by Al Maxey

Issue #120 ------- April 22, 2004
When you find out a man's ruling
passion, beware of crossing him in it.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830)

A Safety Valve for Steamed Saints
Biblical Advice for Avoiding the Big Bang

Have you ever become so aggravated and infuriated with another person that you began to feel flushed and feverish? The pressure begins to build within you, the blood starts to boil (figuratively speaking), and you just know that if the situation isn't diffused you will explode in a burst of fury? Steamed vegetables can be delicious and healthy, but there is nothing appetizing or healthy about steamed saints.

I don't know of any congregation of believers, and frankly doubt that there are any, where at some point in their history there haven't been struggling saints. I'm not talking about a congregation struggling with Satan, or with affliction from outside forces, or with financial concerns. I'm talking about Christians struggling with Christians. Not sheep versus wolves, but sheep versus sheep within the fold. It is normal for sheep to be mauled and maimed by vicious predators, but when a shepherd finds the bodies of bloodied lambs in the fold each morning, and the carnage is caused by attack lambs, something is seriously amiss!

In Philippians 4:2-3 the apostle Paul wrote the church at Philippi, "I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord. Indeed, true comrade, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel." Here were two spiritual sisters in the early church who had struggled alongside Paul in the cause of Christ, who were now struggling with one another. Why? We're not told. It may have been simply a personality clash; perhaps two strong wills in opposition to one another for dominance. It may have been over some "issue" now long forgotten. The cause of the struggle was not considered important enough to even mention in the text, but the result of the struggle was --- there was lack of harmony in the Family of God in Philippi. There was tension; the pressure building from the steam was noticeable; something had to give ... and quickly.

In the normal course of the life and history of a congregation of believers there will be differences among them ... sometimes significant differences! Such is simply a natural outgrowth of the fact that we are all individuals with differing backgrounds, perspectives, preferences, abilities and needs. Such diversity is natural in any type of community, and as a result it is to be expected that there will be times when these differences generate varying amounts of internal tension and stress within the community. Therefore, it behooves God's people to learn principles that will enable them to deal successfully with their diversity, and to begin preparing themselves to cope with times of potential crisis. Thankfully, the Lord has not left His children to meander through these relational mine fields alone. He has provided us with divine guidance in chapter 14 of Paul's epistle to the saints in Rome ... a chapter one author referred to as "God's Pressure Release Valve for Tense Churches." In this issue of Reflections we shall examine the primary principles provided for dealing with potentially tense and destructive situations which face us in the Family of God. It is our Savior's safety valve for steamed saints!

What Paul Is NOT Suggesting

Romans 14 is a rather controversial chapter, largely due to the abusive way some misguided disciples have sought to employ it. Contextually, Paul is commending to these saints in Rome the doctrine of justification by grace through faith. To a people steeped in the demands of law, and who were more than familiar with the burdensome tyranny of rigid legislation, this was a most welcome message of freedom. But with newfound freedom comes newfound responsibility toward one another. In Romans 14 Paul focuses the attention of these saints on the guiding principles of their liberty in Christ Jesus. It will be a challenge for them, as they must begin thinking and relating outside "the box" of LAW ... and even of personal preference! One is allowed the freedom, in Christ, to have strong convictions on any number of issues affecting the course of one's life and walk with the Lord; one is NOT free, however, to enslave a fellow saint to those cherished convictions. We are all free, not only from the tyranny of LAW (any system of law), but also from the tyranny of legalists who would bind their perceptions and preferences as law. This must be understood if we are truly to grow in this grace in which we stand.

To better understand what Paul is saying in this critical chapter, we should examine what he is not suggesting. He is not discussing, for example, direct commands of God which have been clearly given to mankind via divine revelation. The matters under consideration in the instruction of this chapter have nothing to do with the doctrines and directives specifically spoken by God in His written, inspired Word. When the Lord, in either Old or New Covenant writings, has declared "Thou shalt" or "Thou shalt not," these are matters about which there is little ambiguity, and thus little room for argument. We either obey or disobey; they are not open to human amendment.

