Discussion question on The Silent War in the Church Addendum A “A Pastor’s Authority” by Ray Stedman
How are church leaders to be different from leaders in worldly organizations?
My answer to question #1 “A Pastor’s authority”
The ultimate authority in the church is not men, but Jesus. “The task of the elders is not to run the church themselves, but to determine how the Lord in their midst wishes to run his church.” The church leaders’ purpose is to lead the church in finding God’s will and seeking to do it.
Discussion question #2 on The Silent War in the Church Addendum A “A Pastor’s Authority” by Ray Stedman
What do you think of this statement by Ray Stedman? “The ability of a servant to influence anyone does not lie in ordering someone around, but by obtaining their voluntary consent. This is the nature of all authority among Christians, even that of the Lord Himself! He does not force our obedience, but obtains it by love.”
What is often behind divisions in the church due to “The Onlys”?
My answer to discussion question on “The Onlys”
If there are disagreements over an area or areas where authentic Christians can disagree, an arrogant attitude that demands “only” my view is acceptable in the church can lead to unnecessary divisions in the church. Instead of allowing Christians to freely come to their own conclusions on disputable matters, others are forced to come to “only” our conclusions. We are, then, demanding uniformity and not any diversity in Christ’s church. It is also disputable as to where we draw the line over what should cause divisions and what should only cause disagreements.
Why, ultimately, is there a silent war in the church?
My answer to discussion question #1 Conclusion
There is a silent war in the church, ultimately, because every Christian is in a war with Satan and his evil spirits. They are real, whether we want to believe it or not. A significant part of their malignant strategy is to spread their cancer in the Body of Christ. Division in the church and in churches trumpets to us that their strategy has been successful.
Discussion question #2 on The Silent War in the Church Conclusion
How can we be victorious against our enemy who can use us to attack our fellow Christians and use our fellow Christians to attack us?
My answer to discussion question #2 Conclusion
To be victorious in the silent war in the church, we must grow spiritually until we no longer respond to each other in a fleshly way. Instead, we need to be committed to respond to each other in the power of the Spirit so that we will continually genuinely love each other and be united in spirit. Also, we need to be ever mindful that there will always be opposition, for Satan and those who are empowered by him will always hate us and hate what we are doing (I Peter 4:12-13)
Discussion question #1 on The Silent War in the Church Part 20
Is the status quo all we can hope for in the modern-day church? (After all, every church is filled with normal self-centered people.) Please explain your answer.
My answer to discussion question #1 Part 20
There is a vast difference between the normal human response to disagreements and the Holy Spirit-empowered response. The normal human response is for disagreements to turn into bitterness and division. The Holy Spirit-empowered response is for there to be loving and humble attempts at reconciliation, even if there is a need to confess sins to each other.
Discussion question #2 on The Silent War in the Church Part 20
Why do you believe there are so few attempts at reconciliation between those who have divided over some issue in the church?
My answer to discussion question #2 Part 20
Where there is no attempt to reconcile between those who have become divided in a church fight, what caused the division still remains unresolved. The solution to division is love and humility. We seek to reconcile with our brothers and sisters because we truly love them. We are able to do this because we have changed our outlook on them and are willing to admit that our former attitude was proud and selfish. If we do not seek to be reconciled, we do not truly love them and we are too proud to admit it.
Discussion question #3 on The Silent War in the Church Part 20
What can we do so that there will be reconciliation between those who have divided from each other in a church fight?
My answer to discussion question #3 Part 20
We can be willing to humble ourselves and reach out in love to those we have divided from and we can pray that reconciliation will take place where there has been division. Then, revival will break out to the degree this type of humility and love has taken place.
How can we be victorious in The Silent War in the Church?
May answer to discussion question #1 Part 19
We must–believe–in what God teaches us to believe and we must–do–what God commands us to do! That is how we fight the “good fight.” (II Timothy 4:7) Satan can only win if he can somehow cause us to doubt what God wants us to believe and disobey what God commands us to do.
Discussion question #2 on The Silent War in the Church Part 19
What must we–believe–that will enable us to be victorious in The Silent War in the Church?
My answer to discussion question #2 Part 19
We must believe that we are new creatures indwelt by Jesus Christ so that we are now able to be like Him; that our battle is a difficult one; and that we are never alone!
Discussion question #3 on The Silent War in the Church Part 19
What must we–do–that will enable us to be victorious in The Silent War in the Church?
My answer to discussion question #3 Part 19
We must do the following to be victorious in The Silent War In the Church: (1) We must choose to love and obey our King. (2) We need to forgive each other. (3) We need to humble ourselves. (4) We need to give and serve. (5) We need to love each other. (6) We must seek to grow in union with fellow believers who are also dedicated to obeying Jesus. (9) We must remember that obeying Jesus must be our voluntary choice (not forced on us or forced in any way on others). (10) We need to correct each other in a humble and loving way. (11) We need to confess our sins to God and to each other. (12) We need to seek God’s power to enable us to be victorious. (13) We need to use God spiritual weapons. (14) We need to persevere until the end.
