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Ten Reasons Why People Fall


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#1 Matt Smith

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 07:00 PM

This article was in The Bible Magazine in 2002 and I thought it would be beneficial to reproduce here...


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Ten Reasons Why People Fall Away From The Truth!

By Frank Abel (Ont., Canada)

This article is about the reasons why some people who find the Truth give it away. Although it is hard to imagine that anyone really understanding and possessing the pearl of great price would just give it up willingly, sad to say it happens frequently. In some cases they just give it away, like Esau, who for a single meal gave away his birthright. Others abandon it because they are not prepared to pay the cost necessary to maintain it (see Luke 14:38-23). That is, when it becomes apparent to them that faith is required, they, like the rich young ruler who conversed with Jesus, turn away with a sad heart (Matthew 19:22). Still others leave the Faith only to become dedicated enemies of the Truth later on. The real question for the reader to ask is if any of the following examples sound familiar. Take a little time and ponder these ten scenarios where the scripture records that people either were at risk of leaving the Truth, or fell away altogether. Our first line of defense is to correctly assess our own weaknesses.

Reason 1 — Itching Ear Syndrome!

In the latter part of his life, the apostle Paul witnessed the sad picture of believers leaving the sound teaching of the scriptures and giving their ears to things that sounded better. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2Timothy 4:3-4). It is not to be expected that any of those afflicted with this problem really had itching ears in a literal sense, rather the apostle was using a figure of speech to represent those believers who were giving their attention to something that sounded more appealing than the Truth. For instance, one might guess that it was for this simple reason that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, a complete and total lie, came into the catechisms of the more ‘progressive’ churches. As long as the pastor or priest involved could show a couple of texts, like the words of the thief on the cross, the new teaching would seem to have biblical support. What a wonderful thing to hear— we are immortal after all! However, to students of the Bible this new idea was utterly false and could not be reconciled with the scriptures.

Reason 2 — The Love of Money!

Jesus made it clear when he said, “ye cannot serve God and mammon.” To the people of Ephesus who saw material gain as a measure of godliness, the Apostle Paul spoke strong words of rebuke. “Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself” (1Timothy 6:5). In this case the departure in thinking was so fundamental that Timothy was advised to withdraw himself from those who believed and taught such things. The apostle responded further by saying that the love of money was a reason for people getting into all kinds of evil, so that they “...erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10). The truth of this statement is not hard to see in our covetous society as people continue to desire the immediate pleasures of materialism. Seeking treasure on earth places many demands on our time, our energy, and ultimately on our allegiances. Students of the Bible will recognize the truth of
the parable of the sower: “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful” (Matthew 13:22).

Reason 3—Succumbing to Seducing Spirits!

Many people have had the experience of wanting to say ‘No’ to a persuasive salesman and yet in the same instant had a difficult time finding real reasons to support a resistance. In some cases we may have actually ended up saying ‘Yes’ because we couldn’t think fast enough of a way to counter the clever reasoning woven into the sales pitch. Likewise, in the arena of religion, we are warned, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1Timothy 4:1). So, some depart from the Faith because they are seduced to follow the ways of others. It may be that an association with a wicked person has an innocent start, but once the evil influence is recognized our best defence is to flee, like Joseph did before Potiphar’s wife. The scriptures are emphatic enough, “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits” (1 Cor 15:33,34 NKJV). It is good to be a little sceptical about new ideas and apply the same test that the Bereans did when they searched the scriptures daily to see whether what they were hearing agreed with the Word of God (Acts 17:10,11). The apostle John adds a further warning: “try the spirits, whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1-3).

Reason 4 — To Avoid Persecution!

The Lord tells us in the parable of the sower that there is a whole class of people who fall into this category: “the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended” (Matthew 13:20,21). In having to deal with the pressures of life in the Lord, all are tested, and necessarily so, for testing is essential to help us develop a character of value like the pearl of great price. In former times one might be talking of the nature of testing that led to martyrdom, however today, at least in western society, it is much more likely that the most a person will suffer is social rejection, or loss of employment. The Lord mentioned that a group of priests of his day had this precise problem, “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:42-43). What cost are we willing to pay? The question
we ought to be asking ourselves is whether we likewise would seek to evade our responsibilities to witness if we thought that unpleasant consequences were likely to follow. The wrong choice would lead to a seared conscience— and to a forsaking of Truth.

Reason 5 — Becoming Tolerant of Error!

Jesus put it this way, “Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols” (Revelation 2:20). The believers at Thyatira, should have recognized the evil involved and stopped this spiritual Jezebel before she had successfully seduced other members of the congregation. One can think of many characteristics that this Jezebel may have had which made it difficult to deal with her influence, but the longer the problem was put off, the more difficult it would become. The record indicates there were a few individuals who remained in the same congregation unaffected by her influence and teaching, but they had not been able to deal with her treachery. The elders in a congregation should be quick to recognize trouble and act soon enough, powerfully enough, and equitably enough to effect change. False doctrine is like an infectious disease, if left without restraint, it will eventually overcome everyone.

Reason 6 — No Love of the Truth!

Truth cannot prosper where apathy rules. Many times in the history of Israel, when no one stood up for Truth, the nation was impoverished. God put it to Isaiah like this: “None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity” (Isaiah 59:4). With all the scientific ‘discoveries’ of the last few centuries it has been amply demonstrated that wonderful things can happen if you understand the truth behind it. Surely every mature adult understands the value of truth in that sense, so why is it that so few fall in love with ‘truth’ in a general sense? It must be clearly understood that when people despise the Truth, and show cold indifference to God’s wonderful and gracious offer of eternal life, there is a consequence. False teachers would come, says Paul, “...with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” (2 Thess 2:10,11). If through indifference and the lack of maintaining the Truth in our life, our love for it is allowed to grow cold, one day we may find ourselves out in the cold and defending lies.

Reason 7 — To Champion New Ideas!

Even in the lifetime of the apostle Paul it was obvious that some who came into the flock, came in with less than genuine motives. For instead of being humbled by the word of Truth and remaining teachable, they introduced new doctrines with a hidden agenda. Warning people about this threat to the Faith became an important part of the gospel Paul preached, as he said: “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:29,30). In direct opposition to the clear teaching of the Faith, these people preached another Jesus and enticed as many as possible to join them in their departure from the original belief. Driven by pride and the lusts of the flesh, these teachers have often been charismatic leaders, fired by their success of acquiring a following. No wonder that the Lord could say, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matt 7:1316). In recent times the false prophets have greatly multiplied, such that Christendom has become so splintered, that the adversaries of Christ have been given a reason to mock the Truth itself.

Reason 8 — Too Content to be a Spectator!

In our western world, the technological advances in electronics have provided consumers with massive TV screens, such that quite often they get a better view of events than those in actual attendance. And there is no need to miss a moment, for with the ability of video-taping and instant replays, one can relish the favourite moment time and again. This has had such an enormous effect on people in North America at least, that the number of people on the streets during a major sporting event has noticeably decreased. Our age has become the Spectator Age, where people have diligently sought out inventions to enable them to be entertained, while they in comfort only need to have enough energy to now and then, press a button. For Christians, this is a deadly habit, as Jesus warned, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). Individuals with this problem do not leave the Truth per se, but their lifestyle is a reason for concern. Jesus thoroughly condemned the man who had been given a talent but didn’t use it when he said: “...cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt 25:30).

Reason 9 — Once a child, Always a child!

If conviction is to develop in a believer’s life, then understanding one’s beliefs is essential. In the parable of the sower, Jesus made the point that some who start on the road of discipleship never progress and eventually depart from the Faith because they did not understand their beliefs. “When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart” (Matthew 13:19). Studies associated with nutrition, have taught us that it is important for humans to have an appropriate and balanced diet throughout their life. Common sense tells us further, that a man caught up in heavy labour in his field of employment, is hardly going to perform well on the same diet as his infant son. The apostle Paul makes it very plain in the following remarks, “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat” (Hebrews 5:12). People who never progress in their understanding of the Truth become the stragglers in faith.

Reason 10 — Insufficient Fellowship!

The Truth was never meant to be lived in isolation. In fact, ‘agape’ the chief quality of Christian life could not be developed apart from the pressures brought on by belonging to a community of believers. The apostle Paul said it was necessary: “...that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church (or ecclesia) of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). It may be that those who see a liberal element in fellow believers, and a way of life they abhor, wishing to avoid contamination, choose isolation for themselves. The ecclesia or community of believers is likened in the Scriptures to a bride, one bride — the bride of Christ. All genuine members of the Christian community are either part of the body of the bride, or not part of the Christian community at all. It is needful that we are all part of this community that needs and depends upon the fellowship of each other.
Matt Smith
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Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

#2 Julian

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 09:01 PM

Hi CDelph.

I will reply here as I did on CTA:

Those are all too true, I am sure.

Sadly, there is another reason.

BEING DISCOURAGED BY YOUR BRETHREN WHEN YOU NEEDED HELP, TO BE LOVED:

ACTS 20:35 In all things I gave you an example, that so laboring you ought to help the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"

LK 11:46 He said, "Woe to you lawyers also! For you load men with burdens that are difficult to carry, and you yourselves won't even lift one finger to help carry those burdens.

MT 25:41 Then he will say also to those on the left hand, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels;
MT 25:42 for I was hungry, and you didn't give me food to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink;
MT 25:43 I was a stranger, and you didn't take me in; naked, and you didn't clothe me; sick, and in prison, and you didn't visit me.'
MT 25:44 "Then they will also answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and didn't help you?'
MT 25:45 "Then he will answer them, saying, 'Most assuredly I tell you, inasmuch as you didn't do it to one of the least of these, you didn't do it to me.'
MT 25:46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

JN 15:12 "This is my commandment, that you love one another, even as I have loved you.

GAL 6:9 Let us not be weary in doing good, for we will reap in due season, if we don't give up.
GAL 6:10 So then, as we have opportunity, let's do what is good toward all men, and especially toward those who are of the household of the faith.

1JN 4:20 If a man says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who doesn't love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?
1JN 4:21 This commandment we have from him, that he who loves God should also love his brother.

1JN 4:8 He who doesn't love doesn't know God, for God is love.
1JN 4:9 By this was God's love revealed in us, that God has sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
1JN 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son as the atoning sacrifice for our sins.
1JN 4:11 Beloved, if God loved us in this way, we also ought to love one another.

1JN 3:23 This is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, even as he commanded.

1JN 3:10 In this the children of God are revealed, and the children of the devil. Whoever doesn't do righteousness is not of God, neither is he who doesn't love his brother.
1JN 3:11 For this is the message which you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another;.........

1JN 3:14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. He who doesn't love his brother remains in death.
1JN 3:16 By this we know love, because he laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

1JN 2:10 He who loves his brother remains in the light, and there is no occasion for stumbling in him.

1PET 4:8 And above all things be earnest in your love among yourselves, for love covers a multitude of sins.

1PET 1:22 Seeing you have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth through the Spirit in sincere brotherly affection, love one another from the heart fervently:

HEB 13:1 Let brotherly love continue.

1THESS 4:9 But concerning brotherly love, you have no need that one write to you. For you yourselves are taught by God to love one another,

PHIL 2:1 If there is therefore any exhortation in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any tender mercies and compassion,
PHIL 2:2 make my joy full, by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind;
PHIL 2:3 doing nothing through rivalry or through conceit, but in humility, each counting others better than himself;
PHIL 2:4 each of you not just looking to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others.

EPH 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called,
EPH 4:2 with all lowliness and humility, with patience, bearing with one another in love;
EPH 4:3 being eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

GAL 5:13 For you, brothers, were called for freedom. Only don't use your freedom for gain to the flesh, but through love be servants to one another.

1COR 16:14 Let all that you do be done in love.

ROM 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.


Shame they missed that one in the Bible Mag.

It is probably the MAJOR reason for people leaving our community.

Most who leave do not actually leave 'the truth' they just leave the community, having lost heart with the fellowship that has not been as it should be.

1JN 3:17 But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and closes his heart of compassion against him, how does the love of God remain in him?

Yeah, how indeed?

Love in Jesus, Julian

#3 Hyperion

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 09:21 PM

I was thinking a similar thing when I read that list. One of the most serious reasons is being made to stumble by their fellow brothers and sisters.

Perhaps one could respond and say that they were too weak or had some lack, and that is why they left, but scripture places a huge amount of the blame at the feet of those cause the stumbling. The same applies to bad eccelsial leadership causing the flock to stray.

I sort of got the impression from that list that the blame was being placed solely on the individual who leaves. In reality, we are a community and we all have a responsibility for each other. We can't blame all our problems on everyone else, but OTOH we do need each other, and if we aren't there to help others in their times of weakness, or even worse, cause problems for our brothers and sisters we are not blameless.

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#4 Matt Smith

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 10:07 PM

I really see that as being covered in #10 in these words:

It is needful that we are all part of this community that needs and depends upon the fellowship of each other.


This list is, of course, by no means exhaustive. And I've seen a lot more of those things on the list than the one Julian listed. I'm not saying what Julian post is not true, because it is.

We all need to develop that self-sacrificing love so we can better help our brethren.
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#5 Hyperion

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 10:15 PM

I really see that as being covered in #10 in these words:

It is needful that we are all part of this community that needs and depends upon the fellowship of each other.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

This is true, but it feels like an afterthought, and deserves a much greater emphasis. As it stands, even point 10 seems to be mainly emphaising that if you don't fellowship with your brethren, you might leave. That is true of course.

But the other side of the equation is just as important. If you don't (properly) fellowship with your brethren, they might leave.

Anyway, sorry to seem so critical, but the article does seem unbalanced to me.

