13:57 07Apr10 The Rev. Dr. Nicholas A. Marziani -
There's an old expression in the church to the effect that when the
priest/preacher starts really hitting pastoral paydirt, he's "gone from
preaching to medddling". We in the clergy would all laugh a bit at that one
and then we'd fall silent as we reflected and realized how disobedient and
resistant too many church-folk are to real discipline. Elders/priests as
judges? "Oy" comes the cry from the congregation - and I'm talking
Yiddish-quoting Gentiles here! We are in a pickle in the Body of the Messiah,
aren't we? Lord have mercy!!
14:19 07Apr10 Dr. Varghese L. Mathai -
Excellent article! Although it sounds like a new commandment in the context of
Charismatic communities, what Dr. Dan Juster wrote is the very essence of New
Covenant teaching in relation to life and relationships in Kingdom living! We
can't alter God's commands as expressed on the pages of the New Testament with
the majority opinion or preponderance of majority experience. Divorces and
remarriages are not the sign of social adjustments based on the New Charismata,
but the signs of an adulterous generation who propagate loose doctrines of
grace and loose living! Serious repentance and strict measures in the process
of restoration are vital and inevitable! Nothing less is an abomination!!!
14:33 07Apr10 Thomas C. Rath -
Ahoy! You have just printed an article about divorce and finally someone in a
position of respect is saying what I have been saying all along! Stop it now.
Churches that condone this practice are not in accord with scripture and set
the worst example for those members who may do the same thing believeing it is
all right. Thank you for your boldness in Yesh-a and speaking out.
15:30 07Apr10 Mark McLellan -
Great article, Wow! This is a timely and relevant article which hopefully will
stoke the fires of rebuilding the walls of integrity and accountability within
the body of Messiah. Thank you!
16:05 07Apr10 Karen C. -
I am please to see you teach this standard of living. It saddens me to see
others we expect to hold steady give in to the world view.
16:46 07Apr10 Mitsi Burton -
I agree with you. Some leaders are writing their own gospel and their own laws.
They eiher have not understood the Bible or have put it aside. The ministry of
deliverance has been thrown out of the church. The consequence is that the
body is under the influence of demons starting with the leaders. Once I was
delivered from a demon that came from the pastor I then had. May we all repent
and seek the deliverance the Messiah Yeshua bought with His blood.
17:14 07Apr10 Gary Parkhurst -
An excellent word my brother. I too have been troubled for some time by the
whole issue of divorce in the Church, and especially among leadership. And
surely this is one of the major reasons the Kingdom of God is generally so
poorly expressed in our assemblies today. I contend our roughly 50% divorce
rate (essentially the same as the post-modern culture around us) is directly
related to an inadequate understanding of the covenant nature of marriage in
the first place.
17:20 07Apr10 Tom -
The words "Disciple" and "discipline" come from the same root. Clearly, there
can be NO Disciples where there is no discipline. The rules of marriage and
divorce are direct and clear. If they insist on divorce, they must REMAIN
divorced AND CELIBATE. No other Body of Believers can "take pity" on them and
"restore" them to fellowship; that would be approval of a heinous sin. I've
watched this all my life. It will NEVER get better; there will never be
discipline until there is discipline! It will NEVER develop "gradually", it
can't be imposed "gradually", it has to happen in a moment! Let those who walk
away, walk away. If the Leadership will not stand on principle, who will?
Certainly not those they lead! Congregations that insist on Proper Biblical
discipline always lose members at the outset, but then begin to grow and become
STRENGTHENED specificially because they stand on Principle and insist on
disciplined conduct within the Community of Believers. JUST DO IT! There's no
-- Dr Juster replies:
Indeed disciple and discipline are one.
18:32 07Apr10 Marika Kern -
AMEN AND AMEN to your article. I belong to such a congregation you describe,
and thank God for it.
