Friday, June 24, 2016

This Man Keeps a List

Today, I read this blog by Jeff Straub and I have to take issue with a few things he said. (Click here to read the blog for yourself.)

I have never met Jeff Straub and don't know who he is other than what he has revealed about himself in this blog post - and he has revealed that he is a pharisee.

This man took an unproven and unqualified "statistic" and used it to brandish every single pastor whom God redirected as unfaithful. He summarized his condemnation of these men with four words: "I keep a list." Of this list, he said he periodically looks at it and "sadly sometimes" adds another name.

What? He keeps a list?

1 Corinthians 13:5 says of love, "does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil..."

"Thinks no evil," in the Greek, literally means "does not keep a mental record of" and "to keep a mental record of events for the sake of some future action." Clearly, Jeff Straub is not practicing love toward these men he refers to as "such men" because he's keeping a written record, not even just a mental one.  He has dumped every single person who has left full-time ministry into a dumpster of "disqualified from ministry," while exalting himself and other men he worships as "godly" and living holy lives.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  I know men and women who have been forcefully removed from full-time ministry for the exact same reason the Apostle Paul was thrown into prison....for faithfully preaching the gospel. If Jeff Straub considered this at all, he should have qualified his statement more carefully. What "man of God" does not fully qualify their statements when talking about brothers or sisters in Christ?

We have to give Jeff Straub a little credit for not being a hypocrite. He did not attempt to hide his pharisee-like teaching at all, but, instead, praised himself as on the road to "finishing well."

Being in and remaining in what some people consider "ministry" is not a Biblical measuring stick for success. Jeff Straub is wrong to judge these men, wrong to exalt himself, wrong to keep a list.

What God-seeking person keeps such a list?
He said he periodically looks at his list "often just to remind" himself "of the cost of unholy living." Just like the pharisee in Luke 18:11 who thanked God that he was "not like other people." Oh, my, This modern-day pharisee even used the exact same language.

Where are the servants who, like Isaiah, say, "Woe is me! I am undone!"?
Where are the servants who lift up our Holy God instead of themselves?
Where are the servants who, instead of keeping track of what they consider the failure of others, (or keep track of others on any level) throw themselves on the mercy of Christ and beg Him to take down their prideful hearts?

Along with being on the pharisee level of spirituality, this is also spiritual abuse. Anyone who calls himself or herself holy or godly is simply not holy or godly and is abusing their position in the lives of others. Instead of living in humility, Jeff Straub is self-promoting, lifting himself above those he keeps on his "list" and judging others by an unholy, ungodly standard.

Of all the godly men and women I know, not one of them.....not one of them....has said this of themselves. Not one of them has called themselves godly, holy or even insinuated that they think they are. Godly people don't announce that they are godly people. Godly people don't want to announce that they are godly people.

Godly people don't think they are godly! They think they are sinners who have miraculously been saved from their sin and live to tell others because they can't keep it to themselves. They don't keep lists because they know they would be at the top of that list.

Is he telling his students how holy he is instead of pointing them to the God of Salvation? Is he holding himself up in the classroom as the ultimate holy example instead of falling on the Gospel of God to which he owes his very life? He has certainly made himself judge and prosecutor in this blog post. After all, he keeps a list.

If he acts in the classroom as he acted in this blog post, he is practicing spiritual abuse. Spiritual abuse is rarely practiced alone; other abuses generally follow and quickly. What abuses is he practicing on his students? On his family? Is he angered and defensive at the idea or quick to pull back and make sure his actions and teachings are not abusive?

Be warned.
Be aware.
Abusers are everywhere, even in a seminary classroom.

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