"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all." (1 Tim 1:15)
"Apply yourself wholly to the text; apply the text wholly to yourself" (Johann Albrecht Bengel)
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#6 Matt Smith

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 10:22 PM

I really see that as being covered in #10 in these words:

It is needful that we are all part of this community that needs and depends upon the fellowship of each other.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

This is true, but it feels like an afterthought, and deserves a much greater emphasis. As it stands, even point 10 seems to be mainly emphaising that if you don't fellowship with your brethren, you might leave. That is true of course.

But the other side of the equation is just as important. If you don't (properly) fellowship with your brethren, they might leave.

Anyway, sorry to seem so critical, but the article does seem unbalanced to me.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



I take no offence... :unsure:
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Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

#7 Julian

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 11:00 PM

Hi guys.

Yeah, it was a good list, but it was certainly unfinished. It was also very biased in placing the blame on those leaving.

As I also said, some who appear to have turned their backs on the 'truth' have in fact NOT done so, they have simply left the community (or been 'constructively dismissed', to use a worldism).

The main reason they leave is for the one I mentioned. It might not be very pallitable, but it is true.

Sadly, I do speak from experience.

What to do? Overlook where one can overlook, put up with feeling left out, sidelined, looked down upon, not helped when one needs it most.

Being at 'the meetings' is NOT the start and finish of our Christianity. If it were, I think I would be the most depressed of people.

It would be nice to feel appreciated, needed, loved. But then I do know we have that from God and our Brother Jesus.

Being a Christadelphian does not revolve around how one gets on at 'the meeting' , but it sure helps if one feels part of a family. Sadly all too many do not.

Love in Jesus, Julian

#8 Grace

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 02:27 AM

Thanks for your balanced reply Julian. I agree wholeheartedly.

I think that list was pretty simplistic. It seems to me that people leave for millions of different reasons because they are all individuals with individual lives.

I have seen far more people leave the meeting over broken marriages or relationship issues than I have for any other reason. It's not surprising at all. And it's often handled atrociously. Many brethren have no concept of how it feels to be the 'scarlet person' within Christadelphia - to have experienced a broken marriage, or had an illegitimate child, or some other sin displayed for all the ecclesial world to see. To be the black sheep, the marginalised, and the broken is to be in an uncomfortable position. And of those who go through that experience, only the courageous stick at it. What's more, you remain defined by your sin for the rest of your days within Christadelphia. Is it any wonder that people would rather not be in that environment?

Thankfully, there are some extremely balanced, warm ecclesias that hold tightly on to those who sin and suffer.

Dev Ramsharam gave some wonderful talks about this at Bible School. :unsure:
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#9 Keturah

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 02:58 AM

Thanks for your balanced reply Julian. I agree wholeheartedly.

I think that list was pretty simplistic.  It seems to me that people leave for millions of different reasons because they are all individuals with individual lives. 

I have seen far more people leave the meeting over broken marriages or relationship issues than I have for any other reason.  It's not surprising at all.  And it's often handled atrociously.  Many brethren have no concept of how it feels to be the 'scarlet person' within Christadelphia - to have experienced a broken marriage, or had an illegitimate child, or some other sin displayed for all the ecclesial world to see.  To be the black sheep, the marginalised, and the broken is to be in an uncomfortable position. And of those who go through that experience, only the courageous stick at it.  What's more, you remain defined by your sin for the rest of your days within Christadelphia.  Is it any wonder that people would rather not be in that environment?

Thankfully, there are some extremely balanced, warm ecclesias that hold tightly on to those who sin and suffer. 

Dev Ramsharam gave some wonderful talks about this at Bible School.  :)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

:cry: :unsure:

#10 Tarkus

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 03:17 AM

We need both sides: "why are meetings abandoning the people?" as well as "why are people abandoning the meeting?"

T

#11 Julian

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 08:08 AM

Thanks for your balanced reply Julian. I agree wholeheartedly.

I think that list was pretty simplistic.  It seems to me that people leave for millions of different reasons because they are all individuals with individual lives. 

I have seen far more people leave the meeting over broken marriages or relationship issues than I have for any other reason.  It's not surprising at all.  And it's often handled atrociously.  Many brethren have no concept of how it feels to be the 'scarlet person' within Christadelphia - to have experienced a broken marriage, or had an illegitimate child, or some other sin displayed for all the ecclesial world to see.  To be the black sheep, the marginalised, and the broken is to be in an uncomfortable position. And of those who go through that experience, only the courageous stick at it.  What's more, you remain defined by your sin for the rest of your days within Christadelphia.  Is it any wonder that people would rather not be in that environment?

Thankfully, there are some extremely balanced, warm ecclesias that hold tightly on to those who sin and suffer. 

Dev Ramsharam gave some wonderful talks about this at Bible School.  :unsure:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Hi Grace. Oh yeah, I have seen those close to me go through that scenario. You are no doubt right, there are, I am sure, some balanced and warm Ecclesias, I just need to find one!!

It is not just those who have stumbled who are treated with the icy cold, look down your nose attitude. Those who fall out of favour with the 'in crowd' are frozen out as well, I can assure you. One does not have to do anything sinful (or questionable) to be given the cold shoulder. One can be ignored totally just by being made redundant for example. Finding life difficult, having stress in ones life can do it as well.

There are those 'respected' people in the meeting, you know, the ones who turn up for every meeting suited up, dressed to impress, then there are the loosers, those who are struggling with life. They are generally ignored, unless they keep going to the meetings, willing to take whatever crumbs of compassion might come their way. BUT, if one dares to not go, then one is marked as unfit to be helped.
I often wonder how Jesus would look at that?

Funny thing is, I would have at one time looked down at those who do not attend regularly myself, also thinking they lacked what was required to be a 'good Christadelphian'. We often learn the hard way, that once we are in those shoes, it is not as simple as one would think.

Sorry, rambling on..... All I would say is this, what sort of love ignores a Brother and his family when they most needed support? Not the love of God, that's for sure.

Love in Jesus, Julian

#12 Huldah

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 12:00 PM

Hi Grace. Oh yeah, I have seen those close to me go through that scenario. You are no doubt right, there are, I am sure, some balanced and warm Ecclesias, I just need to find one!!

It is not just those who have stumbled who are treated with the icy cold, look down your nose attitude. Those who fall out of favour with the 'in crowd' are frozen out as well, I can assure you. One does not have to do anything sinful (or questionable) to be given the cold shoulder. One can be ignored totally just by being made redundant for example. Finding life difficult, having stress in ones life can do it as well.

Hi Julian! I'm now a member of your ecclesia and I promise not to give you icy looks or stare down my nose at you! I'm probably not tall enough to anyway.

There are those 'respected' people in the meeting, you know, the ones who turn up for every meeting suited up, dressed to impress, then there are the loosers, those who are struggling with life.

Well, I don't go there dressed up to the nines, and Ev wears a suit there, but not in a 'dress to impress' way (except that it impresses me of course because he always looks stunning in a suit :unsure: ). I also notice that a lot of the kids wear quite scruffy casual stuff in contrast to the older members.

They are generally ignored, unless they keep going to the meetings, willing to take whatever crumbs of compassion might come their way. BUT, if one dares to not go, then one is marked as unfit to be helped.

Hmm. I haven't seen you on the occasions that I've been there, but I'm not a regular goer, because Ev and I take it in turns to go to our respective ecclesias, and then sometimes go to other ones as well. I expect a lot of people think we are poor attenders because we don't stick to just one ecclesia.

I often wonder how Jesus would look at that?

Funny thing is, I would have at one time looked down at those who do not attend regularly myself, also thinking they lacked what was required to be a 'good Christadelphian'. We often learn the hard way, that once we are in those shoes, it is not as simple as one would think.

I wonder Julian, if you can really know what others think of you though? Jesus knows all our thoughts. Whether we think people are not good enough, or whether we think people are too good for us - both ways of thinking being forms of snobbery.
"Dear friends, if our conscience does not condemn us, we have confidence in the presence of God and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do the things that are pleasing to him. Now this is his commandment: that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he gave us the commandment. And the person who keeps his commandments resides in God, and God in him. Now by this we know that God resides in us: by the Spirit he has given us"
1 John 3.21-24

#13 Fortigurn

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 01:30 PM

Thanks for your balanced reply Julian. I agree wholeheartedly.

I think that list was pretty simplistic.  It seems to me that people leave for millions of different reasons because they are all individuals with individual lives.


And yet strangely, the Scriptures place a huge emphasis on the reasons on that list. The other reasons are almost never mentioned (if at all).

I have seen far more people leave the meeting over broken marriages or relationship issues than I have for any other reason.  It's not surprising at all.


It's a pity Paul (the apostle), missed this one when he was spending all that time warning about the wolves and the apostasy.

And it's often handled atrociously.  Many brethren have no concept of how it feels to be the 'scarlet person' within Christadelphia - to have experienced a broken marriage, or had an illegitimate child, or some other sin displayed for all the ecclesial world to see.  To be the black sheep, the marginalised, and the broken is to be in an uncomfortable position. And of those who go through that experience, only the courageous stick at it.  What's more, you remain defined by your sin for the rest of your days within Christadelphia.  Is it any wonder that people would rather not be in that environment?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I think we need to remember that leaving our community does not necessarily mean leaving the gospel.
Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
http://www.thechristadelphians.org/htm/beliefs/basf.htm" target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

______________________________________________________________________
http://bibleapologetics.wordpress.com/" target="_blank">Apologetics

#14 Dawn

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 07:45 PM

Legalism and man-made rules is another reason why people drift away from the truth, or are forced away from it for one reason or another.

