy my mother had before I was even saved found in Jeremiah 23.  Remember, we are on the side of grace and truth and will serve you and your church in any way we can to help insure its doctrinal safety.  We will publicly stand with you whenever you need us.  We just simply ask you to avoid all division, dissension, and open rebellion.  If you differ with us please make your differences known to our leadership, not God’s sheep.

I pray that those reading this who are faithfully apart of the Body of Christ with pure motives will rest and be at peace to know their is a discipleship based church in the city where the pastor and its leadership debate, rebuke, and guard truth.  To you we humbly say, “We are with you, even despite our differences, we stand with you for the glory of God.”

However, for those who are cowardly, weak in the faith, trouble makers, and prey upon the naive and immature of Christ’s Body I pray you receive this as a warning.  By God’s grace we will find you and we will boldly confront your error with God’s truth.  To you we say, “We are against you, despite your subtle motives, we will stand against you.”

I end this letter with Paul’s words as he dealt with the same kind of things in his churches as outsiders tried to wrongly influence God’s people,  Of course, we pray for our enemies and love those who hate us.  We believe love overcomes hate and it is good to overlook an offense.  However, what I am referring to is doctrinal error that either brings division to Christ’s church or can damn a person’s soul.

1 Corinthians 4:18-21,

18 Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. 20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. 21 What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit.

Grace & Peace,

Joe

 

 

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