Up to this point the videos may have had notes for me to go by but was otherwise impromptu. However, this is scripted, perhaps for obvious reasons, and a transcript is online.
For years I have been attempting to reconcile with my wife, extended family, and the leadership of two institutional churches. After proclaiming it for months a large library of text and video was put online to expand that effort. In recent months the list of people who receive emails from me in this effort has grown to several hundred.
My contention is that this is an act of obedience to the Lord, an attempt to reconcile as the Lord commands, an attempt to love. What has been the response? From the institutional church leadership, silence. It seems they disagree with my repeated exposition on reconciliation and specifically Matthew 5:24. But now the silence has been broken.
On October 31st of 2017, the very day marking the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s proclamation of the 95 Thesis, around 8 am I got a loud knock at my door from a detective from the Cleveland Police Department. He states that I am to stop “harassing” my wife and the church in North Carolina. He offers nothing written but verbally a name of a sheriff in Davidson County, North Carolina. It needs to be pointed out that he was dealt with respectfully, I offered questions for clarification, and I purposefully offered my hand in friendship to make it clear that I had no animosity toward him. I called the sheriff’s office, left a voicemail, and have yet to hear from them. My assumption is that those involved in initiating this do not subscribe to 1Co6. My assumption is this is intimidation.
While no one has come forth claiming to be the party behind this, an email from my father-in-law (page 5) stated that he and Chris Bitterman, the pastor at Meadowview Presbyterian Church in North Carolina, did have a conversation. He stated and I directly quote: “that there was some kind of communication from Meadowview leadership to some authority”. He also stated quote: “there was some fear for my life and that of their pastor.”
Let’s just put away the obvious, there is no threat to anyone’s life stated or implied. The library online is huge and I challenge anyone to find any evidence to the contrary. I suggest this is simply an act of sensationalism.
So it seems the man who proclaims Christ to my wife and kids on Sunday morning, remains unwilling to reconcile with someone who is requesting that very thing. He seems to want to follow his own request to me, and I quote: “Please do not contact me anymore”. It seems the Meadowview leadership would rather turn to the state before anyone of them would be willing to respond to the multiple emails requesting reconciliation.
However, as to being a threat, I most certainly am. I am a threat to those who claim Christ but refuse to live what they claim. To this I plead guilty and am in good company.
There is the obvious example of the religious leadership and Christ in Matthew 26, Mark 14, and Luke 22. Since “they all condemned him as deserving death” (Mar 14:64) they still had to turn to the state for execution. I’m not Christ, but do claim Christ as “My Lord and my God!” (Joh 20:28) and attempt as a sinful man to follow in His ways. Is this why today’s religious leadership turned to the state?
You can find numerous examples in the Old Testament, such as the interaction between Jeremiah and Hananiah (Jer 27 and 28). Jeremiah proclaimed the word of the Lord and Hananiah did not. Unlike Jeremiah, I am not a prophet of the Lord, but as a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ I do proclaim His word, which includes His command to reconcile. Isn’t this the model of Jeremiah? What model does the religious leadership follow, past and present?
We see the apostles proclaiming Christ and put in prison by the religious leadership in Acts 5. Peter spoke the often quoted “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29) I am not an apostle, but I also “must obey God rather than men”, which includes the state when the institutional church turns to them to intimidate me. What model does the religious leadership follow, past and present?
Stephen is a great model in Acts 6 and 7. He was not a prophet or apostle, but simply a man “full of grace and power” (Acts 6:8) proclaiming the Lord. However, “Then they secretly instigated men who said, ‘We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.’” (Act 6:11) Is this like suggesting to others that your life might be at risk from someone proclaiming Scripture, proclaiming reconciliation? What model does the religious leadership follow, past and present?
Why am I a threat to the institution? I proclaim that the institutional church is a fraud.
Let’s be clear, the American Heritage Dictionary defines “fraud” as “A deception practiced in order to induce another to give up possession of property or surrender a right.” (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition)
While there are many details in the emails and videos in the “2017 Reconciliation Effort”, some point directly to the fraud of the institution, such as the misuse of what an elder is, and the evidence offered that there is no call to tithe to the institutional church, and giving is to individuals not institutions.
Offering evidence from Scripture that the tithe it not required is a threat to the income of the institution and the livelihood of the pastor and staff. The institution uses tithe to “induce another to give up possession of property” which is a fraud. I offered Scripture on this in an effort to dialog. They called the police. What model does the religious leadership follow, past and present?
I offered evidence on the misuse of “elder”. Do we submit to the authority of the institution or the Lord via Scripture? If the Lord, wouldn’t you correct me in dialog, wouldn’t you “contend earnestly for the faith” (Jude 3)? If the institution, do you call the police? What model does the religious leadership follow, past and present?
I contend that it is the Son who make us free, to be “free indeed”, not the institution. (John 8:36) I proclaim we are to “stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal 5:1). The institution requires the yoke for its very existence, so rather than offer Scripture in rebuttal, they call the police. What model does the religious leadership follow, past and present?
I have contended from Scripture that it is the Lord alone, not the state or a religious body defines marriage. This is made clear in the marriage section on the website. I have stated repeatedly that my commitment to my wife is until death, as the Lord demands. The response is a closed door to my wife and my kids with the backing of the institutional church. Which one of us is offering love? What model does the religious leadership follow, past and present?
Over a year ago I did an exposition on “reconcile” and continue in my attempt to live it. This offer has been made specifically and repeatedly to Jim Cross, my father-in-law; Render Caines, a pastor and relative; Chris Bitterman, a pastor; and my wife, who I have not abandoned, nor will I turn to another. Which one of us is offering love? What model does the religious leadership follow, past and present?
In summary is it obedience to the Lord to proclaim the Scripture, including to the institutional church and its leadership? Is it obedience and an act of love to pursue reconciliation? If not, call the police!
This video has been emailed to hundreds and is online for viewing and download. If my crime is a foul man’s effort to love, here it the evidence, call the police. You would not be the first.
As for me, I will proclaim the Lord and His Scripture, to correct and be corrected by it (2Tim3:16). I will pursue reconciliation with all, as the Lord requires (Mat 5:24). This is the model I will follow until my last breath. What model does the religious leadership follow, past and present?