However, as one sister once said to me, when you get war in Israel, all the out-of-fellowship and lapsed CDNs "come crawling out of the woodwork" (her words not mine).

I guess those that fall away never forget the basic tenets of the faith (or the truth about the Kingdom and the focus on Israel) and they know trouble in Israel means the end is nigh - so back they come to the Meeting in droves. (Apparently it's proven fact that CDN membership swells significantly when there trouble in Israel. I've got it in black and white somehwere, but I can't remember where!).

Edited by Dawn, 09 July 2005 - 07:46 PM.

"....when you Think of Things, you find sometimes that the Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it" (A A Milne)


"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves" Philippians 2:3

#15 Deborah

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 08:01 PM

The list given by Bro. Frank is very good, however, as a few have mentioned, there are other factors which lead to losing a sheep from the flock. For whatever reason a brother or sister leaves the Truth, what is our attitude towards them? Hopefully, the following -

Matthew 18:12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?


"Though we can't always see it at the time, if we look upon events with some perspective, we see things always happen for our best interests. We are always being guided in a way better than we know ourselves.".

"The Bible is like a prisoner of war -- if you torture it long enough you can get it to say anything"

#16 Deborah

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 08:06 PM

It's a pity Paul (the apostle), missed this one when he was spending all that time warning about the wolves and the apostasy.


So, you don't believe divorce, and broken relationships, in the brotherhood, has anything to do with people leaving the Truth? :unsure:
"Though we can't always see it at the time, if we look upon events with some perspective, we see things always happen for our best interests. We are always being guided in a way better than we know ourselves.".

"The Bible is like a prisoner of war -- if you torture it long enough you can get it to say anything"

#17 Asyncritus

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 09:01 PM

I don't think that anyone who knows or knew the truth can ever forget it. The birth of the child of God has taken place, and remains there no matter what.

I once read the practice of a very outstanding man, which, if we give it a shot, will make these 'lists' easier to handle. After all the brethren have given much thought to the production of such lists, but I personally find it impossible to a. remember them all and b. implement them all.

The practice of the items on the list will sort out many of the problems Julian and others have expressed. It is unfortunate that we or others will never be able to sort out the whole ecclesial world's problems, and it is better to start with ourselves, hoping that whatever example we set, and whatever kind deeds we do, may have some beneficial effects.

If we invariably look horizontally at our brethren, then there will invariably be troubles. If we choose instead to look vertically to God and the Lord Jesus, and hear their commandments instead of the music of our own desires and the discord others bring into our ambit, then our view of things will become noticeably different. If we add to that the diligent practice of the list items, things will change for the good forever.

So how do we practice the list items?

Benjamin Franklin ('twas he), said that he owed all his success and his happiness to the plan he set forth, and concluded his remarks by saying: "I hope therefore that some of my descendants may follow the example and reap the benefit".

He set up 13 qualities he wanted to improve in himself, and EACH WEEK practised ONE of them and forgot about the others. This cycle was completed 4x every year and resulted in extraordinary results for Frank Bettger who also practised the method.

You will recognise the scriptural parts and the simply practical ones:

1 Temperance : eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation

2 Silence : Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.

3 Order : let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.

4 Resolution : resolve to perform what you ought, perform without fail what you resolve.

5 Frugality : make no expense but to do good to others or yourself i.e. waste nothing.

6 Industry : Lose no time. be always employ'd in something useful; cut off unnecessary actions. "If you love life, do not waste time, for it is the stuff of which life is made."

7 Sincerity : Use no hurtful deceits; think innocently and justly, and if you speak, speak accordingly.

8 Justice : wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting benefits that are your duty.

9 Moderation : avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.

10 Cleanliness : Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation

11 Tranquillity : be not distrubed at trifles, at accidents common or unavoidable.

12 Chastity : rarely use venery but for health or offspring; never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.

13 Humility: imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Taken from The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

It is well worth copying the method, and substituting your own elements wherever necessary. In this way, a balance is struck between the virtues, your own personal balance. If you know about your own weakness, in any particular regard, then practice the strengthening virtue FOR ONE WEEK with careful attention, then move on to the next. You can last a week, and will feel the benefit all through your life, especially when the cycle brings the virtue before your eyes once more in 13 weeks' time.

Edited by Asyncritus, 09 July 2005 - 09:08 PM.

God, be merciful to me
The Sinner

#18 Fortigurn

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 12:39 AM

It's a pity Paul (the apostle), missed this one when he was spending all that time warning about the wolves and the apostasy.


