The best way to run the goats out of the church!

Discussion in 'Daily Devotional Forum' started by Berean, Nov 16, 2009.

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  1. Berean

    Berean Puritan Board Doctor

    (D. J. Ward)

    "Feed My sheep." John 21:17

    "Feed the flock of God entrusted to you." 1 Peter 5:2

    The best way to purify the church and keep it pure--is to get rid of all the goats! And the best way to run the goats out of the church--is to feed them 'sheep food'. God's sheep will grow in grace under the preaching of grace--but goats will go hungry because they choke on 'sheep food'. They will soon leave and go somewhere else. Preach sovereign grace!

    “Now I commit you to God and to the message of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among all who are sanctified."
    Acts 20:32

    ~~~~~~~~~~
    -from Grace Gems
     
  2. Curt

    Curt Puritan Board Graduate

    Works for me!
     
  3. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    Didn't Spurgeon say that the way the Bank of England taught tellers to identify counterfeit bills was by having them handle the real thing all day long? I like your idea.
     
  4. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    It is the Lord who separates the sheep from the goats at the last day. The minister of the gospel is to preach in such a way that the Word might be a means of converting sinners into sheep.
     
  5. Prufrock

    Prufrock Arbitrary Moderation

    Indeed! I should think we should be striving to see that the goats become sheep within the pasture -- not driving them out from the pasture wherein their salvation waits!
     
  6. SolaSaint

    SolaSaint Puritan Board Sophomore

    Obviously it (preaching the true gospel) will serve both purposes. It will get rid of some goats and it will soften hearts also. Isn't the church to continue on with both wheat and tares? There are always going to be goats among the flock no matter how solid the preaching is, for if God isn't at work in them they will continue on as they are.
     
  7. Curt

    Curt Puritan Board Graduate

    No matter what the constitution of the the congregation - no matter what the ratio of sheep to goats - our task, as preachers of the Gospel, is to preach the Gospel. If the sheep become goats, that's great. If they don't - and the leave - that's fine, too.
     
  8. Grillsy

    Grillsy Puritan Board Junior

    I was thinking a Mossberg 500 outta do the trick.
     
  9. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    You probably meant to say, "If the goats become sheep."

    Sorry, but I don't believe any minister should preach with the aim of driving any person out of the church, as the OP has suggested. God may choose to do that with the preaching, that is His prerogative; but the preacher should have the apostle Paul's desire that his hearers would be blessed with salvation; Acts 26:29, "And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds." No, it shouldn't be fine if they leave; Philippians 3:18, "For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ."
     
  10. smhbbag

    smhbbag Puritan Board Senior

    Are these ideas even in contradiction? Is it not possible to be happy the goats leave, and to know that strong, good preaching has that as an effect, while we yet weep in prayer for their souls?

    This seems quite analogous to other threads where we are conflicted over whether to rejoice at the death of very evil men. In my mind - both attitudes are right, and can even be felt simultaneously - rejoicing that God removes an evil man from the Earth (or in this case, the Church), while also lamenting his lack of repentance and genuinely mourning at their fate.

    The presence of a single goat represents a serious threat to every congregation. I Cor. 5 makes this quite clear. We know they are among us, and will continue to be until the end of this age.

    They are not just goats. They are also wolves, and they are serving the prince of the power of the air. For the love of the congregation we should be glad, in some ways, when they leave.

    Yet, the primary goal in preaching is honoring God with faithful exposition - the pastor simply can rest assured that God will use that in one of two ways with the wolf. He will convert, or he will leave. It is highly unlikely that he will stay as he is. And for that we rejoice, for both ways improve the health of the local body. We certainly prefer, and pray for, one result with the goat over the other. But a prayer over both of those, I think, would be that the congregation and God's local body would be protected and purified.
     
  11. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    [bible]Hebrews 4:1-16[/bible]
    It's Us, not You, and not Them

    The command is that whoever we find ourselves in visible fellowship with that we are to plead with, strive with, and make every effort toward. We never operate on the assumption that a person cannot repent while it is called Today.

