A Serious Misnomer
In all of the discussion lately swirling around about the content of saving faith, I have noticed a phrase that keeps popping up: “disobedient brethren.” Now, just in case you may not be aware, let me brief you: Lou Martuneac uses this phrase in referring to some folks who hold a different understanding than he does as to the content of saving faith. He has a list of names of these disobedient brethren: Hodges, Wilkin, da Rosa (I don’t think he includes Myers anymore), Matthew. (I don’t think he knows Matthew’s surname.) The list seems very slightly fluid, (sometimes a name appearing one week and gone the next) but there is a firm core.
Both Lou and the group he opposes would probably both say that saving faith is “believing in Christ.” However, Antonio and Matthew allow for a very skeletal “requirement” of understanding who Christ is. Personally, I am not comfortable with how skeletal an understanding they think a convert may have of Jesus. I have discussed this at length with these brethren. I don’t see it their way. Yet, I don’t feel they are “disobedient.” In fact, I would say that there are being obedient to what they are convinced about and they have found their persuasion in the Bible. They argue for their position from the Bible.
There are certain views on Biblical concepts that I am convinced about. If someone else holds fast to his way of seeing these, who is to decide who is the disobedient one? This is a dilemna. Now, let me be clear, we are talking about brethren. So I am referring in this post to people that I am convinced are believers. To be sure of this, I do have certain truths that I must be sure the person is committed to or I would not count him a brother.
I am thinking right now of a wonderful man who just left our church because he could not go along with our dispensational statement of faith any longer, having been convinced of Covenant theology. I would never call him a disobedient brother! He has to be true to his convictions. I respect him. Something was spelled out in our doctrinal statement and he could not agree with it. This is a good indication that one may need to find a different congregation that one agrees with.
On the other hand, there has to be room for acceptable Christian disagreement, especially when we get into views about theory and scenario.
For example, in our church, there is no clear statement on the Calvinist thingy. Calvinists and non-Calvinists can both agree to the statement of faith, the way it is worded. I have been in discussions with my former pastor about predestination and the like. I have been very adamant that I do not view the Scriptures (that he sees as clearly teaching Calvinim) in the same way he does. He had given me leeway to be faithful to that which I hold. Wouldn’t it be awful if a pastor were to brand me a “disobedient sister” because I do not see what he sees about this "doctrinal nuance" ...about this disputable matter?? This would be quite ironic. While being faithful to what I think the Bible teaches, I would be branded “disobedient” for that.
In our personal friendships which are not in a church setting, I think the room for these disagreements can be a lot larger. But again, who is to decide who is disobedient and who is not?
I do realize that I could be accused of being irresolute for saying all of this, but I think if someone is able to defend their view from the Bible, and they are fully convinced that the Bible teaches what they are saying, having studied the Bible, then calling them disobedient is a serious misnomer. A contraire, they would be disobedient to the Scriptures if they were to just give in to Christian peer pressure to abandon what they see the Bible teaching… in favor of going along with what the rest of the brethren that are opposing them hold to.
Anyways, I did a search on the word disobedient and disobedience and it seems to me that it is always used in connection with someone who is a rebel against Christ, (an unbeliever) or a Christian living in blatant, bold and unapologetic sin or a Christian teaching others to live in blatant, bold and unapologetic sin. I don’t think Matthew or Antonio are disobedient brethren.