The Visit and the Speech

by J. Randal Matheny, editor
The three of us stood in front of the apartment building, as Jorge depressed the buzzer to #2. As the chosen spokesman for the brethren, I silently rehearsed my little speech while we waited for the tinny little speakerphone to come to life.
One buzz. Two buzzes. No one home.
As we returned to Jorge’s car, one part of me felt relieved, but an inner voice expressed dismay that love would not have its opportunity this day to confront in an effort to correct.
The address we’d sought out belonged to a brother returning to our town after a two-year stint elsewhere, bent on teaching false doctrine.
Several men had already met with him just to listen and understand better what he was really saying. And the result was dismay and deep disappointment.
At the end of the meeting, he’d wanted to know if the church was going to let him participate in its meetings. We promised an answer, after consulting among ourselves and consulting the Word of God.
Now, here we were on his doorstep, a couple of weeks later, after this brother’s absence from the church for two Sundays, to give him his answer.
I suspect he sensed from our questions that we were not happy with his new teaching. That’s probably why he hasn’t returned to church. But rather than wait any longer, we decided to go to him.
The first part of my speech to this brother, after affirmations of love and appreciation for him and his family during the many years we’ve known them, centered in what the Word of God tells us to do.
It would have been far more convenient to stay at home and rest that Sunday afternoon, much easier to read a good book rather than visit and confront and risk his disapproval.
But as God’s people, we stand under the Word to obey its commandments.
We were not coming to him as authorities or masters or manipulators, but as obedient followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. We were doing what we’d be told to do in the Bible.
That opening would segue into an appeal for his repentance, that quaint old concept that few preach or expect anymore. Quaint, but still valid in the Lord’s kingdom.
For the moment, however, my speech still goes unsaid.
Perhaps next Saturday or Sunday, Lord permitting, the three of us can share this message with the wayward brother, that the door is still open for those who will put away foolish ideas and speak where the Bible speaks, and no more.

Share your thoughts: