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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Rewarded ... or Forgiven?

I've blogged in the past about franchise churches --- the ones that bill themselves as "one church, multiple locations." If you've not read my prior blogs on the subject, I can sum it up for you by simply stating that I don't think it's Biblical. In fact, I can find much about it that seems to fly in the face of what the Bible teaches about New Testament churches.

That notwithstanding, I have been further processing my thinking on this subject. I have some new thinking on it too.

I was reading in 1 Timothy recently about false teachers. And it reminded me of another topic I've blogged on before ... that false teachers can be godly men and women who simply err or miss the mark. It doesn't make them evil. It certainly doesn't cost them their salvation. They can preach many good things that are not false. But sometimes they may slip up. I think the temptation has always been to define false teachers as once and always --- meaning that once you teach something that is not true, you are always labeled as a false teacher. This is clearly wrong. It is not how God sees things.

You see, it becomes evident that God forgives false teachers if the reason they've taught something false is because of a simple error on their part. If they generally teach what is true and right, I believe God forgives their error and moves on. To be sure, the Bible says teachers are accountable for what they teach. But they are also forgiven. That much is just as clear.

So let's bring this back to one church, multiple locations. While I think this is a manifestation of false teaching and false beliefs - I realize it is also something that God can forgive.

I consider the pastors and church leaders who buy into this model. The ones I know are good men and women. They are good teachers. They are obviously called by God, anointed by God and ordained for His service. I don't question that. I simply question their church model. In fact, I do more than question it. I doubt it. I challenge it. But that doesn't mean I don't love them and can't be on the same page with them.

It is the unity of Christ that allows all believers to be wrong. So when we are looking at whether something is okay to do or not, perhaps the better argument is not whether it is right or wrong.

Rather I think the question is whether or not this is something God will reward me for ... or is this something that God will forgive me for?

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