Paul is also not considering matters of indifference. This is a critical mistake many make when approaching their exegesis of this chapter. "Indifference," one writer astutely observed, "is largely in the eyes of the beholder." What may be a matter of "indifference" to one person, may be a matter of great importance to another! As noted in the quotation at the beginning of this issue of Reflections, failing to perceive the "ruling passions" of another individual, and seeking to impose your perspective upon theirs, has led to many a ruined relationship! We are free in Christ to be passionate in our convictions, but with this freedom comes the responsibility to allow others to be just as impassioned in theirs. That is often difficult for us to do, especially when we are so strongly convicted of the "soundness" of our own perceptions. So, again, don't make the mistake of regarding matters of difference between disciples as being matters of INdifference. They are not! Take seriously others' views, even if you differ with them.

Although the apostle Paul makes it clear from the very first verse that he is dealing with personal "opinions," rather than direct commands of God, nevertheless we must recognize that these are cherished opinions; preferences and convictions held dearly. In some cases, they may be perspectives and practices passed down from generation to generation, from venerated forefathers in the faith. Although characterized by Paul as "opinions" (some translations say "disputable matters"), nevertheless he also, in this chapter, refers to them as matters of "faith" for those who hold them. This is not to be confused with "the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints," and for which we are to contend earnestly (Jude 3). Rather it refers to our firm, studied belief in the understanding we have regarding some doctrine or practice. "The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin" (Romans 14:22-23). In other words, "to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it IS unclean" (Romans 14:14). Our convictions, therefore, become for each of us matters of deep personal faith. Coming to understand this will increasingly help us not put stumbling blocks in the pathway of our brethren who differ with us; understanding this will also help us not to seek to bind our own "faith" upon a brother or sister, or a congregation, or to judge them as "faithless" if their convictions differ with ours!

We should further hasten to note that nowhere in this fourteenth chapter does Paul suggest compromise of one's strong convictions as constituting the "approved apostolic" solution to tension among Christians. Oh how often I have heard voices on both sides of a debate declare division would never have occurred if the other side had simply "given in" and "given up" their own beliefs and "sided with the Truth" (which is always equated with our view, naturally). This may well salve our consciences in the face of division, but it certainly doesn't solve the problem. When two people (or two groups of people) with opposing points of view find themselves at a point of confrontation over those differing convictions, the solution, as presented in Romans 14, is not one side surrendering their faith to appease the other, rather it is found in lovingly accepting the other person or persons -- conflicting convictions and all. Reuel Lemmons used to say, "You are my brother -- warts and all." After all, in the Family of God it is unity we seek, not uniformity. You don't have to be my twin to be my brother. That expression of divine reality irritates some people to no end, but that is largely because they are opposed to the basic concept of Unity in Diversity. Their philosophy, more often than not, is: My way, or no way! That, however, is not God's way to achieving unity.

In short, the problem was not the "issue" itself ... the problem was that the Body was dividing into opposing camps over the "issue." They were in conflict over convictions! The solution was not in one side defeating the other, or one side compromising their convictions for the sake of some feigned "unity." The solution lay in coming to the realization that both positions and perspectives, and both practices, were equally acceptable to God, even though they were as different as night and day. Union and unity do NOT depend on uniformity of thought and practice; that is a falsehood straight from Satan! Union and unity are in a PERSON, not a POSITION. When that truth finally soaks through some thick skulls, we will begin witnessing and experiencing harmony in the universal One Body of Jesus Christ; factions will fade away, and Family will at last be realized. "Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God" (Romans 15:7). We all have certainly fallen far short of our Lord's expectations, yet He has accepted us ... warts and all. We bring glory to the Father when we do the same with His other children.

Paul's Primary Practical Principles

May I suggest for your further reflection three practical principles, as perceived in Romans 14, for maintaining harmony in the Body of Christ in the face of potentially tense, and even explosive, situations. Or, perhaps we could characterize these as three primary attitudes and/or actions which activate the Lord's Safety Valve for stressed saints. If used wisely, and widely, they should serve us quite well in our quest for greater oneness.

FIRST --- Romans 14:4-9 --- Please Read

There is much significant food for thought in this passage, but one great truth that is repeated eight different times is: Jesus is Lord. Did you hear that? JESUS is Lord .... Jesus, and no other. There are too many Diotrephes clones (3 John 9-11) in the church; little men with large ambitions who seek to lord it over their brethren. Wherever you find such religious "roosters" ruling the roost, you have a barnyard in disarray. There will be lots of pecking and crowing, but precious little growing! There is only "one Lord" (Ephesians 4:5), and you ain't it.

When we come to understand this reality, and accept it, we are set free from the lordship of others over us, and also from any desire to lord it over others. Seeking to reshape others after our own image, either individually or corporately, ceases to be our concern. Rather, our goal is to help others become conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). I do not have to look, think, act, dress, talk and walk just exactly like you to be your brother. Nor must you do those things to be mine. We must simply have the same Father and the same Lord .... and there is only one of each (Ephesians 4:5-6).

John, on one occasion, had some serious doubts about another disciple, and even sought to hinder that disciple's service to the Lord, "because he was not following US" (Mark 9:38; Luke 9:49). This earned for John a "time out" for some much needed re-education on who we are and whose we are! Whether or not someone follows along with US is irrelevant. If he follows Jesus, the one true Lord, he is one of US. This doesn't sit well with the goose-stepping factionists, but it is critical to our walking together and working together as one flock under one Shepherd.

Jesus and the Twelve were walking along a road leading to Jerusalem one day when James and John approached Jesus and essentially asked for dominion -- they wanted to sit on His right hand and on His left hand in glory! Mark 10:41, not surprisingly, states the other "ten began to feel indignant with James and John." One can well imagine why!! "Who do these two think they are?! Sitting on thrones over US? The very idea!!" Jesus told these two brothers that the pagans loved to lord it over people and exercise authority, but "it shall not be so among you" (vs. 43). Simon Peter, who was present that day, and felt indignation over the attitude of James and John, obviously took the lesson learned to heart. He would years later write to elders in the church that they must not "lord it over those allotted to your charge, but be examples to the flock" (1 Peter 5:3).

When any one individual in the Body of Christ seeks to exercise lordship over another individual, or any group seeks to do the same with another group of disciples, with regard to some personal preference, perception or practice -- when any individual or group seeks to bind or enforce their will over the will of others, regardless of how "right" they may perceive their position to be -- there will always be conflict. That is a fundamental fact of human nature. Steam will start to build up within the Body, pressures will mount, until a big bang is inevitable. A simple recognition by all of the Lordship of JESUS, rather than of any man or group of men, will do much to alleviate the source of stress that leads to sectarian squabbles and schism. Understanding WHO is Lord ... and who is not ... is one way to activate the "safety valve" in the church and prevent a blow out.

SECOND --- Romans 14:10-12 --- Please Read

Here we discover yet another great principle provided from the inspired pen of the apostle Paul. Again, much is taught in this passage, but in keeping with our quest in this current issue of Reflections we note that not only is Jesus Lord, but He is also Judge. Each disciple will be evaluated individually based upon how he or she has chosen to live their lives in response to the proffered grace of God. It is not my place to judge the fitness or worthiness of your commitment and conviction of faith in service to the Master. Yes, if you are living contrary to revealed, specific commands of God, then I may, and indeed must, caution you and challenge you to return to His will for your life. But, in all areas where such divine specificity is lacking, and these areas are many, I have no authority to act as your judge. HE, and He alone, is the Judge of the hearts of His disciples.

In Romans 14:13, immediately after stating that the Lord is our Judge, and that we are all accountable unto Him, Paul cautions, "Therefore, let us not judge one another anymore!" To the brethren in Corinth Paul wrote, "The one who examines me is the Lord. Therefore, do not go on passing judgment before the appointed time for judgment, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts" (1 Corinthians 4:4-5). Our ordained responsibility to the Body is to encourage, strengthen, motivate, stimulate, and build up one another, not to sit as judges on men's motivations, methodologies and ministries. None of us has the God-given authority to assume the role of Lord and Judge in areas of personal preference, perception or practice. Yes, we may declare the judgments of GOD in areas where He Himself has clearly specified His will, and we may also pronounce HIS revealed judgments against those who have chosen to reject that divine will for their lives. Beyond this, however, only the ignorant or arrogant dare to tread!

THIRD --- Romans 14:16-19 --- Please Read

The final practical principle we'll note in this chapter, although these three by no means exhaust the wisdom of Paul in dealing with potentially tense situations within the community of believers, can be perceived in the above passage. There we are informed our acceptance by the Lord, and our subsequent acceptance of one another, is not based on uniformity of human perception, but rather on unity in the Holy Spirit. The former will only lead to increased stress and schism, whereas the latter will truly lead diverse disciples into a harmonious oneness.