So, you don't believe divorce, and broken relationships, in the brotherhood, has anything to do with people leaving the Truth? :unsure:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


No that's not what I said.
Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
http://www.thechristadelphians.org/htm/beliefs/basf.htm" target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

______________________________________________________________________
http://bibleapologetics.wordpress.com/" target="_blank">Apologetics

#19 Colter

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 01:20 AM

Great list! One consistent problem I've had all my life is that I suffer from "brief enthusiasms." A recurring fear that I had in the back of my mind was that the whole experience of being spirit born and turning my life and will over to God was just another one of my short lived obsessions. That it would fade away and I would be pulled back into the world. Frankly I've had to work at it and be willing to stay in the "second miler club." Periodically I've had to re-surrender, get re focused and admit to myself where my motives have come into conflict with Gods will. While on vacation this year I read "Pass It On," :unsure: a history of the AA program. Stuff like that really recharges my batteries and keeps me focused on working with others.

To me the "pearl of great price" is eternal vigilance.

Edited by Colter, 10 July 2005 - 01:21 AM.

We must give up all hope for a better past.

#20 Grace

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 03:07 AM

I think we need to remember that leaving our community does not necessarily mean leaving the gospel.


Good point. We tend to make them synonymous, or at least I know I do. Note to self...
"Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing."

William James

#21 Deborah

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 05:17 AM

No that's not what I said.


Okay :unsure:
"Though we can't always see it at the time, if we look upon events with some perspective, we see things always happen for our best interests. We are always being guided in a way better than we know ourselves.".

"The Bible is like a prisoner of war -- if you torture it long enough you can get it to say anything"

#22 Fortigurn

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 07:35 AM

No that's not what I said.


Okay :unsure:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


The point I'm making is that Paul's warnings were as unbalanced as this list. I'm sure that Paul realised that broken marriages can cause people to leave the community. But he didn't mention that, whilst he did place greater emphasis on apostasy as a cause of people leaving.

Why? Because he knew that the number of people leaving due to broken marriages would be miniscule in comparison to the number of people leaving due to apostasy.

The whore and false prophet in Revelation don't represent broken marriages, they represent apostasy (a broken marriage to God, if you want to put it that way). The emphasis in Scripture is unbalanced. It's on apostasy.
Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
http://www.thechristadelphians.org/htm/beliefs/basf.htm" target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

______________________________________________________________________
http://bibleapologetics.wordpress.com/" target="_blank">Apologetics

#23 Kremlin

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 05:52 AM

Julian and the others have shown that there are other reasons people leave the meeting, and we should be doing everything to help them. These are not people that have left because they don't believe the truth, but because of other people.

What Paul was worried about was the wolves that come in with the purpose of taking away lambs, which is a significant problem. The number of people we have lost to evangelical circles is amazing, and my parents have told me about the people they went to CYC with, half of which are gone now - people they never suspected would even consider another Jesus. This is very hurtful to our community, as it rips out age groups at a time. Few of these, if any, will ever return. And the common problem, it seems, is a lack of understanding of first principles - if we aren't rooted and grounded in the gospel, then we will be easily decieved, as it's so subtle.

#24 ksalzar

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 07:29 PM

Hey Kremlin, how have you been?
Long time no talk! :confused:.
The Father is the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Jesus. He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

#25 IDF

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 12:25 AM

Thats brillant Julian, its so true, hopefully we can all try to be more aware of this and look out for it in our surrounding ecclessias, just to pop in and say hello can mean such a lot to a person or family who feel so alone amongst a large ecclessia prevention is better than cure.

IDF
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

#26 Tricia

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 01:04 AM

It seems to me that within my own ecclesia, the general belief is that one should keep one's uncomfortable problems and feelings to oneself, because in the scheme of things, they are just not that important. Life problems are minuscule when looking at the big picture, and one shouldn't let these problems interfere with one's walk to the Kingdom. However, personal problems are real, here, and now. Not everyone is as adept as the elders at knowing how to handle problems, and being at peace. Not everyone has been brought up with the helpful and truthful teachings of Scripture, enabling one to get through hard times by oneself, and to know how to do this. I guess if you can't turn to your brother and sister for comfort, why be a part of an ecclesia?

Is stoicism an honorable and neccessary philosophy to be a Christadelphian? In my opinion, it is prideful to keep it all inside, and pretend that you are perfect, and that nothing bothers you, because you are above it all.

I have had tears in my eyes while talking to some in my ecclesia, because of personal problems and did they offer to have a nice quiet one on one Bible reading with me, to study God's comforting words together, to help strengthen my resolve when I needed it, and to give their own personal insight to one who is still new in the Truth? No, I only saw uncomfortable avoidance, and wanting to get away from it. Although in truth I did receive some comfort from a wonderful couple who are from another ecclesia, and live in another town. But I needed someone to spend time with me, studying God's word. It's just not the same when you have to do it by yourself, when you are sad and need human contact.

