All, Some & Others
Updated: Mar 3
The Complications of Judging the Many by the Few
The Many, The Few...
What a phone call it turned out to be. I knew when I read the caller’s name on the phone that I should be cautious to answer, but I did and immediately regretted it. For the next several minutes, I was emphatically told that the church I pastored was full of hypocrites and to quote the caller, we would soon be “splitting Hell wide open.”
With those words, an extremely offended church member had just imprisoned our entire congregation into one huge jail cell of fiery damnation. The caller proceeded to describe the offense he had with another church member along with the corresponding and diminished opinion he held of him. At the end of the call, I had learned that one brother had let the other brother down but the entire church would be held in judgement, at least by him.
That’s been many years ago, but that one incident taught me that some people do indeed judge the many by the actions of the few and in this case, the actions of one.
These days, I occasionally find myself as a sounding board and on the receiving end of someone’s concern. I get that and accept it as part of what I do for a time. I do my best to listen and respond courteously and responsibly as best I can. On rare occasions, those concerns are sometimes accompanied with broad insinuations, if not sweeping charges aimed at the entire denomination. Upon closer investigation, it is often discovered that the real source of concern is connected to something or someone in a more local than regional arena and should not at all be seen as indicative of the global denomination.
I am always committed to listen and carefully work to find scriptural resolutions to every matter brought to my attention.
Please understand, minimizing anyone’s concern over an issue is never my aim. I am always committed to listen and carefully work to find scriptural resolutions to every matter brought to my attention. With that said, permit me to add this observation.
Each day, I am given a close perspective of the loyalty and commitment of our global ministry community. In 185 nations, the Church of God has men and women who have given their life for the Gospel of Jesus Christ without compromising or bowing in surrender to the world. While any church will possibly have those who may not be fully dedicated to the call, mission or even scriptural foundations of the movement, I can assure you that the vast majority of Church of God ministers and laity are dedicated to upholding scripture, the Declaration of Faith and the Practical Commitments of the Church of God.
Sometimes when unfavorable remarks or even indicting statements are aimed at the church, the typical use of broad pronouns such as “they” and “all” are frequently recycled and tend to place each of us in a disparaging and negative arena. Possibly, the better term to use is the word, “some.” Of course, even that word should be validated by a preponderance of evidence before being tossed around without any sense of caution and responsibility. Paul is an example of the use of this word when writing in First Timothy 4:1. He wrote, “Some” have departed from the faith.”
Sometimes when unfavorable remarks or even indicting statements are aimed at the church, the typical use of broad pronouns such as “they” and “all” are frequently recycled and tend to place each of us in a disparaging and negative arena.
Judas failed though he had fellowship among the disciples. Ananias and Sapphira had membership in the early church yet both were guilty of deception. Even Paul suffered the heartbreak of Demas’ spiritual departure. In every age and generation the church will occasionally suffer loss among some of it’s most promising constituents. Indeed and most regrettably, “some” have departed. But remember, as Paul said, it’s some, but not all.
Similarly, God reminded Elijah, “There are reserved seven thousand in Israel--all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” First Kings 19:18
Likewise in these uncertain times, it would do us good to recall that around this world, the Church of God has almost 50,000 Ministers and over 40,000 churches where over 7.6 Million members attend. I can promise you that the overwhelming majority of them would never search for ways to evade or circumvent their responsibilities to God or even to the Church of God.
I grieve over the “some” who would dare to compromise or even dangerously drift toward apostasy. However, I must celebrate and speak up for the pastor who stands up on Sunday, laying aside every care just long enough to love those 40,000 congregations and faithfully abide by the calling to preach the Word of God without fear or favor. I also commend State, Regional and International Leaders who are modeling integrity, compassion and care as they work to connect with ministers and laity by every means possible.
Being A Reflection of Faithfulness
Today, we find ourselves contending for the faith and in some cases fighting for freedoms that were once taken for granted. Religious liberties are fading by the hour and now many of our pastors and their families are all but completely exhausted in the fight. However, we are not so tired that we won’t speak up for truth. We’re not too tired to live right and be honest. We’re not too tired to embrace righteousness and holiness. I’m not blind to the fact that “some” won’t but I am convinced that most in the Church of God will and do.
There are scriptural precepts that hold us accountable as a gospel movement. We abide by them and remain wholly committed to biblical directives for living a life that pleases the Lord. No doubt, “some” will miss the mark and when they do we work to restore and help in the process of recovery and restoration.
The Church of God is a wonderful movement of born again and spirit-filled men and women dedicated and committed to fulfilling the Great Commission and pleasing the Lord. Their living testimony reveals it every day. In my travels, I’ve encountered many faithful saints who qualify to be listed in the line and lineage of faith found in Hebrews 11.
The Church of God is a wonderful movement of born again and spirit-filled men and women dedicated and committed to fulfilling the Great Commission and pleasing the Lord.
Indeed, the writer of Hebrews had in mind an unmatched level of faithfulness when writing about the nameless “Others” of the Faith described in Hebrews 11:35-40. Should we ever have to face anything remotely similar to what these people experienced, may we be found worthy to be numbered among them when we stand before the Lord.
The author of Hebrews described their experiences this way:
“Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.
“Others had trials of mocking and scourging, yes, and of chains and imprisonment.”
“Others were stoned and were sawn into, tempted, and killed with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented.”
And catch this line...
“Of Whom the world was not worthy.”
Somewhere in the mirror of the “Some, the All and the Others,” we will possibly see our own image. If so, may the person looking back at us be a reflection of faithful commitment to Jesus Christ and everything that He died to accomplish.
Timothy M. Hill