18:34 07Apr10 LAnderson -
What a good word. I find it so refreshing to hear you speak with conviction by
telling straight up what the Bible says in matters such as this. I am filled
with disgust at how these so-called "leaders" who are full of themselves and
not full of the Holy Spirit who purposely and with intent and with their eyes
wide open turn to willfull sin like adultery, divorce and remarriage, and then
after all of that, think they should be able to minister from the pulpit and
carry on just as if they did nothing wrong. And equally disgusting are the ones
who "restore" them believing these immoral characters should be back in
ministry. How can they be so blind? I personally know too many of this type of
men who have been in ministry and failed morally. They didn't fail morally
because the devil made them do it, they failed morally because they spent more
time with the other woman than they spent in the Word learning the standards of
scripture. I agree with you; make sure there is true repentance so they can be
restored to fellowship, but don't let them get back into the pulpit. They have
disqualified themselves. Thank you Dan Juster for saying what needs to be said.
19:30 07Apr10 anonymous -
Thank you for this short excerpt on the Kingdom of God and how it is to be
established and manifested to the world. It is so refreshing to hear someone
speak on this issue with the authority of Scripture. A number of us are hungry
for this "living out the gospel" to begin. I agree that the covenant of
marriage should be taught and lived out. The consequences of not abiding by
the Lord's principles also should be taught and practiced.
19:46 07Apr10 Liz Rhodes -
Yes and amen! Covenant has come to mean so little. From marriage to the
church/ecclesia as a covenant community. People don't realize the power in
covenant relationship. Love the meaning of "binding and loosing". Didn't
realize it was a judicial term. There's a great weight of authority with it
than I first realized.
17:50 07Apr10 Lynda -
Excellent definition and explanation of eldership. This sort of leadership is
rare in the body today, because it takes courage as well as spiritual maturity
and discernment. 'Modern Christianity' is more afraid of driving off seekers
than in making disciples.
23:55 07Apr10 Phyllis McDowall -
Yes this is more serious than we realise. It is not something that can be swept
under the carpet.But with true repentance this sin can be forgiven and they can
be restored but if they want to come back to being a teacher it must be that
they can tell of their experience of what to watch out for and show that they
have got God's approval not just man's and who are we to judge that.
God can restore but how can they be an example to the younger generation
unless there is a clear repentance seen by all, not an excuse that they fell
and they feel cleansed so here goes. There is a higher level of living the
life through the cross which saves us from unrighteousness especially for being
We all need to walk humbly for it is by grace alone that we are saved not
by our own works.
10:24 08Apr10 Pastor Sherry Sobcoviak -
I totally agree with what is said in this article. God's judgment first begins
at the household of God. When we fall into a sin as just described we first
need God's forgiveness and cleansing but then need to sit and be restored not
placed right back into ministry. The healing of the marriage should be the
first priority not stepping back into ministry. As a pastor my heart aches for
all the sexual sins that I hear about in the Body of Christ, especially in
marriages. We do not delight in seeing a person in ministry step down but that
is the only way where true repentance and healing can come in their lives and
the lives of their families. My prayer is God cleanse the Church so we can be
a Bride without spot, wrinkle or blemish. Your article is right on and I
applaud you for your stand. Keep bringing the truth forward to the Body so
that we can be cleansed and still be useful in the Body of Christ.
11:33 08Apr10 Mrs. Jody Grant -
I believe in the covenant of marriage. The only grounds for divorce are death
of one spouse and then divorce wouldn't be necessary. Jesus said men divorce
because of the "hardness of their hearts" and he went on to say "It wasn't like
this in the beginning." He also says, "If a man divorces his wife and marries
another he commits adultery." That is because the covenant of marriage is
13:16 08Apr10 Lo Laqach -
I agree that we need to be accountable to the body of Messiah and to the terms
of God's covenant! The law is now written on our hearts, and if we LOVE
Messiah, we will obey His commands. Alas, most of us really do not know how to
commit to our LOVE in our human covenants, OR in our spiritual covenant with
Him. In both relationships it requires a choice to continue to LOVE.
My concern is that if we are having difficulty committing to LOVE both our
spouses (and obey our vows) and our Eternal bridegroom, then how able are, how
ready are we, to be just to our brothers and sisters in Messiah?
