Sunday, 27 April 2008

Who is responsible if we lived for years in the fear of lost salvation?

A poster on JAW who calls herself Minister of the Gospel has suggested that we, not Noel Stanton, are responsible for believing that we would be damned if we left the Jesus Fellowship/JA because, she asserts, Noel never actually taught it. My recollections of what Noel actually taught are quite different but I take her point that this almost universally held fear was less taught than it was culturally held to be true. If we weren't actually taught it as doctrine, we certainly were not taught anything else.

If we all believed it and regularly repeated it to each other, using it to keep people on track and in fellowship; used it as a way of cajoling and bullying each other and preventing people from leaving, is it reasonable to absolve Noel Stanton of responsibility for this heresy?

It suited the eldership for us to live for years in fear of "leaving the kingdom", "leaving Zion". Any true man or woman of God leading a church would have disabused us of a doctrinal misconception which kept Christians living in fear.

"Minister of the Gospel" says that God will judge Noel's heart, which she implies was good because he was taking a strong line to make people committed to the Kingdom. But if there is a God worthy of the name, surely He will see a heart which put the building of an institution above the spiritual welfare of its members.

Can a church built on deceit and fear be Godly?