The church of my Lord is perfect. Its government, doctrine, purpose and mission are without error. Obviously those who are part of the church, the members, are not perfect. But the church itself, as given by Jesus is perfect. The church is the body of Christ (Ephesians 5:23) and must be given the proper glory and respect due that which belongs to Jesus (Acts 20:28).
The people who make up the church often fail. Those failures hurt others. Sometimes elders make grievous mistakes. Members are hurt and sometimes even their faith is shaken by poor decisions. Nevertheless, the church is not to blame. The church was given by Jesus and its doctrine set by Him and given through his apostles (Matthew 16:15-20).
When some error is suspected it is painful to see that charge before the court of public opinion for discussion. The world is not the place for such discussion.
It is likely that part of Paul’s thinking in 1 Corinthians 6:1-8 was to prevent public criticism of the church. His immediate focus was the practice of bringing lawsuits against fellow Christians which would be tried before the unrighteous.
When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers!
Could you agree that at some level Paul was suggesting that church keep its dirty laundry private?
Jesus offered a hint of keeping problems private when he told us how to handle issues between brothers. We first go, alone, to the brother that has offended us. If that fails we take one or two others along. Failing there we tell the problem to the church (Matthew 18:15-17).
Nowhere does Jesus or any of his apostles suggest taking our family grievances into public.
The reason is clear. The people of the unrighteous world are not qualified to decide issues among brethren. Their standards are different and their moral judgment is impaired. Also, taking a church matter into the world heaps reproach upon the church from the very people we are trying to reach.
The church doesn’t need more negativity from the world. Let us keep our issues private. The internet, Google+, Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media are not the right place for personal attacks when we sense we have been wronged. Use the media to teach and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. Glorify God through the web. But let disagreements remain private.
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