-- Dr Juster replies:
Yes, it is true. It is all a matter of discipleship. For example, if
one is to love one's neighbor, one's spouse is one's neighbor. If
believers, we are commanded to love brothers and sisters. A believing
spouse is a brother or sister. Justice must be motivated by love. So
this is all very tied together.
03:07 09Apr10 Erik Ronneberg -
Praise God for telling the truth. Divorce is an act of violence against
children. The good news is Jesus as King Himself will act when the church
refuses to act, as He did with Eli, He raised up Samuel.
-- Dr Juster replies:
May he raise up Samuels today!
12:48 09Apr10 Jesse Bruton -
This issue is explosive because you're calling for the community of the Spirit
to function as outlined by our Master. Many people will agree with your
position until it becomes a reality in their own congregation. The most
heart-aching episode of our church lives was in just this sort of scenario.
The pastor usually is a charismatic individual, so the sympathies of many
undiscerning congregants blind them to the lack of genuine repentance. Many
people believe that we must forgive such a leader without calling him to
repentance at all. Almost always the pastor is seen as the victim of a
judgmental church leadership. He is viewed as the ground-zero injured party
while the more sinned-against parties (husband of the adulteress, wife of
pastor, family of adulteress) are ignored. Other congregations in town harshly
judge the church attempting to be biblical, and advocate for the pastor.
Loving, restorative church discipline has so few success stories that we
formulate our own (human) means of dealing with sin. But when even a few
churches cooperate and respect the judgments of each other, it actually works!
It is a beautiful thing to see beginnings of a true biblical community loving
interdependently instead of autonomous, independent, and individualistic sects.
May the body of Christ trust their Author of Life with His tough ethics as well
as His graces. And may true, proactive, obedient love permeate it all to
restore erring sheep to the Great Shepherd!
-- Dr Juster replies:
I agree so very much. I think this is why the local congregation needs
to tie to an overseeing authority to help though such things. We do know
of success stories in restoration with real repentance. How sadly rare.
18:24 09Apr10 Laura Boyd Reed -
I totally agree with your perspective, I always have. I have been so grieved
more leaders have not stood boldly on this GOSPEL FREEDOM TRUTH.
16:18 10Apr10 Charles Reece -
What Messianic Jews' divinely-ordained responsibility is for them to establish
a Halachic court for the Body of Messiah; just as one was long ago established
during the early ecclesiastical days of the First-Century Church. Of course,
this automatically entails that the Lord have ready Jewish "apostles" to serve
as chief overseers or officers for the messianic congregations throughout the
world. For example, in the Book of Acts, chapter fifteen, we can read on how
the Jewish apostles, James and Peter, were appointed by the Holy Spirit, to
settle the question as to whether or not Gentiles who were coming into the
"faith" of Yeshua had to be circumcised. This apostolic court, was headed in
Jerusalem, by the apostle, "James the Just", as Nasi [heb. "Prince", i.e. the
Chief Justice of the New Covenant Sanhedrin] and headed secondarily, by Peter,
as the "Av Beit Din" [heb. "Father of the House of Judgment", i.e.
vice-president of the Messianic court]". This is the true and
Biblically-correct way whereby the saints of God are to determine contemporary
ecclesiastical laws by which to regulate the social order of the Body of
Messiah. But until Messianic Jews and Gentile Christians together fast and
pray that the Lord would "call-and-send-out" apostles for today's times; then
perhaps the Messianic Jewish and Gentile Christian congregations will forever
be "cursed" and confounded with sin, disorder, and lack of discipline
thoroughout the entire worldwide Body of believers.
-- Dr Juster replies:
Yes, I would like to see such a loose association to deal with such
things; first the city, then the region, then the nation and then
10:15 12Apr10 Denise Nielsen -
I agree that we can't expect God to bless a church that winks at sin and that
we must have an accurate understanding of what the Gospel requires. We must go
beyond the spirit of this age that we live in and into real Love and real
18:11 12Apr10 anonymous -
This is a topic that was laid very heavily on my heart a few months ago after
reading the passage from Malachi and Jesus' words in the Sermon on the Mount.