Why do we need God’s power so that Christ will dwell in our hearts?
My answer to discussion question #1 Part 18b
The Christian life is not something that we can do alone. We can only be the Christian God wants us to be if He enables us by His power so that we can truly live Jesus’ life. Then, we in the church will experience every dimension of Jesus’ love in the way that we love each other.
Discussion question #2 on The Silent War in the Church Part 18b
What do we do so that God’s goal for the church will become a reality in His churches?
My answer to discussion question #2 Part 18b
We need to seek after God’s goal for His churches with all of our hearts, praying as Paul prayed for God’s power so that He will fill us with His life and power. ” . . . And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17b-19)
Discussion question #3 on The Silent War in the Church Part 18b
But, with all of our human failings, how is this possible?
My answer to discussion question #3 Part 18b
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generation, for ever and ever! Amen.” We need to seek after His power which is more than able to enable us to fulfill His will for the church in us.
Discussion question #4 on the Silent War in the Church Part 18b
What does it look like when the church and when a church is filled with the fullness of Go?
My answer to discussion question #4 Part 18b
The fullness of God will lead to a growing oneness in the church, agreement on what is true and real, and geninue loving relationships developing between Christians in churches. Also, as Christian maturity develops, Christians will agree on what is false teaching and reject it.
Is the church described in Acts 2:42-47 a “pie in the sky” version of the church that cannot happen in the world today? Please explain your answer.
My answer to discussion question #1 on Part 18a
It is possible today for the following reasons: (1) We have today the same resources that the early Christians had. The Holy Spirit also dwells in us. We also have the “apostles’ teaching.” (2) Both they lived and we live in a pagan world. All that is necessary is for us to also be devoted to the “apostles’ teaching,” “fellowship,” “prayer,’ and giving to each other in love. If we follow their pattern, we also will mature in our faith and in our walk with God as they did.
Discussion question #2 on The Silent War in the Church Part 18b
What can we do today so that we will have a church that is like the one described in Acts 2:42-47?
My answer to discussion question Part 18a
The early church met in large groups and small groups. Many today do not meet in small groups. Also, our modern church members are often not devoted to learning the bible, to Christian fellowship, to praying together, and to giving to each other in sacrificial love to the same degree the church of Acts 2:42-47 was devoted to these practices. This can change, but it requires that we wholeheartedly develop the same type of devotion that this early church had. We need to do some heart-searching to determine what needs to change in us so that we also will have their type of devotion to seeking God and his ways.
How do you believe critical issues that have the potential of dividing the church should be resolved?
My answer to question #1 Part 17
The church should seek God’s will on the matter by having the leadership lead the congregation toward discovering God’s will on the issue. Otherwise, it can become a power play as people unite on one side of the other, or the most politically powerful person or persons make the decision for the whole church.
Discussion question #2 on The Silent War in the Church Part 17
When is the issue fully resolved?
My answer to question #2 Part 17
The issue is resolved when the church as a whole are in agreement about what is God’s will on the matter. Certainly, not every single person in the early church in Jerusalem agreed the Gentiles did not need to be circumcised to be saved. But there was a church consensus that it was God’s will that they be saved by faith in God’s grace through Jesus’s death for them (Acts 15:22-35). So, we can seek to gain church consensus on what is God’s will on important controversial issues.
What are some issues through the years that caused divisions that godly Christians caused, where they were right in taking their stands?
My answer to discussion question Part 16
The following issues were the result of godly people taking a stand: salvation by grace, the inspiration of the Bible, the nature of God–the Trinity, Jesus being fully God and fully man, the virgin birth, the miracles in the Bible, an allegorical interpretation of the Bible, and more.
Can genuinely godly people divide from each other? Please explain your answer.
My answer to discussion question #1 Part 15
Paul and Barnabas were godly Christian leaders who had a sharp disagreement with each other. If they divided from each other (see Acts 15:36-39), godly Christians today can also divide from each other.
Discussion question #2 on The Silent War in the Church Part 15
When godly Christians divide from each other, what should they do about it?
My answer to discussion question #2 Part 15
Every attempt should be made to reconcile with each other. Paul and Barnabas divided from each other over whether or not Mark would be useful in the ministry after he abandoned them on their first missionary journal. In Paul’s last letter, II Timothy, Paul says these words: “Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful in my ministry.” (II Tim. 4:11). It was also the same Mark who wrote the Gospel of Mark. So, God also found him useful in the ministry.
Discussion question #3 on The Silent War in the Church Part 15
What is it that godly people can divide over?
My answer discussion question #3 Part 15
In our vision of God’s work, we can be so focused on what is our area of ministry or on what is our area of spiritual-giftedness that we do not clearly see others’ vision of ministry or their area of spiritual-giftedness as being valid. And, so, godly Christians, like Paul and Barnabas, can also have sharp disagreements with each other. They should later, however, recognize their tunnel vision and accept others’ vision of ministry as also being valuable.