How can you ever feel connected to a person if you can't talk about personal problems, spiritual problems, mental problems, physical problems, etc.? How can you feel something for someone who seems to be perfect, who has it all together, and always has a smile on their face, who never talks about their problems. That is what I feel is expected of me from some of my brothers and sisters in Christ.
And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
Psalms 9:10

#27 Deborah

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 07:39 AM

Hi Tricia,

Your ecclesial life is a mirror image to what mine use to be. I don't know why brethren feel they need to prove that nothing in this life gets them down. I always use to put on a happy face, because I felt I had a duty to let others know, that the hope of the Kingdom was enough to safeguard me against problems .. that I would never be affected by anything negative in this life. Finally, the problems I hid away for many years, rose to the surface, and I had a nervous breakdown - and this happened, simply because I felt I couldn't confide in my fellow brothers and sisters.

So the answer to your questions?

How can you ever feel connected to a person if you can't talk about personal problems, spiritual problems, mental problems, physical problems, etc.? How can you feel something for someone who seems to be perfect, who has it all together, and always has a smile on their face, who never talks about their problems.


You can't. So, whenever you are able to, leave. It can be a big thing moving to another town to start a new life, but you have to do it. You cannot progess in the Truth, with no-one to help you bear your burdens. I hope you can make the move some day. I will pray for you.
"Though we can't always see it at the time, if we look upon events with some perspective, we see things always happen for our best interests. We are always being guided in a way better than we know ourselves.".

"The Bible is like a prisoner of war -- if you torture it long enough you can get it to say anything"

#28 Kremlin

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 08:18 AM

Hey Kremlin, how have you been?
Long time no talk! :stop:.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Hey, I'm going ok! Enjoying your trip away? :confused:

#29 IDF

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 01:37 PM

Thanks for your balanced reply Julian. I agree wholeheartedly.

I think that list was pretty simplistic.  It seems to me that people leave for millions of different reasons because they are all individuals with individual lives. 

I have seen far more people leave the meeting over broken marriages or relationship issues than I have for any other reason.  It's not surprising at all.  And it's often handled atrociously.  Many brethren have no concept of how it feels to be the 'scarlet person' within Christadelphia - to have experienced a broken marriage, or had an illegitimate child, or some other sin displayed for all the ecclesial world to see.  To be the black sheep, the marginalised, and the broken is to be in an uncomfortable position. And of those who go through that experience, only the courageous stick at it.  What's more, you remain defined by your sin for the rest of your days within Christadelphia.  Is it any wonder that people would rather not be in that environment?

Thankfully, there are some extremely balanced, warm ecclesias that hold tightly on to those who sin and suffer. 

Dev Ramsharam gave some wonderful talks about this at Bible School.  :confused:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Marriatal problems arent the only reasons people don't attend, the sad reality is there are those with disabilties that don't recieve any respite whatsoever from their family or ecclesia, I feel really sorry for those with an autistic child, as there is no acknowledgement or understanding within in a lot of communties that this is a real mental health disorder, most will say its just an unruly child that needs to be disaplined and that its bad parenting, then when you also have a child with a physical disability such as Jess and her sister hanna with autism, don't get any respite whatsoever and struggle to try and make ends meet, you can really be disheartened by it all. like I was telling Amy parkins, just the small bit of contact she has given Jess, has helped Jess heaps, and is a lot more contact then 90% of local CDs, round here would bother to do.


IDF
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

#30 Matt Smith

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 03:10 PM

IDF

In my former ecclesia there is a sister (her husband is not a CA) who has a son, who now is 13 years old. He has some severe challenges mentally due to various reasons (lack of oxygen during birth, severe reactions to food additives such as food coloring, food allergies, etc.). This makes him react very similar to an autistic child. Many families in that ecclesia help her out, including my wife and myself when we were there. It is especially hard now that he is closing in on 6 feet tall, and he is very strong. The sister has been helped at the ecclesial hall, at gatherings, CYC, and in her own home, as well as having families take her son to their own home to play with their children, or just for a break.

In another ecclesia approx. 40 minutes from my former ecclesia there is a family there with an autistic son. While he was growing up, I know they had a lot of help and support from members of their ecclesia, and from others. My wife actually made headway with him when he was young... she was the first person outside of his immediate family that he spoke to. That son has grown to a nice young man and was baptised a few years ago. He is an active part of the ecclesia and CYC.

These are not the only cases, but have been chosen as examples.

IDF, instead of taking potshots at people, educate them. It is probably fear of the unknown. People need to be encouraged to take part. They need to told what to expect. And they need to be gently reminded that this is part of our service in the Lord.
Matt Smith
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Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.




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