It can't be any clearer - I am grieved deeply over the destruction divorce has
caused to kids and families, and I have never seen Jesus' words and Paul's
words about remarriage after divorce preached in a church or sermon. After
reading this article, I was even more grieved, as I realized the system that
needs to be put in place to unite our churches to stand on the Word and turn
this ship around. I guess it is being brought up by the Holy Spirit right now
for a reason, and it is time to join with the Lord and birth it through our
21:45 14Apr10 John Thompson -
I've recently been listening to a man speak about house churches and house
church networks. I like the idea very much, but one thing he does not have in
place (maybe doesn't even have on the road map) is eldership/bishops/deacons. I
wonder very much how all of these are supposed to look, since I agree that
small congregations are to be desired in so many ways. (So many things fall
into place when you look through the lens of a house church.) Do you have ideas
as to how those types of leadership would work? Especially when thinking
through the lens of a house church network?
-- Dr Juster replies:
We know that the organization of the churches of the 1st century was
mostly in houses, but they did not consider house congregations
autonomous. They were all linked in an eldership of the city and also
had apostles, prophets and elders leading their joint union. That is
really what we look for. Until God restores unity in the city, I think
we need to see house congregations connected to accountable associations
10:31 20Apr10 Warren Hauser -
Too often, in the past, such so-called elders end up trying to
micromanage/control the lives of those that "submit" to them and thus have been
another example of how a controlling spirit has been used by the father of lies
to prevent the real truth from being made manifest. Until the leaders are
willing to not only meet with other leaders in the city, but to encourage the
sheep to do the same in the neighborhoods where they live, proper leadership
will not, imho, be made manifest. The "shepherds" seem to be fearful of
loosing sheep "their sheep" to other "shepherds" in the city (and thus
revenue?). They are "afraid" sheep that have been hearing other shepherds
(even those with whom the same leaders may "fellowship" with) may get wrong
doctrine (infected by the sheep with not such a good "shepherd" "elder" etc. as
themself). The step described by Dan is a good one, but is not possible, imho,
until the shepherds both by example and word encourage the sheep to use
hospitality (a Spirit given gift to every believer) in their own God Ordained
neighborhoods with other sheep and even shepherds from "other flocks" by
inviting the other sheep in their neighborhood into their homes for meals.
Some leaders have tried to do this only if they can get all the sheep from
their flock to move to the same neighborhood thus still avoiding the sheep from
one flock from mixing with sheep of another flock.
What is described in Dan's article will not, imho, be possible until what I
have briefly described begins to take place in each neighborhood throughout a
city - to which end I am writing a book that will hopefully be published next
year. Most small groups are setup on the bases of what shepherd/elder the sheep
are listening to rather than on the basis of the neighborhoods (walking
distance or in country places those farms round about) where the sheep live.
The idea is to keep "our sheep" on track (out of fear?)and away from their
neighbors who are listening to another shepherd in the city where they live.
For some flock based small groups they may invite those not "members of our
fold" in hopes of getting them into our fold.
-- Dr Juster replies:
In other words brother, this will not work until the shepherds come to
be committed to the vision of what things look like on the pages of the
N. T. !
11:39 03May10 Alan Whitmoyer -
The battle cry of the American Revolution was "No king, but King Jesus".
Unfortunately, we as Americans have forgotten our roots. If we were to truly
make Christ our King, then we would do whatever it takes to heed his word. In
many cases, we have not only rebelled against evil, but we have in many ways
rebelled against God.
I am a gentile brother who looks at the church and sees how the structure of
many congregations is just plain wrong. In fact, it is just plain not found in
the Bible. Where in the Bible did God grant a committee or council to have
authority over a pastor? Where in the Bible do you see a democratic vote taken
as to place anyone in the office of Pastor? When church government is out of
balance with the teachings of the Bible, then how then can the church govern
Biblically? The authority of the set man is taken away and God's blessing
cannot be on it.
When God's word is heeded and Church governments are set up as God has
intended, then the power of God will be manifested properly and His people will
rise up with the power of God in their midst as it has never been seen before.