Dealing With Matters of Controversy In the Local Congregation

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Deuteronomy 17:6 (and 19:15), By the testimony of two or three witnesses. One could not be accused of a crime without the testimony of two or three eyewitnesses. This admonition is repeated in the Testimony of Yeshua:

But if he will not hear you, then take with you one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. (Matt 18:16)

This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. (2 Cor 13:1)

Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. (1 Tim 5:19)

He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses. (Heb 10:28)

Most gossip and slander would stop if this commandment were followed, and thus much division and strife within the congregation of believers. How many times have you repeated hearsay and gossip without checking the source? Even if you know it to be true, is it beneficial and righteous to repeat it to others? One Jewish sage goes so far as to say that Messiah has not come back because of all the gossip and slander of the people of Israel. Perhaps. At the very least, the Spirit of Elohim is greatly grieved, our intimacy with Elohim is diminished, and our marriages, families, friendships and congregations are fractured, hurt or destroyed because we speak things that should not be uttered.

How often do we accuse, slander and gossip about other people through use of the “evil tongue” (lashon hara) without going through proper channels and following proper biblical protocols to resolve interpersonal conflicts as Yeshua instructed in Matthew 18? How often do we attack others and spread our evil reports and accusations about others when we were not even eyewitnesses to what occurred or were not involved in the matter? How often do we attack YHVH’s leaders and accuse them of evil when there are no other witnesses (1 Tim 5:19)? YHVH hates those who sow discord among brethren and lying false witnesses, and calls this practice an abomination (Prov 6:16–17, 19). So let’s all be careful with our mouths!

Deuteronomy 17:8–13, Matters of controversy. How respectful and obedient are you to the spiritual leaders YHVH has placed over you? Or do you follow their wise counsel only if and when it suits you? Nowadays if we don’t like a leader we simply leave our congregation and find a new one. In ancient Israel, this was not an option, nor was it an option in the first century. There was one congregation in each town, and if there was a disagreement, people had to learn to work out their differences. What if we were in that situation today? How would that change your method of operation if you couldn’t just “cut and run” whenever things didn’t go your way or you got offended?


8 thoughts on “Dealing With Matters of Controversy In the Local Congregation

  1. Let us mature and come out of the dark depths in ALL our ways. What is the use of wearing tzit tzit and keeping feasts if we won’t show our hearts as approved by the actions of the tongue. when it used to produce death instead of chaim according to the wisdom that is given from above we err greatly. I have just been taught a lot about this personally & Elohim is right as always. May He forgive us. Blessings to all. FJ

  2. How much is too much? When the “leader” lies? When he will not receive biblical counsel from his brothers? When there is NO humility? When the attitude is; “It’s my house and I will teach what I want” even if it is error? Or the attitude; If it ends up just being my wife and I that is okay too”? There comes a point where “cut and run” is appropriate when you see all around you people are being hurt terribly and leave because there is no remorse or corrected behavior. The fact is, there are options when a leader is not humble and hurting the body and… thank the Father for these options. I refuse to allow myself to take abuse. I choose to mend fences with my brothers and sisters whom have been deeply harmed. A wise missionary from China once stood before the congregation of the church he was invited to and said; “If there are lies being taught from the pulpit – RUN! Here is a man who built many churches and was imprisoned for his faith on more than one occasion. Do I take his counsel? You bet. Am I saying run at the first sign of trouble? No, by all means – no. I believe if you are somewhere long enough and the pattern is established that the leader is above reproach and lacks all humility and refuses the word from his brothers, it is time to run – quickly. Is your leaving the problem or a symptom? We NEED to be honest in our dealings and accept that just because someone is the “leader”, he may not be fit to lead and the idea that the meeting place is his home is not a factor in being an honest and true leader. So, while I agree with your blog post completely, I retain the option to “cut and run” when all else fails. I would expect there are others who would agree. If I am wrong, I will take that and deal with it.


    • The Bible has zero tolerance for ungodly leaders and lays out the proper protocols for dealing these individuals in a righteous manner. That is a different discussion and was not the subject this blog post.

      • I was addressing you last statement which was not a statement but a question. I guess I should have answered the question with “quit” if the only option was “one congregation in each town”. Messiah confirmed that leadership can be the problem. The leadership in the temple of His times were corrupt to the point He made a whip and drove the evil-doers out of the House of Prayer. His main men began meeting in homes of the people teaching the truth. Pretty good lesson here. Again, I completely agree with your blog post. There is a reason these rules exist. Sadly, laws tend to be a problem with men and punishment is the price. When the congregation is being punished, it is time for them to exercise there option to leave. If there be one congregation – quit. If more than one, switch. Ultimately, we are responsible for being fed and empowering the body. If the head is corrupt, the body suffers.


      • These blog posts are generally short pieces that deal with only one or two facets of an issue. To deal with all facets of an issue as presented in the Bible, one needs to write a much longer article, which is generally not conducive to the blog format.

        You’re bringing up the facet of corrupt church leadership is something I didn’t cover in this particular post but have covered elsewhere.

        It’s frustrating to this writer when I try to keep my blog posts short and concise to make them more readable for a larger number of people, and then I get taken to task for not covering all the other facets of a particular issue. To do that would require a 30 page treatise. Most people don’t want to read something that long.

        You just can’t please all the people all the time.

        I pray the readers can appreciate the frustrations and limitations of the blog format.

        Blessings to everyone, and thanks to you all for reading, for commenting and making this blog a great success. Iron sharpens iron. To YHVH be all the glory.

  3. I so very much appreciate the timeliness of your blog and the ensuing conversation! Abba is sweet. I totally understand the limitations of a brief blog, and was very much blessed by your posting, Natan. And, you’re right. We rarely have time to read a 30pg dissertation… =] The ensuing conversation is a valuable discussion to be had, especially in the Messianic movement where our leaders have little accountability and hungry sheep willing to follow bad shepherds. It’s dangerous territory. I’d actually love to hear your “treatise” on the topic, Natan. If you get a chance… send me a link. You’ve traversed these waters many times. Your insights would be helpful for the community at large. Thanks for all you do!

    • Thank you Wendy for your kind, encouraging and wise words.

      Yes, I have addressed these issues before from time to time verbally in my sermons, but as yet, I have not written anything about it.

      Presently, I’m going through a bit of a transitions re. my role as a pastor. Perhaps when the dust settles, I may address this issue based on my 18 years as a pastor. We’ll see.

      For now, I have have primarily been content to advise many people on a strictly case-by-case situation many times in many places all over this country who have contacted me about what to do when confronted with faulty and unbiblical church leadership.

  4. 1 John 5:8 – “And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood; and these three agree in one”

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