A truth which some seem strangely terrified of, and thus seek to deny the reality of, is our great diversity in the Body of Christ. We are different from one another in many ways ... and we are different by divine design; it was intentional. Take some time and quietly read and reflect upon Romans 12, Ephesians 4, and 1 Corinthians 12. How one can read these chapters and come away NOT embracing our Unity in Diversity is beyond my comprehension! Brethren, uniformity of thought and practice is beyond our reach; indeed, it is not even desirable! Unity, however, IS. Unity is of the Spirit. It is based on internals, not externals. It is found in embracing a Person, not a pattern. It is found by employing principles of God, not by enforcing precepts of men. It is characterized by LOVE.

When I love you and you love me, we will together pursue "the things which make for peace and the building up of one another" (Romans 14:19). I won't lord it over you, and you won't seek to be my master. I won't judge you, and you won't condemn me. I will do nothing to undermine your faith or cause you to stumble in your walk with the Lord, but neither will you intentionally seek to hinder or impede my growth and maturity in the Lord. You may not be ready to come with me at my pace, but neither will you hold me back from my potential to be all that God has called me to be. Jesus accepts us ALL, even with differing levels of maturity, differing levels of ability, and, yes, even with differing understandings and perceptions as to how best to serve Him in our day to day walk and worship. The secret to peace in the Body, and to lessening tensions, is learning to accept one another just as Christ has accepted us.

Concluding Thought

Our Father has not asked any of His children to compromise their beliefs or convictions, nor has He demanded that we violate our consciences or set aside any of His clear, specific commands. He has not commissioned us to serve as masters over one another, nor as judges. Nor has He insisted we all strive for some hollow uniformity of personal or party particulars. We are not compelled from above to teach the tiresome, tedious tenets of traditionalism. Therein lies a slow, but certain, disintegration and dismemberment of the One Body.

But our Lord has called us to serve Him in fullness of personal faith with a clear conscience ... and to allow others the same privilege. He has challenged us to rise above ourselves and encourage one another, strengthen one another, build one another up, and, if need be, lovingly correct one another (using only the standard of His revealed Will, not the standard of our own will, opinion, preference or tradition). Most of all, He has commanded us to love and accept one another, even in the face of our many and varied differences. In so doing, we access and activate the divine Safety Valve that bleeds off the stress and tension that can build like scalding steam in a boiler, and which can quickly blow a congregation into countless seething sects.

Reflections from Readers

From a Reader in Florida:
(Written with Tongue in Cheek)

I can tell you how to settle all matters such as these. We all need to get back to our roots and do things the way grandpa & grandma and great-grandpa & great-grandma did things. We should do away completely with our fellowship halls and kitchens and water fountains and modern restrooms and modern buildings with all of their modern conveniences. We should meet in a frame sort of shack, or a tent. We should dig us a well to drink from, just as Jesus was using when He spoke to the woman at the well in John 4. We should build us a couple of one hole outhouses -- one for the gents and one for the ladies, but far enough away from the building so the worshippers, with their windows open, can't catch the smell of the waste. We should go back to having "dinner on the grounds," or "in the dirt," as one good brother used to put it, for the brethren to socialize.

We should also use kerosene lanterns for light in the evening services, and an old pot bellied stove for heat in the winter, and fans distributed in the summer by the local funeral home. Of course, this would cause some inconvenience, but if we all really loved the Lord and His work and His worship, as did our wonderful grandparents and wonderful great-grandparents, then it would not bother us a whit. If we would just all get back to our roots, the "old paths," and forget about all this modern stuff, then we would not have all of this modern stuff to fret and fume and fight about.

From a Reader in Oregon:

Great article on Fellowship Halls. Having been raised in the "conservative" sect, and still assembling with some that hold the view you described, I understand, and previously held, this erroneous view of condemning these Halls of Satan. Once again, the conflict seems to go back to the "treasury" or "Lord's money," as some would say. What we can and can't do with the "Lord's money," and what constitutes a "work" of the church (God's people), has been determined by them, and thus the pattern is set! We were taught that the building, or any other assets purchased with the "Lord's Money," cannot be used for ANYTHING other than evangelism and benevolence (for needy saints only).

