Keith Hunt - Speaking the Truth or Keeping Silent - Which?   Restitution of All Things
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Speaking the Truth or Keeping Silent - Which?

Let's UNDERSTAND this teaching of Scripture!

The third part of this study finishes the question "Speaking the
Truth or keeping Silent - Which?"


     How does Ephesians 4:14-16 complement and deepen the meaning
of 1 Corinthians 1:10? there are three areas in which this
occurs:


     The first area of application is "no longer being children."
Wasn't that the root cause of their problem with factions? Paul
confirms this in 1 Corinthians 3:1-3: "However, brethren, I could
not talk to you as to spiritual [men], but as to nonspiritual
[men of the flesh, in whom the carnal nature predominates), as to
mere infants [in the new life] in Christ [unable to talk yet!]. I
fed you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet strong enough
[to be ready far it]: but even yet you are not strong enough [to
be ready for it], for you are still [unspiritual, having the
nature] of the flesh [under the control of ordinary impulses].
For as long as [there are] envying and jealousy and wrangling and
factions among you, are you not un-spiritual and of the flesh,
behaving yourselves after a human standard and like mere
(unchanged) men?"
     Paul wants those who follow Christ to be fed the meat that
results in spiritual maturity and not remain on the milk that
results in spiritual immaturity. Studying and discussing the  
Scriptures is part of our spiritual growth. How can we go beyond
spiritual immaturity if the church organization does not allow
open discussion of Scriptures?

     The second area of application is "speaking the truth in
love," or "lovingly express truth,"
     Paul wanted them to speak the same and be unified regarding
Christ, not glorifying themselves or their leaders. They were
thinking and speaking about who was the best leader and by doing
so minimizing the Head of the body (Christ). Ephesians 4:15 gives
the solution to speaking the same thing and putting the right One
(Christ) fist: "Rather, let our lives lovingly express truth [in
all things, speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly].
Enfolded in love, let us grow up in every way and in all things
into Him who is the Head, [even] Christ (the Messiah, the
Anointed One)." We are to grow up into Christ. How can we grow if
a church organization restricts open communication about the
truth?

     The third application is "being knit together." In 
1 Corinthians 1:10, Paul said he didn't want any divisions, but
he wanted them to "be perfectly joined together in the same mind
and in the same judgment" (New King James Version), or as the
Amplified Bible reads, "but that you be perfectly united in your
common understanding and in your opinion and judgments."
     Ephesians 4:16 shows how this can be done: "For because of
Him the whole body (the church, in all its various parts),
closely joined and firmly knit together by the joints and
ligaments with which it is supplied, when each part [with power
adapted to its need] is working properly [in all its rations),
grows to full maturity, building itself up in love." Being knit
together is a process of each part growing in maturity through
love. If a church organization shuts down open communication
about the Scriptures, it interferes with the spiritual maturing
process of the body of Christ. By hindering this process the body
cannot be "firmly knit together," and it is the organization that
actually causes the division between members, not the open
discussions.

     As stated above, speaking the truth in love is a process of
growth for each Christian. If we are to grow into Christ and "no
longer be children," then we have to stop being afraid to be
adults. As Paul admonishes us in Hebrews 5:12-14: "For even
though by this time you ought to be teaching others, you actually
need someone to teach you over again the very first principles of
God's Word. You have come to need milk, not solid food. For
everyone who continues to feed on milk is obviously inexperienced
and un-skilled in the doctrine of righteousness (of conformity to
the divine will in purpose, thought, and action), for he is a
mere enfant [not able to talk yet]! But solid food is for
full-grown men, for those whose senses and mental faculties are
trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish between what
is morally good and noble and what is evil and contrary either to
divine or human law."

     Paul also shows clearly is 1 Corinthians 2:15-16 that there
is no need to be afraid of someone openly speaking something
different than official organization teachings. The spiritual man
will be able to know what is or is not truth because he "tries
all things [he examines, investigates, inquires into, questions,
and discerns all things], yet is himself to be put on trial and
judged by no one [he can read the meaning of everything, but no
one can properly discern or appraise or get an insight into him].
For who has known or understood the mind (the counsels and
purposes) of the Lord so as to guide and instruct Him and give
Him knowledge? But we have the mind of Christ (the Messiah) and
do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart." 
     The organization should have no fear of division if it
is teaching members to study and examine the Scriptures. They
will be "speaking the same thing," because it will be what
Scripture says: it will be the truth.

WHAT ABOUT A CHURCH GROUP'S APPROACH?