    The reason we give sheep food to all is because we hope that all are sheep and the Word is that which converts even the hardest of hearts. We ought to weep for those that leave.
     
  12. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    That's not fine.

    Paul wept for His kinsmen and Jesus wept for Jerusalem. We should weep for anyone who is driven out by the truth. We cannot be emotionally detached.
     
  13. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    You are talking about a specific kind of 'goat': those who profess to be Christians but live in open sin. This is not the case with most 'goats'.
     
  14. NRB

    NRB Puritan Board Freshman

    The meat of the Gospel runs goats out of the church, and I've seen this first hand. Even those "goats" who show no fruit and really are just tares. Althout I must state emphatically that it is not my place to find goats nor tares in the Church.
    It may take some time...and it's unfortunate indeed, but it's also the way our Sovereign Lord handles things. :)


    Thankyou Holy Spirit. :)
     
  15. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    No, there is no reconciliation between the two. Sorry. You do not know the man is reprobate. As far as you know he is forsaking the means of his salvation. While there is life there is hope and that hope is to be found in the true preaching of Jesus Christ alone.

    Concerning church discipline -- I'm not sure what pertains in Independent discipline, but in Presbyterian discipline even those who have been denied church privileges are still urged to attend the preached word as a means of grace.

    Goats are not a threat to a true church faithfully preaching the Word and administering sacraments according to the Lord's appointment. The New Testament epistles make it plain as day that the unholiness of men in the church is a means of (1) showing the Lord's favour, (2) progressive sanctification, and (3) opportunities for ministry. Remove the goats from the church and the church is actually worse off because it is thereby threatened with a holy club mentality.
     
  16. NRB

    NRB Puritan Board Freshman

    What about Coral Ridge in Florida, a PCA church, and it's recent discipline on a group who protested the current pastor?
    Everything that I've read is that the church(or presbytery) was being political upon this entire situation. The people were banned flat out for an email to other church members apparently. Correct me and educate me please if I am totally off base here. I'm new to the PCA.

    Thankyou for listening.
     
  17. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior


    Paul and Matthew, I am of the understanding that Sheep never become goats and goats never become sheep. The elect of God were and always will be His sheep even prior to conversion. Perhaps I am splitting the proverbial hair, but I find this truth expressed in this way is such a comfort for a 'lost sheep'. That being said, the Gospel only has 2 fruits. The softening and conversion of some and the hardening of others. There is really no gray area in this. I do not believe the quote by Mr. Ward in the OP is saying we look to put the mark of Cain on the heads we deem to be goats and run them out. Instead he is proclaiming the truth of the result of Sovereign Grace Gospel preaching. The Glory of God is the first and foremost motivation for a preacher called by God. Elevate Christ, those who are given to power to look at him are safe, those who are not are bitten by the snakes and die.
     
  18. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    To be clear, it is not anyone's contention that the Gospel does not divide or that God is not Sovereign. The issue is Who is God. It is not the Church. She does not have divine knowledge of such things. If truth be told, some Ministers that think they're doing a fine job of keeping goats out may well be goats themselves given their spiritual dullness to the Word's teaching about what the Church's ministry is.

    The most common mistake I see some Reformed make is the failure to distinguish the things revealed from the things hidden. While God's election of a people to Himself before the foundation of the world is known by the Word, the identity of that Elect group is known only to Him. Every attempt to create a visible Church on the basis of what God knows is a violation of God's express command against the same.

    While it is called Today, the Church's ministry is to encourage, rebuke, and exhort with much patience and instruction. I can never think of a scenario where a once Brother in Christ would leave and I would think "good riddance, that guy is definitely a goat." In fact, just yesterday my good friend and elder was telling me about a man who was once very active in the Church and evangelism and is now so hardened in his sin as to give no evidences of ever being converted. Perhaps he was not but, perhaps, Today is the day of salvation.

    Either way, I know for a fact that the man is being driven away by the Word. He refused to accept a letter from the Session charging him with spiritual, emotional, and physical abandonment of his wife and children (at one point his wife had to drive herself to surgery for cancer). He left early, the next day, without saying goodbye to any of his family for 2 years of training.

