Skip to content

Integrity or Loyalty – Part IV

by on September 3, 2015

Integrity or Loyalty – Part IV

Is God first or is the religious system first? Is our first allegiance to God and the Church of Jesus Christ is it to a religious organization? Can we trust the Holy Spirit to direct and control or must we create a code to keep us safe? With all of our systems and loyalties we cannot produce worshipping congregations. There are more church problems and less unity than ever before. Maintaining the systems has become first. We need to trust God and His Spirit and put Him first in church and in life. That is the heart of the matter.

The current situation
Many Mennonite and Brethren churches, as they exist in 2015, have created a climate that typically does not allow questioning of leaders. That climate produces a situation where guilty persons feel innocent and innocent persons are made to feel guilty (even though they are not). This produces a system based on loyalty instead of integrity. This is an inverted system that looks good on the outside but prevents and eliminates integrity.

What if something is wrong? What if there is a lack of truth? Am I allowed to ask questions? Am I allowed to say so or will my saying so cost me my position or my membership. The price of telling the truth is so high and the attraction to loyalty is so appealing.

It is loyalty systems that produce the worst heresy. Immunity granted to compliant members allows inequity. An absolute commitment to a religious system will bind and blind you to the potential errors in that system. That blindness will allow sin while making you feel safe and secure.

When people discover that the prescription is not God, they frequently rebel and discard the system, no matter how good or bad. That is happening today especially among youth. Truth produces trust. Justice produces trust. Trust is the basis for life. Trust in God is the basis for Church life and for community life. Loyalty does not produce trust. Only integrity and truth can do that.

We are known for our sharp business dealings, worldly wisdom, making money, and gathering influence. That is a focus on the world God created and not on the Creator who created the world. Affluence has blinded our eyes to our real needs. We no longer need each other. Anabaptist is our culture and business and farming is our god. It is a great culture but an inadequate god.

Where does all this taking us?
Dutch Mennonites lost their Biblical Anabaptist identity to their affluent society. They split into factions. Worldly society can easily cause us to lose our identity as Christ-followers. Acculturation is the result of a lack of identity as Christ followers.

The ultimate, eventual result of unity and loyalty will be the one-world loyalty of the Anti Christ’s system. Those not cooperating will become worthy sacrifices for the unity of the system. Sadly, as John says, that influence is already at work in the world. Sadly, we can easily fall prey to that influence.

Some implications
Loyalty creates clones instead of leaders. Anyone who challenges becomes suspect and guilty.
Loyalty systems require a very different type of leadership than integrity systems.
Loyalty systems tend to produce a reaction when people realize the lack of integrity.
As long as a person looks and speaks loyalty, their integrity is not questioned.
Loyalty and integrity have become one and the same. They are not.
Loyalty rewards performance and appearance.
Loyalty does not reward love of brother and sister.
Spiritual integrity lives and loves and fellowships with those who have left all to follow and worship the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Power
The Holy Spirit is the power. There is a fear of the Holy Spirit. We can trust the Scripture but not the Holy Spirit. Why? Because many who claimed the Holy Spirit’s leading did not follow the Scripture. Our people reacted and began to be wary of the Spirit. That is unfortunate. John 6:63 says, “…The words that I speak to you are Spirit and life.” We find the Spirit in the Scripture. The Spirit finds us in our study of the Scripture. No need to fear the Spirit.

Live a Holy Spirit controlled life. Live the fruit of the Spirit. Honor the gifts of the Spirit. Obey the voice of the Spirit. Menno and Mack knew the leading of the Spirit. So can we today. When our minds and hearts are steeped in loving God and His Word and the adoration of His Son and the filling of His Holy Spirit we will live lives of victory.

Who are we?
We are not Catholics. We are not Protestants. We are not protesting anything except religion that is not Godly. We are God honoring, Holy Spirit controlled, Jesus Christ following, New Testament believers. Our lives are lived to worship the One True God who created Heaven and earth. The Scripture is His message to His people in written (graphe) form.

Nothing I have said is to be construed as making sin acceptable. I did not say that. Absence of written rules can be construed to mean that there is no responsibility. That is patently false. I did not say that we do not need written rules. All societies need rules. Rules are for the disobedient.

“Nevertheless, death reigned…” Even before the written law of God, there was punishment for sin. Death was the result of not recognizing God in life. That is still true.

Diligent teaching the truth and discipline of life are needed to answer the current situation. Life is in the balance. Jesus called people to follow Him. It is now our task as ambassadors to call people to join us as we follow Christ. God must be first. Anything else is idolatry.

That is the heart of the matter.

Comments are closed.