     We have seen that the organization's interpretation of 
1 Corinthians 1:10 is not based on the truth as revealed in
Scripture. Now we must examine whether the organization's
sincerity and integrity of character is based on the truth. Is
its belief that remaining silent about what a person believes, if
it differs from official doctrines, based on the truth of the
Bible? Is it Scriptural to direct that a person should remain
silent about what he/she believes, if it differs from what the
organization teaches? On the surface, this teaching may seem
acceptable. After all, no one who is worshipping God in spirit
and truth wants to cause division among the members. But can we
only look on the surface when sincerity and integrity of
character is subjective? Surface reasoning says, "If I don't say
anything, then no one will know what I think, everyone will live
in peace, and it will appear that everyone is speaking the same
thing." This is also the way a child thinks when he/she conceals
the truth about doing some thing wrong - "if no one knows what I 
did, then I can't get in trouble!" 
     But is this reasoning correct? Not at all, The parents must
explain to the child that telling the truth is always the right
way. Somehow the wrong will be found out and the truth will
become known. The parents must tell the child that concealment of
the truth is only a form of deceit, and any form of deceit comes
from the devil (John 8:44). They help the child to realize that
God loves for us to tell the truth.
     Does God want appearances of truth or the "real thing"? Does
He want us to appear honest for the sake of unity or does He want
us to be honest for the sake of Christ who is in us? Does He want
US to express sincerity and integrity of character only when it
doesn't conflict with the organization's beliefs, or does He want
us to be honest, free from hypocrisy and morally sound all the
time?
     It is dishonest to allow others to think you agree with them
when you do not It is also dishonest to allow the organization to
think we believe as they do just for the sake of unity. The
organization wants us to live in peace with each other by living
in fear of punishment for telling the truth. It forces us to
reason as a child ("If no one knows I disagree, then I won't get
in trouble").
     Isn't it time we stop thinking like children? Paul says in 
1 Corinthians 13:11, "when I was a child, I spoke as a child, I
thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish
things" (New King James Version).

     We who are worshipping God in spirit and truth do not want
to cause contention or division among the members by what we
think or speak. All we want is to believe the truth, be taught
the truth, live the truth, and speak the truth. That is what
Christ did; that is what He personified. If we are to be like
Christ, are we only to appear truthful? ... Christ was the
perfect expression of the truth; this is virtually equivalent to
the statement in John 14:6: Jesus said to him, 'I am the Way, the
Truth and the Life...' To be like Christ, we must have His mind
("the perfect expression of the truth") in us (Philippines 2:5).
Was Christ's mind concerned more about appearance of truth or
unity, or about the deep spiritual truths of God? Isn't it the
Spirit that enables us to know the "deep things of God" (1
Corinthians 2:10)?
     If we are to live the example of Christ to our lives, having
His mind (Spirit) within us, isn't it evident that we must be
more concerned with the deep truths of God rather than
superficial appearances of the truth? We must be living examples
of sincerity and integrity of character.
     There should be no need for concealment, which is immature
behavior and a trademark of Satan. It is the devil who is afraid
of the truth. It is Satan who is afraid of us speaking the truth
in love, not the spirit that dwells within us. As Scripture
testifies, "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of
cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has
given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and
well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control" (2 Timothy
1:7). It is that love that "rejoices in the truth" (1 Corinthians
13:6, New King James Version).

     The simplicity in Christ has always been there for us to
see. Why then has 1 Corinthians 1:10 been explained out of
context to support beliefs that affect every member within the
organization? It is unfortunate for all concerned that the
organization does not see the deeper and far-reaching
consequences of its belief.

Some consequences of this practice include:

(1) It squelches the Spirit within each member from expressing
itself and creates an atmosphere of fear rather than love.

(2) People are taught to be dishonest instead of open and
truthful with other members.

(3) Because there is no openness on biblical topics, people
become involved in social chit-chat instead or the things of God.

(4) It allows for an environment in which people look to the
minister for biblical understanding instead of edifying
themselves and others with their studies. It should be pointed
out that looking to ministers for biblical understanding also
allows for minister favoritism, the very problem 1 Corinthians
1:10 is really addressing.

(5) The most unfortunate and damaging consequence of all is that
it instills loyalty to the church organization before loyalty to
God. The primary focus of the organization's belief to "all speak
the same thing" is not, "What does the Bible teach?", but rather,
"What does the organization teach about the Bible - whether it is
right or wrong?"

THE CHOICE IS YOURS

     What must we do when an organization's belief conflicts with
worshipping God in spirit and truth (aletheia -- absolute truth)?
It's simple: Speak the truth (aletheia -- deal truthfully)? It's
simple : Speak the truth (aletheuo -- deal truthfully) in love.

     As Paul states in Ephesians 425: "Therefore rejecting all
falsity and being done now with it, let everyone express the
truth with his neighbor, for we are all parts of one body and
members one of another." 

     Each individual must make a choice: Follow God and deal
truthfully with everyone, or remain silent to appease the church
organization.

     If the organization continues to restrict open communica-
tion, there can be no "true" fellowship within it any longer.
Since we cannot stop speaking the truth in love, the next choice
to make is whether we wait for the organization to ask us to
leave, or we leave on our own to live in peace.

     God has made it clear. The truth (in both its objective and
subjective usage) cannot be compromised in our lives. Christ
cannot be compromised in our lives. Let's all seek diligently to
have open, honest communication with everyone so we can always
"speak the truth" with the greatest gift of all -- love.

                             .................

What a fine study. Thank you Alene. When I was pastoring two
congregations (one near Toronto, Ontario, and Rochester, New
York) in the 80s, I made it very clear to all that everyone was
to read and study for themselves, whatever and from wherever. I
was not afraid of the truth. I said and still do, that truth can
stand the test of any argument to the contrary. Growing in grace
and knowledge brings you some of the studies on this Website that
are not what many have believed, not what I've believed at times.
I've had to admit errors in theology and I continue to LOVE THE
TRUTH. I SEARCH for it. I DESIRE it. So I hope do YOU! The true
attitude will also be that you do not study for truth to
deliberately divide. The people I served back in the 1980s did
not have that attitude at all. They just wanted the truth - Keith
Hunt


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