You mentioned some inconsistencies, but I thought you might find some of these interesting, also. One may not use the building for entertainment, but may use the building to discuss and plan entertainment events. Following the "Amen," the building is used to discuss everything from politics, hunting and fishing, latest romances, etc., that would never be considered a "work of the church." Children are allowed to merchandize products for school fund raisers in the sacred building. Invitations for Pot Lucks are dispersed between the class and "formal" worship. All the church is invited and encouraged to participate, but hey, it's not a "church" function. If the patternist is consistent, these and many other activities would need to be outlawed. Honestly, I believe God does smile when Saints socialize, but He must figuratively roll His eyes at some of the convoluted logic trails we blaze. And worse yet, He is deeply saddened at the arrogance of some who contribute to the ongoing division among His children. Keep up the good work, brother!

From an Elder in Missouri:

I think your words on this topic are to the point. For any eldership to lord it over the flock is disgraceful to say the least. I can't imagine any of the Lord's shepherds doing what your reader has indicated happened. But, I can imagine elders who have become a board of directors, or similar "ruling" body, doing so. Perhaps if they had concerns they could have done many things differently. At the very least to have gone to the individuals or families with their concerns would have followed solid biblical precedent. But to condemn a group of people for matters of judgment is clearly in violation of the passages you cite (particularly Romans 14). I guess I am in danger as well. Not only have I read several of the Harry Potter books, but also have the 2 DVD's that have been released. I have asked some who play the role playing games to show me how they work, and have found them relatively harmless. There are many items out there that are not fit for human consumption, not to mention Christian consumption. But, once we start down the path of censorship and imposing our own opinions on others there is no end in sight. Our consciences can be a sort of compass, if taught and measured correctly. But my conscience must never be a point of judging my brother.

From a Reader in Alabama:

Thanks for a chuckle this morning. I was baptized in an "anti" congregation, and learned early of the "issues" such as orphan's homes and fellowship halls (and was pretty good at arguing against them). It has been years since I've been a member of a congregation where the "issues" were an issue. Perhaps that's why I'd not heard the phrase "Edifice Complex." But whatever the reason, when I read it, I got a good laugh. Thanks.

From a Reader in (Unknown):

"Elders" who perceive or believe that in order to exercise what they consider to be their authority they have to pull rank in order to do so, in effect are demonstrating how little or no authority they realistically possess. Sadly, such persons are a full 180 degrees opposite the biblical sense in which persons were accorded the respect and honor of "elders" by the Christian community, effectively acknowledging, thereby, the quality of their lives and the teachings by which persons within the church felt better enabled to perceive clarity as to godliness and guidance in the task of living.

From a Minister in Missouri:

Talk about hitting the nail right on the head with your last Reflections on "Preference to Precept." We have to be open to the grace of God in the matter of our personal convictions. Romans 14 is a prime example of how brethren will demonstrate grace toward each other. Thank you, Al, for talking about this.

From a New Reader/Old Friend in Georgia:

We had dinner with an elder from our church and his wife last night, and before we left he asked if we had ever heard of Al Maxey. He reads your articles every week and loves them. What a blessing it was to tell them how much we learned from you in Hawaii. Could you add us to your mailing list? Please tell Shelly hello. (And by the way, we are Harry Potter fanatics too!)

From a Reader in Alabama:

Al, I would like to suggest that you ask everyone on your subscription list to send you the name of at least one person who would like to subscribe to Reflections.

From a Reader in Florida:

I've read with much interest your Reflections, and want to express my thanks to you for them. I appreciate your thoughts very much, Al. I loved your reflection on The Lunenburg Letter. That subject (what a person needs to know to be "Scripturally" baptized) is THE issue being fought in Churches of Christ today. The answer to that question will help us to understand who is a Christian and who isn't. Campbell addressed it well.

From a Reader in Texas:

Al, issue #119 of your Reflections -- Preference to Precept -- was one of your best works yet. Thanks for providing Scriptures to back up everything you stated in the article. It was excellent! However, in your response to the elder from New Jersey you said, "...we have enough trouble just keeping the Texans out!" Al, my friend, all I can say is: Remember the Alamo, remember Goliad, and remember San Jacinto. If not for those battles, we would all be citizens of another nation. Be kind to the Texans!