    Did my Elder friend rejoice that the Word was driving his friend away? God forbid! He was heart-broken. He pleaded with him. He reminded him that they were friends. That's what a good Elder does. He pursues but he never comforts himself knowing that he drove away a goat.

    Imagine if Nathan had that attitude toward David. Exactly how many men do you have to commit adultery toward and murder before some of us conclude that a man is irredeemable.
     
  19. BertMulder

    BertMulder Puritan Board Junior

    As we confess with the words of the Heidelberg Catechism:

    Question 83. What are [a] the keys of the kingdom of heaven?
    Answer. The preaching of the holy gospel, and christian discipline, [c] or excommunication out of the christian church; by these two, the kingdom of heaven is opened to believers, and shut against unbelievers.

    Question 84. How is the kingdom of heaven opened and shut by the preaching of the holy gospel?
    Answer. Thus: when according to the command of [d] Christ, it is declared and publicly testified to all and every believer, that, whenever they [e] receive the promise of the gospel by a true faith, all their sins are really forgiven them of God, for the sake of Christ's merits; and on the contrary, when it is declared and testified to all unbelievers, and such as do not sincerely repent, that they stand exposed to the wrath of God, and eternal [f] condemnation, so long as they are [g] unconverted: according to which testimony of the gospel, God will judge them, both in this, and in the life to come.

    Question 85. How is the kingdom of heaven shut and opened by christian discipline?
    Answer. Thus: when according [h] to the command of Christ, those, who under the name of christians, maintain doctrines, or practices inconsistent therewith, and will not, after having been often brotherly admonished, renounce their errors and wicked course of life, are complained of to the church, [j] or to those, who are thereunto [k] appointed by the church; and if they despise their admonition, [l] are by them forbidden the use of the sacraments; whereby they are excluded from the christian church, and by God himself from the kingdom of Christ; and when they promise and show real amendment, are again [m] received as members of Christ and his church.
    [a]: Mat. 16:19
    : John 20:23
    [c]: Mat. 18:15,16,17,18
    [d]: Mat. 28:19
    [e]: John 3:18,36; Mark 16:16
    [f]: 2Thes. 1:7,8,9
    [g]: John 20:21,22,23; Mat. 16:19; Rom. 2:2,13-17
    [h]: Mat. 18:15
    : Cor. 5:12
    [j]: Mat. 18:15-18
    [k]: Rom. 12:7,8,9; 1Cor. 12:28; 1Tim. 5:17; 2Thes. 3:14
    [l]: Mat. 18:17; 1Cor. 5:3,4,5
    [m]: 2Cor. 2:6,7,8,10,11; Luke 15:18
     
  20. Mushroom

    Mushroom Puritan Board Doctor

    Does this parable have something to say about the subject?
     
  21. cih1355

    cih1355 Puritan Board Junior

    If a church is faithful to God's word and preaches the true gospel, then those who don't like hearing the true gospel will leave.
     
  22. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    Perhaps there is no reconciliation between the "two" views. However, I am guessing that the original post was dealing with the tendency (at least in many broad evangelical churches) to water down the message to cater to the "felt needs" of the unchurched. That is different from adopting an elitist "chosen frozen" "holy club" approach to "driving out" people in need of the Gospel.

    If the OP was simply saying, don't let the goats dictate the message or induce you to pull punches with truth, then I am in wholehearted agreement. Perhaps you Presbyterians do not have problems with this and it only applies to Baptists? If so, nevermind.

    And, as a matter of practice, I have experienced times when the voluntary departure of a troublemaker was a blessed subtraction.
     
  23. smhbbag

    smhbbag Puritan Board Senior

    It most certainly does - thanks for posting it. For some reason it had not come to mind.
     
  24. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior

    Not to digress this thread, but I always wondered how pulling up the tares would hurt the wheat in V 29. The ridding of the tares from the wheat seems to be a good thing In my humble opinion.
     
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