From a Reader in (Unknown):

Thank you, Al, for that poem: Help Them Be One. How beautiful. It speaks my sentiments so well, as do your Reflections. Your article Preference to Precept was so well stated. I wish it could have been published 50 years ago; maybe we would not have so much undoing to do today! My prayer is that you will have many years to "Help Us Be One"!!

From a Reader in Florida:

I have read a lot of poetry in my time, and I believe with all my heart, based on what I know of you, that this poem was from your heart and honestly reflects your purpose in life. May God always bless you and your family in the work you do for Him.

From a Reader in Tennessee:

I am a member of the Lantana Road congregation of the Lord's church in Crossville, TN. Essentially, I am writing to you because I appreciate the work you did in replying to David Martin's 13 "impossible" questions -- The Maxey-Martin Dialogue. I also answered them in a public forum where they were listed, and I was permanently banned as a result. I was so upset with this injustice that I posted my reply, along with his questions, on our congregation's web site at Lantana Road Church of Christ. Do you mind if I copy your replies to his questions and offer them as a supplement to my responses? I think it would do people well to know that more than one person can answer the so-called "impossible" questions for Church of Christ preachers. The more responses they see, and the more men they see standing together, should have an impact on them, as John 17:20-21 says.

From a Reader in Kentucky:

Brother, that was a wonderful poem! Thanks for helping me keep focused. I've been enjoying your Reflections via a doctor friend from -------, Kentucky. He has been sending me your writings for quite a while now. He finally wised up and decided to just have me put on the mailing list. I will look forward to receiving them directly from now on. Thank you for your willingness to share your thoughts and insights from your earnest study of the Word. It is also my prayer to work toward the end of helping "them to be one." In studying my way out of legalism there have been plenty of challenges and obstacles in the way, however my letter to my parents was a major step for me. I believe my doctor friend shared that letter with you. If you can make use of this letter in helping someone else, please feel free to share it. May God's grace fill your heart and guide your pen always!

From a Reader in Colorado:

We're having our spring meeting, with Dr. Ian Fair doing the preaching (Dr. Fair is Professor Emeritus at the Graduate School of Theology at Abilene Christian University and Director of the Center for Church Enrichment at ACU). The question of divorce and remarriage came up at the morning service, and he said he'd be willing to stay after the session tonight and discuss it with any who cared to stay. Several of us did, including the preacher, most of the elders and some of the deacons. He indicated that he was familiar with your book -- Down, But Not Out -- and follows the thinking of your book right down the line. He mentioned you as "a scholar and an excellent theologian!"

From a Minister in Texas:

I received a call from a minister in another congregation in our area who stated that the man we had asked to hold a meeting for us had the wrong view of marriage, divorce and remarriage. He said we should reconsider this man. I told him that I had no idea what our speaker believed on this subject, and that he was not going to be preaching on this subject, and that we were going to go ahead and have him. Of course, this congregation and others in our community did not announce our meeting, nor did they attend any of it. After the meeting, I received a telephone call from an elder of this other congregation. He said that he had me on a speaker phone because there were others present. He told me that they had not advertised our meeting because of our speaker's view on MDR, and that this speaker and all of those who believed like him were going to hell. Of course, I have now been branded as a "liberal" and a "false teacher" by this other congregation and those they influence. What are your thoughts on all of this?!

From a Minister in California:

Al, I'm presently preaching through Ephesians here in Long Beach, and I would love to use your poem in our bulletin when I get to chapter 4. Of course, I'd list you as author and your web site as the source. Just let me know. Again, thank you for your excellent articles and word studies, and for your heart for the kingdom.

From a Minister in Colorado:

One of our elders gave me information about your web site and said I might find it valuable! Boy, did I ever! Thank you, brother, for speaking the Truth in love. As a minister in a fairly remote location, I find it very encouraging to see someone taking on these issues from the standpoint of Scripture, as opposed to the standpoint of church tradition. Thank you for standing up for Truth; I want you to know you certainly have my support and my gratitude. If possible, please add me to your e-mail list for Reflections. I would appreciate any information you would care to send my way. I will be in prayer for you as you continue to labor for the Lord.

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